My husband is a good egg. We seem to be able to balance each other out pretty well. When one is down, the other picks the other one up. Unless we’re both flat. Then we drink and moan. Then hydrolite is ingested and we’re all good again.
I tend to have a habit of stressing. Just a little bit. Anyone who knows me and reads that will probably wet themselves laughing. Ok, so let’s rephrase- I am a freaking stress-head. One friend joked once that if I didn’t have something to stress over, I’d stress over not having anything to stress about. True dat. And when I stress, I catastrophise. That small snowball on the top of the hill? It gathers speed and becomes a freaking huge avalanche. And then we’re all dead and the mountain has no snow left. Grim stuff. You’d think after nearly a decade of teaching people how to stress less, I’d be a master? Erm not quite. And I’m not doing myself any favours for future clients. I promise I can help you! Just not myself!
And then my husband comes up with the goods. We were chatting one morning, while I had a million things running through my head; tossing up whether to switch gears and go for a new job in a different area. He was listening to everything I had to say; and he simply replied “I can already hear what your answer is. Don’t talk yourself into something that doesn’t feel right”. Damn Skippy. When’d you get so zen and shit?
He reminded me, while I went through all the pros and cons of my current sitcho, that shit isn’t really that shit. For either of us. “Remember in retail? They used to say for every 10 good customer moments you have, you tend to only remember that 1 negative asshole”. So freaking true. We do it with everything, don’t we? We could have a great run of compliments at work, and then the second someone criticises us, suddenly we’re thinking we’re shit and will get the sack and how the hell do we show our face again? Or our kids have been beautiful all week and then they have a day of being total assholes and we’re pulling our hair out thinking we’re the worst parent in the world. Why is that? Why do we only focus on the small negatives, and let them overrun the multitude of positives?
It’s how we operate. Think about the news- death, destruction, terrorism, earthquakes, murder, health crises….. and happy little kitten story quickly thrown in at the end. It’s what we’re on the lookout for. Little kids I see tend to do this a lot these days. They’re so focused on the one bad thing at playtime that they forget all the awesome things that have gone on throughout the day.
So I try and help them to refocus. I get them to come up with three ‘green’ things each day. Green- like a traffic light green- helpful, gets us moving forward, gets us where we want to be. And we want to be in happyland. That place sounds like fun. Unlike the red zone. Where we’re stuck, can’t move, not going forward, backward, anywhere. It’s a bit dull. I also get them to make a ‘green diary’ where they can actually write or draw all the good things that go on, or note all the compliments and nice stuff they have. So that when the red zone gets to them, they can go and have a look at all the physical evidence they’ve collated that shows that things aren’t that shit. It’s super cute to see them get stuck into it, and to see them start to re-frame, from the unhelpful ‘red’ stuff to the more helpful ‘green’ stuff. Sometimes I think a lot of these kidlets could teach adults a thing or two.
And I think I might need to do that for myself too. Maybe all grown ups should carry their own green book? And remind themselves that yes, things can get shit, but it’s not all shit, all the time. And while it’s ok to have a pity party for a little bit, to get upset about that negative that happened, if we hold onto it, nothing is going to get better, and we’re not going to move past it all.
How do you deal with the negatives thrown at you? Do you have your own green book? Or a healthy stash of hydrolite like yours truly?