I recently found myself in an embarrassing situation.
I was watching a movie, The Good Little Dinosaur, with one of the Goddesses when I felt my chest tighten and my eyes start to tear up.
It was a poignant part of the movie where the little dinosaur had to say goodbye to a special friend.
I was horrified to be having such a strong reaction to a kid’s movie, particularly since I had trained myself years before not to do this in order to avoid the inevitable jokes from my male dominated family.
In case you are not familiar with my situation, I was the lone female in my family for decades, with a Hubby and three sons. I now have the delight of four granddaughters (the Goddesses) and two lovely daughters-in-law to balance the scales – in my favour.
Anyway, while trying to control my tears I glanced over at the Goddess (aged four) to see she had covered her face with a hat and was quietly sobbing.
When I told her I thought it was sad too, her sobs gained volume.
At this point, Hubby, who was working at home, started to come into the room to see what the fuss was about.
I started yelling at him to stay away – we were fine – because I didn’t want him to see my tears. Perhaps I was remembering how much those tears amused my sons when inspired by the sad scene of a movie.
HUGS AND CHOCOLATE
The Goddess and I cuddled and shared a few more tears before the movie finished.
We talked about the sad part and acknowledged the importance of dear friends and the sadness of saying goodbye.
Then it was time to cheer up and enjoy the rest of our day.
How did we do this? First, more cuddles – they are so healing.
Next, chocolate (some of you may hate me for encouraging a comfort eating solution, but it was only one little piece each. And it worked).
Then we decided to create our own happy ending.
We made our own good little dinosaur, his friend, and some scenery.
(If you’d like instructions for this check out How to Make a Good Little Dinosaur).
Now we had full control and our dinosaur and his friend will never have to say goodbye to each other unless we want them to.
We followed some simple, but practical steps to creating our own happy ending.
CREATE YOUR OWN HAPPY ENDING
Steps you can use in everyday life.
We acknowledged the sadness. Read my post Why I Gave my Granddaughter the Gift of Sadness to see why this is so important.
We identified the reason we felt sad. This is also important. Sometimes the real reason is buried under layers we use to avoid facing issues we feel unprepared to deal with.
We gave ourselves a quick, temporary fix in the form of the chocolate treat, which helped clear our minds so we could focus on a solution.
Once we found the solution, we were excited to execute our plan. Our sadness was gone and we had a goal.
CREATE REAL LIFE HAPPY ENDINGS
We can use these same steps towards happiness for real-life dramas too.
The last time I felt truly heartbroken was when a good friend died a few years ago.
This man and his wife (one of my closest friends) had watched our children grow up.
We had gone on holidays together and caught up regularly.
It was a total shock when he died suddenly.
Of course, there were tears – ones that I couldn’t hide even if I wanted to.
There was that awful tightening of the chest (it really does feel like your heart is literally breaking) and a sick feeling in the stomach.
I didn’t feel the need to hide my emotions – there were many of us mourning together – but I recognised when it was time to let go of the sadness.
When you allow that kind of unhappiness to take hold it can become a habit.
My ‘chocolate treat’ this time came in the form of memories. Memories of all the wonderful times we shared – the laughter, the learning, the love.
Once I allowed that first little happy memory to fight its way through all the sad thoughts, I had my solution.
Every time I felt the sadness and emptiness of his loss, I filled that space with happy memories of times shared.
I used my creativity to transform sad thoughts into happy memories – celebrating the life I knew instead of mourning its loss.
We are the creative producers and directors of our lives.
The script may be pre-written in parts, but we have the final creative input.
HOW OTHERS CREATE THEIR OWN HAPPY ENDING
There are so many brilliant examples of this all around us.
Take Paul de Gelder, the Australian Navy specialist clearance diver who was attacked by a shark in Sydney Harbour in 2009.
The brutal attack resulted in the amputation of his right leg and right forearm.
When his body recovered from the attack enough for his mind to focus, Paul felt depressed and defeated.
It was an enormous task to work through those feelings enough to find a solution and act on it.
I had small goals that I constantly updated: do this exercise, walk that far, climb those steps, get up earlier, eat more, focus.
I focused on what I needed, what I wanted and how to do it.
Paul de Gelder
Paul refused conventional rehabilitation, went off his pain medication and pushed his body to its limits.
He left the Navy in 2012 and is now a top motivational speaker who inspires people all over the world.
I’ve seen in others, and learnt myself, that the human body can endure more and perform better than we might ever give it credit for.
But it’s not the body working alone. The body is just the nail being driven in. The mind is the hammer, the driving force that will push a person far beyond their own expectations and on to success.
from the book No Time for Fear by Paul de Gelder
Paul identified and acknowledged his sadness.
Then he searched for a solution and despite physical and mental agony, created his own happy ending.
Though I’m sure he’d tell you it is just the beginning.
Happy creating and have a gleeful week, Tamuria.