“Great that’s a great place of privilege to say that you can just think differently about your circumstances. Thinking differently doesn’t make a bus come by when you’ve missed it.”
I received the above comment early this week, and I can choose to be like “Oh no! I feel so embarrassed! Did I just get called out for my privilege? And she’s right about the bus thing!” OR, I can choose to take this opportunity to clarify my own thinking and share what I've learned with my readers.
Let's put aside the idea that if you've missed the bus it probably means you didn't plan well. Either way, whatever mistakes you're made in the past become part of your current unchangeable circumstances, so let's just work from NOW.
The above comment is totally on point in that we can’t make the bus come or make other people do things - whatever other people do that may affect us is a circumstance outside of our control. Trying to control other people, the weather, the bus, etc. is manipulation and typically futile. We CAN change our own perspective about those circumstances, though.
As for the p-word, I'm grateful I was pushed to clarify my thinking on it. Privilege is relative, and I will not apologize for mine. What’s incredibly empowering is that anyone, no matter how under-privileged, has irrevocable privilege of changing their thoughts.
This is not manifestation or “The Secret” or saying “I am not running late” when you clearly are. I am not about ignoring reality. What I do know is that one side of a cylinder looks like a circle, but a different angle shows you a rectangle. Reality includes options for choosing your perspective.
The shift comes when you believe your circumstances are happening for you. That missing the bus is somehow for the better - a “better” that perhaps may not be visible quite yet.
That doesn’t mean you ignore disappointment, sadness, anger, or grief. I think it’s very important to feel your feelings, and feel them fully.
As I write this early in the week, I have a neck injury that has restricted my mobility, so I can’t drive, sleep comfortably, or pick up my baby. I have bronchitis so I can’t breathe easily or taste anything and my throat hurts. And I have a fever and mastitis for the second time that I’m really hoping doesn’t get to be as bad as the last time.
Am I feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, weak, and defeated? Yes, I am. Am I changing what I can in my circumstances? You bet. And I also made a list - a list of what is happening FOR me in the unchangeable circumstances - to change my thoughts.
So how is my current circumstance happening FOR me?
And when I look at all of that, I mean really, what did I have on my to do list this week that is more important than those things? This current circumstance is not fun; I don’t want it. But if someone gave me that list and said “do you want these things?” I would say YES PLEASE!
The hardest part for me is letting others down, especially when my husband cancels business meetings to take care of the kids. But that goes back to not being able to control other people: other people's thoughts about their circumstances belong to them.
When things feel hard this week, try making a list of how your circumstances are happening FOR you. Feel free to share it with me if you’re so inclined.