“Sure it was a PR, but it wasn’t Sub 4 so it was a total failure.”
“Sure, it’s a nice house, but I wish it was bigger like all my friends’.”
“Sure I lost 5 pounds, but my jeans are still too tight.”
“Sure I managed to pay off that credit card, but I still have two more.”
“Sure my hair is healthy but look at those greys poking through!”
And on and on… and on… and on… exhale…
WHY DO WE DO THIS?!
When ninety-nine things go right and ONE thing goes wrong, do you celebrate the ninety-nine? Or beat yourself up for the one where you fell short?
Me? I beat myself up for that one thing I did wrong… which is what I’m doing right now…
See, my 15 year old son is a minimalist at heart, and as such, he never wants anything for Christmas. This makes him tricky to give to. But one thing he loves as much as I do is travel. So this year I had an idea. While Machu Picchu is his dream trip, I decided New York City was a tiny bit more realistic.
So last Friday, off we went! Just the two of us, heading out on the five hour drive to the Big Apple.
And we had a blast!
On Saturday alone we covered almost 10 miles on foot. We explored Central Park, stood in awe in Times Square, walked to the Empire State Building, looked WAY WAY Up and said “Nope, I think we’re fine with our feet right here on the ground.” I let him choose every meal - pasta and sushi for our dinners, donuts and popcorn for our lunches. We had a tiny room right in the center of the action, complete with a view of topless mannequins in the windows of the apartment across the street (Still haven’t figured that one out… So weird)
We also had a couple moments where we butted heads. He’s 15, stubborn and hormonal. I’m 46, stubborn and also hormonal. It’s a deadly combination sometimes, but it’s to be expected.
My point is this - Of the 60 hours we spent together, 16 or so we were asleep, and of the remaining 44 hours, 43.5 of them were an absolute blast!
So why is it that the 30 bad minutes are the part I keep remembering… and beating myself up for?
Why do we do this?! And more importantly, how can we stop?
So, after beating myself up for beating myself up (is this a female thing or what?), I sat down and made a list.
Lists are pure gold. Lists are life changing. Lists freaking rock.
I use those half-used cheap spiral-bound notebooks leftover at the end my kids’ school years because I find if I try to journal in fancy expensive ones, I get writing constipation. I obsess about making everything neat and tidy – handwriting AND content. But with those cheapy notebooks I can really let my thoughts flow without trying to correct them or make them perfect (another female thing?).
So I listed everything that went great this weekend. The list was REALLY REALLY LONG!
Then I listed everything that went not so great. There were two things. TWO.
Ooookayyy… Why was I letting those TWO little things overpower the LONG LONG LONG list of great things?
Yes, I was disappointed about those two things, just like I was disappointed when I came up short of my goal at the Chicago Marathon last year. But what I realized in both cases, and many others upon reflection, is that those shortcomings, if I can even call them that, weren’t shortcomings at all.
They were opportunities for growth.
The fact that we feel bad when we fall short is HUGE! The fact that we are aware of our shortcomings is GINORMOUS! Because we are AWARE of where our best opportunities for growth are RIGHT NOW!
So from my weekend hiccups, I learned two things –
In the future, I need to go into one-on-one experiences with a hormonal teenage boy with tools for how to deal with the times he challenges me (aka the moments he talks to me like I have half a brain. Who needs Google when we have teenagers, right?).
In addition, I’m now aware of a situation where I tend to become reactive – when someone challenges my opinion.
Here’s something I know and believe with every ounce of my being – there are no wrong opinions. Everybody has developed their own opinions, based on their life experiences, and mine is no better than yours is no better than the neighbors… So why was my instinct to be so defensive with him?
I’m insanely grateful for the opportunity to see this in myself, because now I know it’s something I need to work on.
Not because there’s something wrong with me, but because I WANT to grow.
I want to be the very best version of myself so I can spread love and light. That is where our power is. That is how we will change the world.
Anyhoo, back to those greys poking through my hair…
It’s not the grays or the too-tight jeans that matter… it’s our ability to see the times we come up short as opportunities for growth.
The truth is, nothing we do will ever be perfect… it CAN’T be. And honestly, would we really want it to be? If it was… what then? Growth would stop. We’d be done. And what’s the fun in that?
So I say we celebrate our “shortcomings,” and thank them for allowing us to see where we can grow. And then get back to that list of all the things we do right.
Because it’s a long freaking list.