One day when Sophia was in preschool, I her up from school. As I walked toward the playground gate I could see her sitting on the bench swinging her legs. The second she looked up and saw me, her shoulders slumped forward and she reluctantly pushed off the bench, defeated.
Hmmm, I thought. Someone’s not happy.
“Hey sweet girl! How was your day? Is everything okay?” I asked.
“M-O-M-m-m-m-m, “ she whined. “Today was the worst. day. EVER!”
Minutes later, buckled in the car and ready to burst into tears, Sophia told me the source of all her trouble.
“So at lunch today – I only got to eat ½ my Goldfish package before Faith took them and ate all of the rest! Hmmmph!” she said angrily.
“And what else happened?” I asked.
“What do you mean? Nothing. She ate them and now I don’t get to eat the rest of my crackers because they’re gone. “ She pouted indignantly before following up with, “It’s not fair! And you’re going to give me more when we get home!”
The situation wasn’t fair and was about to get worse because there were no Goldfish crackers at home. In fact, Sophia never even had any Goldfish crackers in her lunch.
Truth was, Sophia was the one who took ½ of FAITH’s Goldfish and was now playing the victim about it. Her entire day and mood ruined by the story she was spinning in her head.
And it wasn’t even TRUE.
We all do it… We assign meaning to details that may or may not be true and then we convince ourselves of that truth. Letting our thoughts and emotions get carried along for the ride. That ride could be the most amazing ride of your life or like you’re trapped on top of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas (my personal version of hell).
Helpful or hurtful. You decide what the facts mean and how they make you feel.
In Sophia’s situation she could have just as easily seen a different interpretation of the facts.
She got to eat ½ package of Goldfish, (a snack she doesn’t often get to enjoy) + Her friend Faith wasn’t upset with her for taking them = Happy and plays all afternoon with her friends ==> Best. Day. Ever!
And that’s just it. You decide.
What kind of story do you want to create for yourself and your life? Is your story defined by constant struggle and feeling stuck? Or do you see the possibility in every situation?
What role are you playing? The victim? The hero? The martyr? The champion?
The next time you find yourself caught up in a story that isn’t serving you, consider the “facts”. Determine what an entirely opposite version of that story might sound like and try to create evidence and feelings that support THAT viewpoint. You may find that either one is just as likely.
Have you ever thought someone is avoiding you –and begun to spin a story about how they don’t like you only to find out they were traveling or didn’t get your message or were dealing with a family crisis?
What about a situation at work when you didn’t get the positive feedback you desired? Is it truly that you didn’t do a good job or perhaps your boss thinks she is always complimenting you on your work and you know you are valued?
Is your spouse not helping around the house and always leaving things for you to take care of or are they doing the best they can with the demands on their time and energy?
Story. We get to decide. You get to decide. What’s your story going to sound like? And is it one that you are happy to live and tell?