A few weeks ago, I was complaining that I had a little black cloud following me around. An unexpected flat tire, a cut finger that took me to the emergency room, and on and on….
But actually, that little black cloud was not over me. Rather, it resides inside me. It’s so true, and it speaks to one of the most powerful and important Adlerian principles, one of human beings’ most terrific qualities, and one that we under-utilize: our ability to be “creative.”
By creative, I don’t mean you need to be a talented painter or dance like Martha Graham. What I mean is that while we may not be able to change our situation, we can always choose our attitude about our situation. We decide!
When a car cuts me off, I can get angry or think: “Boy, he must be rushing somewhere important. Maybe he is rushing to the hospital because his wife went into labour!” Or “It’s a good thing he cut me off, I am good defensive driver – someone else might have been in a collision!”
It goes to follow then that our stressful life events are really perceptions, and therefore self-created. We choose to respond with a stress reaction to things. We could choose not to! Imagine – stress free living! It’s all in your head! If you want a much more persuasive argument, try reading Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning. His book explores this topic and was written while he was interned in a Nazi prison camp. If human creativity is possible under those conditions, then it can certainly be accomplished during the holidays, for Pete’s sake!
So I have decided to dry up my black cloud and fully enjoy my winter holiday. I refuse – absolutely refuse – to be anything but happy and joyful. How about you?
Repeat after me:
- I refuse to let a full parking lot cost me my happiness – I will wait patiently and listen to music.
- I refuse to panic over not finding the perfect present – I trust anyone receiving a gift from me will receive whatever they get in gratitude. And if they don’t – shame on them!
- I refuse to freak out over the state of my house – I will appreciate that I actually have a roof over my head and that I am blessed with friends who will visit me!
Happy holidays, everyone!
About the Author:
Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine. Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”. She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com.