Things go wrong. Traffic sucks. Raisins show up where they don’t belong!
Can we agree then that “sh*t happens”?
Knowing that is one thing, how we handle it is what will either attract more or less of it into our lives!
So this one time (not at band camp), I was at a great little restaurant eating lunch. Actually, I was plucking WAY too many raisins out of my otherwise perfectly good salad (I’ll share my raisin story at the end), when I found myself eavesdropping. Haha, yes, I admit to not minding my own business. But in my defence, the tables were very close together so it was hard not to.
At the table beside me sits this lovely girl who ordered two big fancy coffees and then proceeds to adjust her hair, makeup, and whatnot. Someone special coming to join her maybe?
In walks this handsome guy and sits down with her. I hear them start their conversation with something like, “it’s so great to finally meet you!”. Oooou, first date? How exciting.
Not a word of a lie, within two minutes he starts getting loud and a little animated, launching into a complaint about how horrible his traffic experience was… to the point of a bit of cussing …he’s going on and on about how it made him late, someone cut him off, it’s ruining his day, and so on. It was kind of intense (see how it was hard for me NOT to eavesdrop?)
The girl was really great, she interjects with, “well, we’re here now, let’s just enjoy ourselves…” And it worked at diffusing his frustration.
So I go back to my salad and forget about them for a while. Soon, there’s more commotion. He’s raising his voice again, complaining about his shirt. The gist of it was this… he got this great new shirt that he loved and it fit perfectly (at which point I’m trying to look by not moving my head but only straining my eyes sideways so I don’t seem obvious! It was actually a nice shirt I must say.) but then when he got home he realized there’s a little tag that says it’s dry clean only. Well! That was NOT cool by his standards. He’s ranting about having to pay to clean it, the disappointment, and so on and so on. Ugh.
This poor girl is now withdrawn, kind of quiet. I’m feeling bad for her.
Okay, so fast forward, I’m paying my bill and as I get up I notice them leaning in across the table for an embrace. Yay! I’m thinking this is good, it must have turned out well (I love happy stories!)
Wait for it…
Wouldn’t you know it, they somehow BUMP both (fairly-newly-ordered-second-round) coffees over TOWARD HIM!
Yep, you guessed it! On his dry clean only, brand new shirt! As I walked out I could still hear him ranting.
My point is this: the anger and frustration that he wrapped around his traffic experience and that he wrapped around that little tag that said “dry clean only”, he brought that with him. He didn’t leave it behind, he carried it with him to the point of re-living it as if it was still happening. It was almost as if it was a physical thing he put on the table between them to seep into their date, the mood of the date, and become the main focus of the date.
How different would that date have been if he had let that go, if he had put more energy and focus on being present or on what was happening right then and there? OR he could have brought it up and laughed it off.
When challenges come up in life we have 2 CHOICES.
We can Accept things or we can Change them.
If we don’t do either of those, we do what he did. We carry it around and we RE-LIVE it. It triggers the same intensity of emotions and memories. Sadly, that’s when it seeps into, and affects, other areas and people in our lives.
Choice 1: We can accept something and move on… which doesn’t mean we have to say whatever happened was okay, but we’re simply accepting that it happened and we’re just not going to shove it in our pocket and let it live on with us. That’s like choosing to have the experience again and again. If we hated it that much why keep it alive??!!
Choice 2: We can change it. If there’s a way to change something like the actual situation (return the shirt), or change something around it to avoid it next time (new route in traffic), or we change our belief around it (it’s NOT ruining my day, my life, I won’t allow it to give me fear/anxiety/stress, I know it happened but I choose to minimize the lasting effect on me and let it give me strength to have the best day/life possible).
If we do neither, well, we know what can happen with that.
We get frustrated, it’s a fact, it’s OKAY! So maybe we allow it to affect us for a bit (minutes, hours) where we get some good cussing out, or we have a wee pity party (this is very cathartic sometimes!)… or maybe it will affect us for a while (a day, a week, or more) and make us notice everything else that could possibly be wrong in the day and emphasize that negative stuff above the good where we miss out on opportunities we would have loved to embrace or enjoy… or in the worst cases, we drag this stuff around with us FOR LIFE, re-telling, re-living, re-feeling the pain and hurts we experienced YEARS before and we can’t even fathom the amount of beautiful, wonderful, fun, exciting, positive people and experiences we didn’t notice who were right there in front of us for our pleasure, but we couldn’t see past what we hadn’t let go of.
We all know that sh*t happens, traffic can suck, raisins may show up where they don’t belong, but YOU get to choose how long that stuff is going to put a cramp in your incredible, wonderful, joyous life. ANY DAY, and ANY MOMENT IN ANY DAY we can re-focus on something better. I can help you if it feels hard to do. But I promise you, with practice comes momentum, and with momentum it gets easier and easier to give fewer sh*ts, so to speak. And with that comes clarity and ease.
Oh wait, I was going to tell you my raisin story!
Let me start by saying that for me, one raisin is too many raisins. If you love raisins, don’t read this paragraph because you’re not going to want to hear this… when I was a kid, someone told me that raisins were little dead flies with the wings plucked off!
I’m very visual. You can imagine why I do NOT like raisins (especially the fat squishy ones!)
Okay, back to my point of the story here.
Be the Queen or King of your life, the Mater of your emotions, the protector of YOUR HAPPINESS. Accept or Change. Some stuff is not worth trading for a single moment of your precious life.
I believe in you,
Now go Fearlessly Live an Extraordinary Life!