POMPEII

Okay, so as follow up to yesterday’s post; here is Part B of the whole happiness reconstruction project I’ve got going down.

DIY Happy Pills: How to Reframe Your Way Into Being An Optimist

Using the list referenced in “Carry On,” to work through this let’s use the following (totally hypothetical . . ) scenarios:

Scenario A:
It’s raining. It has been all day. Actually, it has been all week.  Sacramento Winter has finally showed up, without an rsvp and three months late. The kids are beginning to resemble caged zoo animals, particularly those of the primate species.   I haven’t exercised all day either. Both of these are impacting the two (and ONLY two) essential family rules in my house- #1- Have fun. #2- Do what Mom says (lack of adherence to rule #2 results in the breaking of rule #1, which means, um, no one is happy). More on those rules later. For now, let’s focus on the massive quantities of energy contained in one small room while the skies empty around us.
Scenario B
I have 60 midterms to grade, 3 lectures to write, 2 writing assignments to submit, an appointment to schedule, a permission slip to dig out of the recycling bin, lunches to pack, dishes to do, a phone call to make and a registration to complete and pay (with the late fees) for. Oh, all this, by the way, would best benefit from being to be done in the next two(ish) hours. Also note that the trash has now passed the “I can MAKE it FIT” level, the ratio of clean tile to toothpaste smeared/soap scum covered tile is rapidly increasing (and not in favor of the former), the laundry has been sitting, clean and wet, in the washing machine since 8am and the one basket of clean and dry clothes just got dumped out on the (dirty) floor so the kids could make a fort. Welcome to my dream life.
Scenario C
I just met some new people. It is very clear that at least one of them does not like me. Like at all. I regularly see these people, however, and despite my efforts to continue being pleasant to said naysayer, the situation has not changed.
Scenario D
I am tasked with managing a big project for an organization. A big one. One that is critical to the success of the organization and any future positive change. I spend two months preparing for the first phase; hours of my life invested in researching approaches, planning events, writing reports, attending training, generating feedback and evaluating data. The day after phase one begins and people are suddenly faced with a decision to get on the boat or keep swimming up the river of De’Nile, every employee complains, my boss pulls my funding, completely takes away my authority and undermines every action I take from that point.

So, those four (super peachy keen) examples, all sound like a total shitstorm, no? Little bit. Maybe. Possibly. But also, not.

How did I (hypothetically, remember. . .) resolve this? What did I do to reframe the situation? Well, here, juxtaposed nicely in grid form (just the way I like it) are the two ways I could have responded; I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which one I chose.

**Warning, for full disclosure, propriety (and/or discretion) was not used for the purpose of illustrating the Pessimistic View. There is considerable use of profainty in this post. Proceed only with a sense of humor.**

Scenario

Pessimistic View

Optimistic View

A

Why does it have to be raining on a Saturday when the kids are home? Why couldn’t it have been on a Monday, when they are at school all day? I’m going to lose my damn mind. They are acting like such assholes, what they hell is their problem anyway? Calm the fuck down already and just sit there and WATCH TV AND DON’T MOVE. Or talk. Don’t talk either. Where is my drink?

I’m so glad we are finally getting rain; we really need it. There is no thunder or lightening so let’s put on our rain gear and go splash in some puddles while we go for a family rain walk.  Goal is to: splash as much as possible, soak clothes through, laugh a lot, follow up with hot chocolate and warm baths.

B

I CANNOT do this by myself anymore. This is total and complete bullshit. Single parenting is a cruel joke. Thanks Universe. Way to hit me when I’m down. Screw it. There is no way I can get this all done tonight. No fucking way. I’m going to be up until 1am and then tomorrow I’m going to be tired and cranky and it’s going to suck balls.

Okay. So, this is a lot all at once. In the future I could plan my time differently so this doesn’t happen again. So. . . what are my top priorities? What can I delegate? What is most critical and pressing? What can I combine? And oh wait, hey, the kids are old enough to do chores now, this will instill a sense of responsibility for them both, and save me some time. BOOM. win-win. Kids are on laundry and lunch duty, bathroom sink cleaning and possibly trash taking out. Possibly. Now before I start handling this list like a boss, I’m going to take five deep breaths and send some gratitude out to the universe for giving me a) such great kids, b) the amazing opportunity to be the main force shaping their lives, c) work that I love, and plenty of it, and d) the ability to live in a beautiful home, in a first world country, where I have “problems” like “needing” to take the trash out, instead of searching for my next meal. Perspective is everything. Today I am grateful.

C

He is such an asshole. Everyone likes me. Why doesn’t he like me? Seriously. What the hell is his problem? Maybe I should try harder. I can MAKE him like me. I’m totally going to ask all my friends what they think about it. And then complain. And then get all hung up on it. That is totally going to solve the problem, because, this is clearly a legitimate problem.

I am who I am. I don’t change so that others can like me. I have more than enough friends and I am totally cool with him not being one of them. Nothing others do is because of me; it’s not personal. Like me or not, I am still going to be kind and polite.  The best person I can be is the authentic version of myself. Always. I like me, and that matters most.

D

You have got to be fucking kidding me. I am locking myself in my office, closing the blinds, crawling under my desk and throwing myself a pity party. This will be followed by a full out rant that if YouTube’d, would be labeled as #NSFW. What the hell is the matter with these people? Don’t they GET it? Don’t they KNOW how hard I’ve worked? Why don’t they understand that I’M DOING WHAT’S BEST FOR THEM? I hate this fucking job. And what the hell kind of leader does that? Doesn’t pay one ounce of fucking attention to the task SHE GAVE ME while I’m developing it, then once I implement it rather than gathering facts or asking questions just hits the fucking breaks. Nice. Awesome. So supportive. Best boss ever. NOT. I fucking quit. Fuck this shit. I’m out. Idiots.

People don’t like change. Change is uncomfortable, especially in this environment. Maybe I went too fast; they clearly aren’t ready yet. I learned a great deal from this experience. For example, I will clarify the roles and responsibilities ahead of time next time, make sure I have the support behind me that will ensure my success, and generate more buy-in in advance. Also, most importantly, I will not invest my time and energy in projects beyond my workday. I will work when I’m here. I will not work when I’m not here. It’s just work. It’s not my life.  I really am grateful for the chance to have personally grown so much and learned a tremendous amount about the subject, the organization and myself as a professional. What an amazing opportunity this has been. I am honestly grateful for the experience.

I could go on, give some more examples, but I’d rather hear yours. Share how you’ve either re-framed, or ask the community for assistance to do so. And. . .  now I sound like an ad “Have a problem, just call 1-800-FIX-IT, call now, prices increase next week.” Yikes. Time to stop.

Peace out peeps, happy Hump Day.

photo (18)

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