I have had a rough week. Don’t worry. This isn’t going to be a crybaby article about all the reasons you should feel bad for me. I know I’m not the first person, and sadly won’t be the last person, to have a rough week. And as bad weeks go, I know worse weeks have been had. The only reason I am discussing my bad week is due to the fact that all the unfortunate things that happened shared a common theme and I’m too spiritual to ignore the obvious lesson. Since passing on my life lessons is the theme of this website, I felt compelled to share this latest nugget of knowledge as well.
In a nutshell, my week consisted of a car crash (not the car in the picture above–I just thought that was a great pic to signify a bad day), an emergency vet clinic visit with my dog, and a minor burglary. Oh yeah, and this was the week I decided to take the Orange Rhino Challenge so I wasn’t allowed to yell in front of my kids. Looking at this list, you’re probably wondering what the common theme was since vehicles, animals, and robbery don’t seem to be related. In each of these unfortunate incidents, I had no control over whether or not they occurred, because I had no control over other people’s actions. The only thing I could control was my reaction.
We’ve all heard this advice. We KNOW we can’t control other people, yet we still hope we can. It’s inherent to the Wondermom Wannabe mentality—we strive to solve the world’s problems or at least all the problems in our immediate vicinity.
Well, because of the Orange Rhino, in the forefront of my thoughts all week was the realization that my kids are my most important audience and they are watching everything I do. When I started crying after we discovered our Kindle Fire had been stolen from our car, my son also started crying because he thought it was his fault for being the one who had left it there. It was seeing his suffering over this simple material item and the action of some lowlife who thought it was okay to steal that made me realize I was tired of giving other people control over my happiness. I certainly don’t want my children giving up their happiness for someone else, particularly for people who don’t deserve it! I explained to my son that his forgetfulness wasn’t what CAUSED the Kindle to be it stolen. The person who stole it made that decision. The thief already had our Kindle; did we also want to give him our tears? We mutually agreed that no, we did not.
I couldn’t help the fact that my dog got sick (on a weekend, after the vet was closed). I could be really upset about the emergency clinic bill and the stress of worrying about her OR I could celebrate the fact that I had enough in my checking account to pay for the visit and the antibiotics she needed to cure her ear infection. I could also celebrate the diagnosis since I brought her in fearing she had suffered a stroke.
Likewise, I can’t control other drivers. I can pout afterwards about the dent in my car or I can be glad I have a great insurance company that basically takes care of everything for me. I can be a jerk to the person who caused the accident, or I can be kind and understanding so that hopefully that person won’t feel awful (though I can’t control how he feels).
My oldest daughter’s kindergarten teacher use to say that each choice we make is a new choice. You can make good choices or you can make bad choices. We all make bad choices once in awhile, maybe lots of bad choices. But our next choice, and the one after that are new choices so why not make those good? So, until my moodiness gets the better of me, I choose happiness over anger, sadness and despair. It’s my choice to make, no matter what circumstances life hands me. I accept that I can’t control what other people do, but I hope that after reading this, you will also choose happiness (unless you are the wrongdoer who took our Kindle—in which case I hope you choose redemption by returning it to us).