Posts Tagged ‘victim mode’

9:27 am - Posted by Gregg

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I remember when I was a little kid and saw one of the first curse words I’d ever learned written out (and even appearing in public no less!) in the form of a bumper sticker that read, “Sh*t happens.” While the saying got a chuckle out of me at the time (much to the chagrin of my parents), little did I realize that said bumper sticker was offering up an insightful life philosophy worth pondering.

Like it or not, it turns out that sh*t does happen. And yeah, this is me (an eternal optimist as many of you faithful readers know) blogging this. But when you think about it, acknowledging that sh*t does happen doesn’t make someone a pessimist. It just makes them wise to acknowledge that it does sometimes happen. Whether or not life’s “sh*t” (however you define it) disrupts our everyday, it’s how we handle it that really matters (and, therefore, actually determines whether one is an optimist or not).

Recently, the sh*t has hit the fan for a couple close friends of mine. And given that I’ve dealt with my own forms of sh*t over the years, my friends often turn to me for advice. These days, I’m all about being proactive. So recently when a friend told me he was worried about losing his job, I told him to plan for it. Same was true when a girlfriend recently confessed that she was scared about getting a divorce since she still loved her husband and they had several young children. Again, I suggested she plan for it.

Now, I wasn’t telling these friends that losing a job or a spouse was inevitable. I was letting them know that having a “Plan B” would actually help them sleep better at night – not to mention give them the knowledge to know that no matter what transpired, they had a plan and, thus, they would both be okay. In fact, I firmly believe that sometimes just having a plan in place keeps the bad (or sh*tty!) things from happening all together. But there will be days that bad things do happen. So we might as well be prepared for them.

In the past, when I feared something would go wrong or that I’d be hit with devastating circumstances, I would worry, moan and shift into victim-mode. This was basically a way of letting evryone around me (along with the universe) know that I was useless and couldn’t handle any life altering event thrown my way. What a wimp I was.

The fact of the matter is, challening things are going to happen from time to time. But again, it’s not these life events that define us, it’s how we handle them.

One day I simply learned that knowing how I would handle any situation I was worried about happening took away all of the situation’s power (whether it eventually happened or not). Don’t get me wrong. I want my friend to keep his job. And I want my girlfriend to stay married to her husband (for their sake and the sake of their three kids). But if either of these situations do not work out, it will be for the best. The choice is theirs how quickly ‘the best’ arrives into their lives. It might be days after the supposedly devestating event. Or it might be weeks. Or, as it was with me in regard to some of life’s past blows, it might be years. Again, the choice is theirs… And mine… And yours.

Is there something you’re facing that’s infecting your life with fear and worry? Whether smallish or potentially life–altering, I suggest you sit down and begin to write out your Plan B. You might not arrive at all the answers and strategies you’ll need to rise like a phoenix from the ashes right away. But starting your Plan B is just that – a start. And a very fine way for you to prove to your boss, to your spouse or whomever (even the universe – or, better yet, yourself) that you’ve got what it takes to not only survive, but to thrive.

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June 18, 2012

Kiss My Car Dent

9:10 am - Posted by Gregg

A few weeks ago, life was a bit of a whirlwind. I had just flown back from my quick trip to New York to appear with my friend Joy Bauer on The Today Show and had landed back in LA with a million things going on (including taping an appearance on the Extra TV show). I was definitely on Cloud 9. And although super crazed, schedule-wise, I was determined to live life to the fullest. So on one sunny Friday afternoon, I decided to put everything on hold for an hour and take my little Latte (my 6 1/4-pound Morkie puppy) to the nearby off-leash small dog park.

When approaching the park, I was excited to see two cars parked there (belonging to two good friends – both of whom have dogs that Latte loves to play with). Life couldn’t have been better at that moment. Thus, imagine my surprise when, as I backed into our parallel parking spot, I heard a “Slight crunch.” I immediately pulled forward, shifted into park and looked around. Had I actually just dinged my car and (possibly) the car behind me? ‘How could this be?’, I thought to myself. This time frame had been, after all, shaping up to be the perfect week. I had no room in my world for a car dent.

I jumped out of the car to survey the crunch-zone. I was relieved at first – seeing that the “Monster Truck” behind me showed no signs of damage at all. Upon checking the rear of my car I was initially relieved as well – until I spotted some slight damage (not on my car’s bumper, but on the car itself, near the opening to the trunk).

All at once my spirits sank, my shoulders drooped and I felt the pangs of an achy breaky heart. There it was, a small dent in an otherwise perfect automobile – not to mention week. Was this how the week was to end? Had the universe conspired against me in order to bring me back from the “Feel good high” I’d been riding during the past several days.

After grabbing Latte and entering the small dog park, I realized that I’d created a virtual storm cloud that was now traveling right over my head. Even though I’d had such a great week and even though I had so much good news to share with my friends who were waiting for me on the other side of the dog park, I felt myself turning into a complainer. Not only was the car “crushed,” but so were my spirits.

It’s at that moment that I realized all the good in even the car dent situation. First of all, there was no damage to the other vehicle involved. Secondly, the damage to my own car was fairly minor (it had taken me a moment to discover it, after all). Add to this: Both Latte and I were safe. To say nothing of the fact that everything else “good” going on my week wasn’t negated by what just happened. Although it all could have been had I decided to shift into ‘Victim Mode’ and let myself be horrifically upset by what had happened (all of which surely could have “attracted” even more negativity into my life).

Right then, right there, I decided I wasn’t going to let this minor incident turn into anything more than it was – an everyday facet of real life. That’s right – I reminded myself that “These things happen.” In fact, these things will always happen (at least from time to time). So it’s really not about trying to keep challenging things from coming into our lives. Instead, it’s about choosing how we are going to react to these things.

In the past, I would have mourned the car’s damage for days and told everyone how “Unfair” life was (even though I was the one who did the backing up into the other vehicle). Instead, I greeted my friends at the dog park, watched Latte play with his canine friends, and shared all the good news of my week – all without “sharing” the angst I’d just experienced in the parking area.

At the risk of bragging, I must admit I was very proud of myself for shortcircuiting the ‘Complainer’ in me and, instead, reaffirming how good life was (and is) and counting the blessings that arose even from the car dent incident itself.

Although I still plan on getting a repair estimate for the car, I haven’t had a chance to do so just yet. And I can honestly say that when I notice the dent, I’m not depressed, but elated. Why? Because it reminds me that I reacted in a positive way to something that could have really brought about an intensely negative downward spiral, mood-wise. I reacted with joy, gratitude, gusto and (perhaps most important) a sense of humor.

After all, it’s not the life situations that matter most. It’s how we react to said situations.

Have you ever had a challenging life situation rear its ugly head in the midst of an otherwise good day or week? If so, did you give into the grief and the agony and jump on board the pity train? Or did you shake it off and move forward with a positive spirit, determined not to let one of life’s everyday anoyances get in your way? Either way, I’d love to hear from you on this topic.

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