What did you see?
Isn’t it interesting how two people can share a life event together and come away with two different experiences?
In the last few months, Emmanuelle and I have been touring our local charter and public schools in preparation for Isabelle’s entry in Kindergarten. As we were touring one of the public school playgrounds, we saw about a half dozen trailers in back of the school. As we passed, Emmanuelle and I looked at them and thought, “It must be horrible to have a trailer for your 4th and 5th grade classroom? It would be cramped, isolated from the school and hot in the summer months.”
As if she had been listening and reading the parents minds, the school guide informed us that the upper level classes loved the trailers. They saw them as a rite of passage growing up from the younger kids and took a lot of pride in them. As if on cue, kids poured out of the trailers to change classes. They were laughing, joking, and having fun. Their attitudes reflected exactly what the guide had just stated!
This week, Isabelle hit another milestone. She discovered that she could be dropped off at the front door of her kindergarten school, “like a big girl” so that Emmanuelle and I would not have to walk her in. As she stood proud in her newfound independence, it was all that I could do to keep a smile on my face and be happy for her. She is our last child and I love every last walk into school with her. I was already missing that big, goodbye hug at her classroom door.
One of the greatest gifts we have in life is to choose what meaning to attach to the events that shape our lives. How you choose to label an experience and the meaning you attach to it will directly impact the quality of your emotional health and life.
The way to work through any disempowering emotional state is to ultimately put an empowering meaning towards it. This is a very common pattern in movies. The hero/heroine’s mentor or right hand man dies and as they speak their last words they utter, “Be true to yourself, fight for what is right, and help those less fortunate than you.” or, “don’t let me die for nothing, catch that bad guy.” In that emotional moment, the hero has a choice to attach an empowering meaning to the event, it motivates the main character to overcome life’s problem, and achieve more greatness than they ever thought was possible.
How can you turn loss into gain, pain into pleasure? Put an empowering meaning to it! I love to see Isabelle’s independence as she grows up because in 10 years when the boys start calling, that independence will be a very important trait for me to rely on. The confidence and pride that students feel by “moving up” and earning the right to have a “higher” social status will serve them well as they make the transitions to Middle School, High School and College. That is how confidence and self worth are born, bred and raised. I hope you continue to see things differently this week and find more empowering meanings for your life experiences.
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