This week, I got a chance to teach my daughter about how changing our thoughts can help us be better people.
She was angry that a boy she once had a crush on (& later rejected for asking her to lie and sneak around to date him) called her an inappropriate name at school. Instead of confronting the problem, she displaced her aggression by lashing out at her sisters & me. She later told me it wasn’t fair that she couldn’t date like her friends (& this situation could have been avoided had she been allowed. I told her if that’s how he treated her for saying no, he needs to learn more about how to treat people & she deserves better) or pierce her nose & she kept focusing on what she didn’t have & how I’m mean. At the same time, my mom told me she lost $20 on the street. I told her it was no big deal. My daughter asked me how could it not be a big deal, we lost money & money is always tight @ Christmas. I told her that we have a home, our bills are paid, we have a loving family, friends are coming over for our annual Xmas party & life is good. It’s only money & the person who found that $20 might need it far more than we do. I told her when life gets hard, we always focus on what we have, not what we don’t.
I felt the same when my ex husband ignored my text asking him when he wanted me to book his flight here to visit for March Break. I offered him an all expenses paid flight to visit, accommodations, food & spending money in exchange for him to spend a week with the girls as I was taking a long overdue vacation that week. I later found out from a friend who shares mutual friends that he wasn’t coming because he can’t afford it (even though I offered to pay for EVERYTHING) & he was bitter that I was going away and he’s struggling financially. Instead of seeing the opportunity to spend time with the kids he hasn’t seen in six months, he focused on the thing that he doesn’t have, the chance to go on vacation. Forget that our financial situations are different; I work, he doesn’t. I have a full time job that offers a great salary and commission structure and a second job freelancing that boosts my income. This allows me the opportunity to save up to go. This also allowed me to offer him a chance to spend time with the girls, but the focus on what he didn’t have cost him that opportunity.
My life is not perfect, but I have so much good going for me; wonderful kids, a loving partner, awesome friends that are all over Canada & the world, a talent I am proud of & a commitment to getting my fitness goals met. I have a job & a home. Many don’t have these things. So, when life gets super sucky, I choose to find positives. If I waste my time focusing on what I don’t have, I’ll never be happy. I want to own my own home, Seth Rollins to be my crossfit coach, and a unicorn. I want to work for Rolling Stone. I want to eat all the things & never get fat. But if I waste my life on what I can’t have, I’ll never enjoy what I do have.
Like I told my kid, you can’t let what you don’t have spoil all the good. I used to do that & I was miserable. Now, I won’t sweat small things & I’ll commit myself to finding my wins, whether it’s that I made it to the gym on a day I had no energy or I made $200 in commission, I would rather focus on good things. That’s why when my last night shift of the week was an epic clusterf***, I chose to tell my kids that one of the managers I’m friendly with told my beau that my night was awful & he got up out of bed to drive me home to make me smile. When you focus on celebrating what life has blessed you with instead of what sucks, life blesses you with more good. I couldn’t possibly ask for more, life is good to me…well, maybe that unicorn.
The lesson may not have sunken in yet, but if I keep walking my talk, maybe it will. I can show her how not to let harmful words influence her by not letting them influence me. I can show that we don’t need to worry about what we don’t have by doing it myself. And then hopefully, she’ll teach her own daughter to be grateful for every day, because the world needs more kindness & always will.