My school-loving third grader is not so happy that her three-year-old sister is already on summer vacation while she has an whopping EIGHT more days of school before she joins her. The envy is palpable. And all this from a child who counts down the days until school BEGINS in the fall, plays school on Saturdays, and desperately begs to have school friends over to play because “it’s so long until tomorrow when I get to see them again!” It’s baffling! After enduring the hundredth chorus since Thursday of “WHY does Brooke get to be done with school and I still have to go? It’s not FAIR…” I finally sat her down and had a little chat about spin.
I explained that I understood she was really looking forward to summer vacation and I thought that was great! However, by turning her joyful anticipation it into an ongoing litany of complaints about still being in school she was making herself and everyone around her miserable. I challenged her to focus instead on how excited she was about the impending summer and to make THAT the focus of her dialogue instead. I even role played for her in my best exuberant 7 year old voice…
“I am so excited about summer! It is going to be great! In less than two weeks I am going to fill my days with swimming and playdates and day camps. I’m going to have a lemonade stand and make 50 different kinds of popsicles. I want to go to the zoo and Kings Island and have my cousins sleep over. Maybe I can make a LIST of all the great things I’m going to do this summer and hang it up in my room!!”
Same situation. Eight more days of school till summer. But a MUCH more pleasant dialogue. Don’t you think?
So…..where can you do the same for yourself? Instead of “I hate hate hate that I weigh this much,” could you say “When I am lighter I am going to love how it feels to buy new clothes.”
Or instead of “I hate my job,” try “I love dreaming about jobs I might really love. I’m almost ready to start looking for a new one!”
Or rather than “I am a terrible cook and I never have a plan for dinner,” try “What would it be like if I knew how to cook or tried planning our meals a week in advance? I would feel so confident and relaxed!”
Same reality. Different spin. Try it…and see if you feel a little more optimistic about life when you do!