Thank you, thank you, thank you for the stories you shared with me this week. Your comments were SO encouraging. I especially love that we weren’t having a big pity party. Just the opposite, in fact – this became a spontaneous celebration of determination: Things sometimes suck, but we’re all working hard and tying the pieces of our rafts back together and keeping things afloat.
We kind of rock, you guys :)
In this spirit, let me share a couple of things that are helping me, especially going into this weekend.
Thing 1: When things are tough, in moments of despair and frustration…after Steve and I have dissected the complete and utter hopelessness of it all…one of us will stop, and say to the other, “But Hey! We’re doing it!”
It’s a perspective shift. It pulls us from the close-in view and out to the larger picture. And what do you see in the larger picture? You see our goal: We set out to adopt our kids & love them, and give them opportunities to have a better life than they were likely to have if they grew up in foster care. And you know what? We’re doing it.
Adoption? check. Love? check. Opportunities? check.
It may not be going the way we planned. We may have charted a course for the Southern Islands, like Crosby, Stills & Nash, and ended up in the middle of the Charles River trying not to capsize. Whatever. That thing we set out to do? We’re doing it.
Whatever your challenge, remind yourself of the bigger goal. Pan out as far back as you need to, until what comes into focus is the part that you control. In our case, we control getting the adoption done/giving the love/providing the opportunities. We don’t control teen responses or emotions. We don’t control receptivity, or the choices and decisions of other people. If we focus on those things, we feel like failures. So Steve and I have developed this little break, where we focus on the wins and adjust our attitudes.
I’m always surprised when it works.
Thing #2 is a tool from the online class I’m taking. Every night I ask myself, Did I notice three good moments today? And if I did, I write them down. It’s a way to re-train my mind to see the world through a lens of optimism. It’s ridiculous. By which I mean I feel ridiculous doing it.
But here’s the funny thing: I’m pretty competitive, and writing NO made me feel like a loser. So after a few nights I started to look for good moments throughout the day, like they were rare coins or collectors’ items. I want to WIN at optimism!
Like right now: my dog Bergie is asleep by my feet. She has one paw pinning me down so I don’t move without her knowing, and she’s a huge, snoring pile of love who will jump to my defense at a moment’s notice if UPS has the audacity to deliver a package. This is a good moment, and I’m collecting it.
I’ve collected the thankful smile on the face of an elderly man I after helped retrieve his credit card that blew under his car at the gas station, the overperforming tree I showed you Wednesday, and even the arrival of Steve’s new socks. He’s not a jazzy sock kind of guy, and something about those kelly green stripes zipping across the navy blue made me happy. It was a nice moment, and I grabbed it.
The tough moments grab us. But we have some reach, too, and we can be intentional about what we take hold of.
And remember: Whatever hard thing you’re doing this weekend? Hey! You’re doing it! That counts for more than you know.