This last summer my husband and I went to Disneyland to celebrate our anniversary. We took the family the previous year and that was fun but we had to do the family thing: Cart around the stroller and a lot of other stuff – because you never know who is going to need what when and stop at each and every bathroom – which isn’t so bad in Disneyland – they’re clean and cute – especially the bathroom by the Alice in Wonderland ride where all the stalls are playing cards! But this time we thought it’d be really fun to go by ourselves – stroller-less, contraint-less. It was SO. MUCH. FUN. -Both times were- but they each had their own differing ways that made it fun.
So one afternoon we really wanted to grab a Dole whip – (if you’ve never had one – put it on your bucket list to get one) because they’re just so good – especially in July! As we’re savoring our Dole whip we gather around the Tiki Room and wait for the next showing. When the doors opened the crowd of people started piling in and we merged in the line to go in as well. When I got to the door this really cool thing happened.
The greeter of the Tiki Room looked straight at us and his whole face lit up like we were celebrities or the most exciting people there. He bent down a smidgen like he was about to tell us a secret and he said in a slower, deliberate manner, “I am so glad you’re here”. Really slow, really meaningful, and genuine.
It completely took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting that. Now, EVERYONE at Disneyland is nice and smiling. I’m sure it’s in their job contract – that part of the “job” is to smile and help create a positive atmosphere for each guest. But this one worker went above that. It was more than the energetic, “So happy you’re here!” tagline that everyone uses. It was intentional and meaningful and surprisingly got me to tear up for just a second. I really was very happy to be there.
I believed that greeter that day for the 5-10 second interaction we had together. I believed he really was happy that we were there – these two total strangers in a crowd of hundreds. I believed that he genuinely LOVE his job and everyone that walked through those Tiki Room doors that day. He didn’t have to put on a fake smile and welcome everyone in. He genuinely felt happy and WAS happy that he got to do that and greet everyone.
Sometimes we meet people like him that are just really amazing people, that really love what they do, that can not only DO their job but wholeheartedly personify their responsibilities. We each have the capabilities to be like him. We each can find genuine joy in whatever it is we’re doing. We can be so excited in what we’re doing that we want to speak with love and intention to all those around us. The key to unlocking this amazing self lies in our thoughts. This is going off of that MAGICAL model by Brooke Castillo again – When we’re thinking joyful things our body is going to create joyful feelings. Likewise, when we think negative things our body is going to generate negative feelings.
Here’s an example: I was talking to a mother several weeks ago that was really struggling with her season in life. She loves her family and her kids immensely but she was so tired and weary of the mess that she constantly had to clean. She said that Motherhood is a thankless job and it’s irksome that this is what she has to do all day. Her kids should know how to clean by now. They should be helping. Her husband should be helping. It’s just not fair. There’s so much work.
Do you think it’s possible for this mother to love what she does (even the dishes) as much as that Tiki room greeter loved welcoming people? Can she say to the plate she’s scrubbing, “I am so glad you are here?” – before you think I’ve fallen off the deep end – stay with me. Our thoughts are powerful. Our thoughts create how we feel – our mood. Then our mood is going to reflect how we show up in the world.
Look at the thoughts this mother (and every mother – myself included sometimes!) is having: I’m tired. I’m weary. This isn’t fair. The kids should help. My husband should help.
What feelings are these thoughts generating?
Frustration, entitlement, tired, unhappy, etc.
What actions can those feelings generate?
Grumbling, complaining, being short with her family, not wanting to do things, escape to her room and hide from everything, etc.
This mother is creating this negative world for herself – it’s not her kids creating it, it’s not the mess. It’s her thoughts about the circumstances. Should kids clean up after themselves? I’m all for that. Will they? I don’t know what any human being will do at any given moment because we each have our agency. This doesn’t mean that we don’t give rules and consequences as parents – BUT ultimately each person gets to decide what they’re going to do. We only get to choose our own thoughts and actions. We get to choose how we want to feel
Byron Katie would say.
She says: “You can argue with the way things are. You’ll lose, but only 100% of the time”
If you think you’re upset because there is a mess and there shouldn’t be a mess then you in fact, are arguing with the way things are. You don’t have to be upset that there’s a mess. You can still teach and give consequences when needed but you don’t have to feel negatively IF you don’t want to. There isn’t a rule anywhere that says you have to feel _______ when your kids don’t clean up after themselves. You can still be at peace IF that’s what you want. The key is in your thoughts.
If peace is your goal then these are the thoughts I would try on:
Instead of: I’m tired. I’m weary. This isn’t fair. The kids should help. My husband should help.
I have all the energy I need. I’m alive and awake. This is exactly as it should be right now. My kids are learning. They’re kids are the mess they’re making is because they love their things and want to take them with them everywhere. I’m glad we have a home they can play in. My husband is doing the best he can right now. I can do this to help him.
You’re going to want to keep arguing that they NEED to help and clean but that is just a thought. You can still teach daily and make requests of others daily. But in the end you get to be you and live in your body and the feelings you’ve created for it. How do you want to feel?
Going back to my Tiki Room friend. He was older than the average twenty-somethings that worked there. I’m guessing early seventies? How different would it have been for him and for us if he had thoughts of: I’m too old to be doing this. I shouldn’t have to be here. I’d rather be working in Tomorrowland with Star Wars. There’s just so many people. etc.
If he had those thoughts he wouldn’t have been able to feel so much love and energy and he wouldn’t have been able to welcome us in such a warm manner. He probably would have been bored and ended up not liking his job and resenting the fact that he had to be there in the first place.
You see? It’s just a thought issue. You can learn to love anything. You can learn to love doing the dishes IF YOU WANT to. You can learn to love where you work, what you do, who you’re working with. It’s so empowering that YOU hold the key to your day. You get to decide how you’re going to feel and how you’re going to show up in the world.
Think about your day today. What are you doing? How do you feel about it? What thoughts are you having about it? Would you like it to be something different? Try on a new set of thoughts. It’s amazing what can happen.