Draw A Wider Circle

“Fear makes strangers of people who would be friends.”

— Shirley MacLaine

This story is contributed by Lori Holden.

My name is Lori. Today, I’ll share what may be the greatest life lesson in the history of humankind — spoken through the words of my Dad.

Want to have a richer life? Dad told us the secret early on…

“Draw a wider circle.”

A bit anticlimactic, you say? Well, few words can speak great volumes. Let me explain.

I grew up with two sisters. Sometimes we came home whining, “The other kids won’t play with me!” or “They’re leaving me out!” or “Nobody likes me!”

Dad would always respond simply…

“Draw a wider circle.”
draw a wider circle

Lori and her dad (both right) and family

He said it repeatedly, ad nauseum. Dad was big on aphorisms, but that’s another story.

He suspected that more often than not, we were actually excluding ourselves by making assumptions about others. He constantly reminded us that the other kids were scared of making new friends too, so we could choose to be the ones to approach them and join in on activities. Dad was determined to raise three confident and assertive young women.

As a kid, I couldn’t comprehend the magnitude of impact this one phrase would have on the rest of my life. When I was the newbie at work gatherings, and surely everyone else already had friends, Dad’s voice would whisper…

“Draw a wider circle.”

And I would. Hand out, I’d introduce myself and smile. At cocktail parties, when I’d rather hug the wall than interrupt a formed group, Dad’s voice echoed…

“Draw a wider circle”

And I did. I made friends. I was included.

Ever seen the movie Field of Dreams — the voice quietly urging Kevin Costner, “If you build it, they will come”? This was my dad’s gift to us.

And true enough, my “field of dreams” was always within grasp, provided I listen to Dad’s voice…

“Draw a wider circle.”

I can’t remember it not working. I do remember it being hard each and every time — but always worth it. It applies to a much greater concept though, circling back to the “greatest life lesson” reference.

When you force yourself to draw a wider circle, as uncomfortable as it may be, you automatically enrich your own life with the only thing in life that really matters…other people.

Drawing a wider circle means:

  • Making an effort to reach out to those you may not get along with.
  • Risking rejection to meet the one person who may sweep you off your feet.
  • Overcoming the fear of joining new groups, trying things you never thought you would (or even could), and travelling to parts of the country and the world you never knew existed.
Draw a wider circle

Fred Holden, Lori’s dad

My dad grew up without a father. Maybe it forced him to “draw a wider circle” early on in life.

But for not having a dad growing up, he certainly didn’t let that stop him from being the most incredible father any three little girls could ask for.

XOXO Dad. Thanks for loving us so well.

draw a wider circle

photo credit Kim Shokouhi

Lori writes regularly at LavenderLuz.com and is on Twitter as @LavLuz. Her book, ‘The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole’, written with her daughter’s birth mom, is available through your favorite online bookseller. She lives in Denver with her husband Roger, and tweens Tessa and Reed. These days she draws wider circles through her yoga practice.

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