Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The Stories We Tell Ourselves
Every society has its stories. From fables of Aladdin to Johnny Appleseed, who doesn’t love a good tale? And of course, we all know that any story, particularly those that we tell children, will have a good and happy ending. (In stories, last week’s atrocity of bystanders leaving a man to die on the street, without even thinking to call 911, would never happen…).
Did you ever wonder how these tales affect the way we look at life? For example, when something “bad” happens to us, illness strikes, a loved one dies… our first reaction is generally disbelief, and the feeling that “it wasn’t meant to be like this…” Somehow, we expect our lives to play out like a “happy ending”, with all tribulations easily taken care of within the two-hour period that a movie lasts.
And what about the way we look at ourselves? In legends, the hero has the ability to solve all problems. In the end, everyone but thee villain will be happy and content. But in real life, we can’t always make it so: our special-needs child (and “regular” one too) are still susceptible to attacks on the street, aging parents will not always have the finances to help grown children who are struggling through a tough period, and real parents are sometimes too tired to be the so-wise-so-patient parent that abound in our stories. And when was the last time you saw an overweight heroine in a movie? In fables, heroes are perfect, and we often expect ourselves, as people, and as parents, to be so as well.
And finally, what about the stories we tell OURSELVES, within our mind? There, will we believe in our ability to change and achieve? Or are we (as many do) assuming failure, inability, and stagmentation?
So today, let us accept that life is not always a fairy tale, and acknowledge ourselves as imperfect creatures. NOT that this allows us to stop trying. If you have a special-needs child that needs to learn about “stranger danger”, so make a plan when and how to do that. And if you are on a diet, make an eating/exercise and stick to it. [And if you have trouble with sticking to the plan, you may need to revise it. See HERE and HERE.] Even if you succeed only 90%, well that’s pretty good. Can we, WITHOUT INSISTING ON PERFECTION, envision ourselves as dealing with our troubles and difficulties, in a positive, productive way? So make yourself a hero- a believable, normal everyday hero- TODAY.