Do you ever catch yourself slipping into “story mode” by rehashing a difficult time or a personal injustice? It could be about anything – health, finances, a former employer, an ex, or, in my case, parenting.
Here lately, when asked how things are going with my son, I hear myself saying, “We’re in a really good groove.” It’s a true statement. I could stop there or elaborate on his awesomeness. Instead, I continue with, “It’s a vast improvement from the first year of motherhood…” Talk about taking a conversational nose dive.
I said it again to a friend last night, but this time, my snarky side interjected. Geez, Jamie, you say it was difficult, that you’re glad it’s behind you. Yet each time you bring it up you’re putting yourself back in that space. Are you sure you disliked it so much? It sounds like you’re revelling in having gone through a difficult time.
Snarky’s voice replayed in my ears this morning. Are you sadmiring the past again? It reminded me of a facebook post I wrote a little over a year ago:
Stop sadmiring your past. No more vicitimizing what happened or contemplating what might have been. Where you are right now? Is your reality. No sadmiring it either. Enough of the “oh it must be nice” or “if only I had this or that”. How long have you been stuck in that pattern? And how much has it helped? None. It’s helped none. So stop it. Take inventory of your circumstances. Find the silver lining, the bright spot, the driving force, the moment of clarity or inspiration. Hold on to that. Focus on that. Admire that. And then? Move forward.
“Life is hard.” I learned that phrase at a young age and sometimes take the sentiment too literally, especially as an adult. My distorted interpretation is that a “normal” life is supposed to be hard. That if it isn’t hard, I’m doing something wrong. That if I can’t demonstrate difficulty, I lose credibility, because other folks are out there struggling. So then why not sadmire my past a little to justify being in a good spot currently? Right? Right?!
Hold up. That’s pretty twisted thinking.
No person’s life is roses all of the time. Challenges weave in and out of each of our lives. In other words, we all have struggles. Life is constant, but the struggles aren’t. I refuse to let difficulty dictate or define my life. I’d rather focus on what feels good.
The next time you find yourself in story mode, you too could be in a sadmiration mire. Be brave enough to ask yourself why you’re still talking about it. If it’s for attention, sympathy, or to prove yourself, be even braver by admitting it.
You can stick with the sadmiring story loop, or you can admire what’s working for you. It’s your life. It’s your story. As for me? Out of the murk and mire and on to something higher.