There have been many times in my life, when I have unintentionally and intentionally preempted precious moments that were never mine to be shared. An exciting secret, a private conversation overheard, breaking news or a surprise prematurely revealed. Unfortunately, I have done them all, more times than I care to estimate. Despite several failed attempts to justify my actions, I realize that I have been guilty of seizing many “Stolen Moments.”
Over the years, I’ve learned that not all things witnessed, heard or experienced are ours to share. Regrettably and repeatedly, it was only after looking into someone’s sobering eyes that I fully grasped the irreparable damage resulting from my selfish actions. Knowing that I had potentially deprived them of a once in a lifetime opportunity to distribute something that definitively belonged to them. It’s a depressing, humbling and empty feeling that I now strive to avoid at all costs.
No more stolen moments for me. In practice, this will remain a lifelong development opportunity and challenge, because the human impulse to share good or rare news can be intoxicating and frequently mistaken for power. So I have developed my own litmus tests to help temper my knee jerk reactions. Now, I instinctively force myself to “pause” when I feel that urge of misplaced excitement building momentum. Then quickly ask myself a few basic questions that “put the shoe on the other foot”.
By doing so, something liberating and evolutionary emerged. More often than not, I no longer assume the self-imposed role of town crier or unconsciously redirect the spotlight towards me. I am now able to fully experience, the experience as it was naturally intended to occur. And yes, sometimes that means I simply play no role other than a passive observer. The tradeoff is priceless because I’m no longer an active participant in any more “Stolen Moments”.