Monday, August 17, 2009

Sounds Like Science Fiction, But It's Not

Christian School's annual staff retreat was this weekend, and we had a number of great seminar offerings to attend. (Not as many as BlogHer did, by any means, which is good, because I might have gone into brain overload and just curled up in a ball and sucked my thumb.) One of them talked about how to take care of ourselves emotionally through the year, including how to avoid negative emotions where possible.

I know, you're all, "Those are avoidable? Why didn't anyone tell me this before? I see no reason I shouldn't have avoided negative emotions pretty much, well, FOREVER." But note that you can't really avoid ALL negative emotions - there are times when it's appropriate and necessary to feel sad or angry or like you're ready to throw bricks at someone's head. (Okay, maybe not that last one, actually. Brick-throwing should be a last resort.) But a lot of negative emotions can be avoided with a few Paradigm Shifts.

What's a Paradigm Shift? It's a change in expectations, generally dealing with what you believe "should" or "should not" be true about the world. And a lot of negative emotions come when Reality doesn't fit your Paradigm. Like when you're driving to work and you're waiting at a red light, hoping to make a right turn, and watching oncoming traffic to look for a break in the traffic and there's that one last car coming and as soon as he passes you can finally go but he's going soooo sloooowly and you're like, "Why are you taking so long?" and then he turns at the intersection before he gets to you but he NEVER HAD HIS BLINKER ON. And you're pissed, right? Because if he'd had his blinker on you would have already turned by now instead of waiting for him. You're pissed because you have this idea that People Should Use Their Blinkers When They're Going To Turn, and Reality just conflicted with that idea.

Don't you hate it when Reality does that?

So here are some of my Paradigms, how Reality conflicts with them, and how I may need to shift them:

Paradigm: HTG and I should be together.
Reality: HTG barely notices my existence, and what he notices, he doesn't care about.
Shift: HTG should live a long and happy life with his girlfriend fiancee, and I should become a crazy cat lady. Minimum of 12 cats.

Paradigm: I should be able maintain sanity around HTG, in spite of my woes.
Reality: Seeing him feels like someone punched me in the gut. And the face. And hit my kneecaps with a crowbar. And poked me in the eye with a white-hot metal spike. And then I cry a lot.
Shift: I will never be sane around anyone, in spite of HTG.

Paradigm: I should be able to think about something besides HTG.
Reality: Even when I'm thinking about something besides HTG, I'm still thinking about HTG.
Shift: I am going to stop thinking. Ever.

Paradigm: People shouldn't cut in line. (Except HTG. He can cut.)
Reality: People cut in line, even when you're in line for a completely mediocre free buffet lunch that has no chance of running out of completely mediocre food.
Shift: People are jerks and I should get used to it. (Except HTG. He's not a jerk. He's wonderful.)

Paradigm: I should be perfect. (Like HTG.)
Reality: I am really, really far from perfect. I'm like... the anti-perfect. (The anti-HTG. This might be why we're not together.)
Shift: I am not with HTG because I'm not perfect. (Wait, that probably wasn't the lesson I was supposed to learn there...)

Paradigm: HTG and I should be together.
... Oh, wait, I did that one.

Damn, I guess some paradigms are harder to shift than others.


bernthis said...

I agree. It is truly the expection that has to change and it works.Wish I did it more however

unmitigated me said...

I think I'm seeing a theme to your paradigms...naah. It's just me.

Rowyn said...

"I should become a crazy cat lady. Minimum of 12 cats." Hey, that's my fall back plan!

fjd said...

Hey, LD. I know you're really stressed about school (understandably!) and one cannot deny how much the unavailability of a love interest sucks. I'm cheering for you! Look at all the positives. You're young, cute, smart, about to start another school year with great kids -- sans French: the possibilities are endless. Life! Adventure!

BetteJo said...

Reality - HTG isn't perfect either.

Lisa said...

This had me laughing out loud! Although, I do like the idea of adjusting reality. But can't we adjust the reality to what we WANT it to be? Rather than changing our expectations, let's change the reality!

Amanda said...

And, sometimes the wanting is way better than the getting. Until the one ;)