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.
Rachel LavernJanuary 5, 2017 at 8:36 am
Happy New Year Tami!
You used my one of my favorite quote in your opening. A lot of people look at the past, and use it to predict the future. No wonder people sometimes have trouble changing their lives. The right question is, “What do you want to create?”
tamuriaJanuary 6, 2017 at 2:25 pm
Happy New Year to you too Rachel. Yes, great question – “What do you want to create.” Some people don’t realise how powerful they are.
Christy SoukhamneutJanuary 5, 2017 at 2:07 pm
Yes, well all create our own happy endings. And you should have a little bit of chocolate each day…especially with your grandchildren and with me!
tamuriaJanuary 6, 2017 at 2:26 pm
Here’s to the healing power of chocolate, Christy. 🙂
Lori EnglishJanuary 5, 2017 at 2:42 pm
great article about that warm fuzzy feeling. it’s the feeling you get when oxytocin is released Being around my son or walking actually gets me motivated. great article !
tamuriaJanuary 6, 2017 at 2:26 pm
Hi Lori, glad you enjoyed this.
Susan Mary MaloneJanuary 6, 2017 at 3:24 am
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Love this, Tamuria! But I so love that you gave the goddesses the gift of sadness. Isn’t that amazingly cathartic. And once that occurs, creativity soars, as it did with y’all.
tamuriaJanuary 6, 2017 at 2:28 pm
It really was a treasured bonding moment, Susan, and then we moved on to have so much fun and yes, creativity soared.
Lori EnglishJanuary 6, 2017 at 4:24 am
Thanks for this article it was very touching to me and I really could understand your shock and pain. Loving someone or being in a friendship and someone dies is one of the hardest things to process and live with. I commend you for sharing this and appreciate your courage and strength.
tamuriaJanuary 6, 2017 at 2:29 pm
Losing a loved one is so painful, Lori. After the initial grief, the challenge is to not get stuck in the sadness.
Kristen Female WilsonJanuary 6, 2017 at 4:41 am
Girl.. I am a sap too.. My oldest and I can tear up at a commercial. My youngest (mini me).. no tears (unless she is being yelled at or in trouble lol) and I always get that “look” (like you mentioned) from the male family… I got it from her and my ex and now my honey.. I can’t help it.. I’m just a sap… and F it.. I’m okay with that. Pinned this.. love it!
tamuriaJanuary 6, 2017 at 2:44 pm
Here’s to us sappy gals, Kristen. I’ve been known to tear up at commercials too, much to the delight of the males in the family. You know what? I’m okay with that too. 🙂
Beverley GoldenJanuary 6, 2017 at 8:27 am
Wonderful story of how healing really is multi-layered, Tami. So many people (mostly men because of who they are and how they’ve been taught) do bury their emotions inside. Or aren’t even aware of their emotions to actually feel them. As embarrassed as you felt as showing your sadness, I would guess men also feel unsure of why they don’t. I love your proactive approached to dealing with loss, sadness and grief. Some of us carry around that grief and sadness for years, until we learn how to transform it into something more positive. Creativity is my way too!
tamuriaJanuary 6, 2017 at 2:48 pm
We should probably rejoice in our ability to fully feel and express our emotions, Beverley – I can’t imagine life any other way. You are right, though, some of us carry around the sadness for a long time before we are able to transform it. It took me a long time to realise how effective creativity can be to achieve this.
Meghan MonaghanJanuary 6, 2017 at 3:35 pm
Oh my, I relate to tearing up (or even sobbing) at children’s movies! Thankfully, I haven’t had to suffer too much razzing over it. Your reaction seemed quite normal and cathartic to me–chocolate included. Dealing with life’s less pleasant aspects can often require a bit of chocolate! For me, writing can have a similarly cathartic effect, especially if I’m angry or sad.
tamuriaJanuary 9, 2017 at 4:38 pm
Writing also works wonders for me, Meghan.
stuff4uand4uJanuary 7, 2017 at 5:44 am
Just love your writing – You always draw me in! Love the concept of create your own happy ending; sometimes not so easy, but so joyful when attained.
tamuriaJanuary 9, 2017 at 4:39 pm
So true, not always easy but so wonderful when achieved. Thank you for the lovely words. 🙂
Joan M HarringtonJanuary 8, 2017 at 10:26 am
Happy New Year Tami! What a wonderful and inspiring post! What a great way to deal with your feelings of sadness and learn what you can do next time you feel that way 🙂 It is amazing how many lessons can be taken from your post….thank you!
tamuriaJanuary 9, 2017 at 4:40 pm
Happy New Year to you too Joan. Glad you enjoyed this and found it inspiring.
Alene A GeedJanuary 9, 2017 at 8:47 am
i loved the story of the time you shared with your granddaughter. It is very healing to allow ourselves to cry and FEEL! And transforming the moment into your own happy ending is so heartfelt. Thank you so much for sharing these experiences with the social media world
tamuriaJanuary 9, 2017 at 4:41 pm
Glad you enjoyed this Alene. I’m enjoying so many precious moments with the wonderful Goddesses and really enjoy sharing the stories.
Reba LinkerJanuary 9, 2017 at 1:05 pm
Happy New Year, Tami! This is such a powerful post. Many of us seem to need to hang on to sadness and it takes some new thinking and new habits to let that go. It is a balancing act, as – as you so rightly say – the sadness has its place and importance, too. Knowing when and how to let it go is key.
tamuriaJanuary 9, 2017 at 4:42 pm
Happy New Year to you too Reba. I totally agree, knowing when and how to let go is they key. It’;s horrible to be stuck in sad.
Jackie HarderJanuary 10, 2017 at 10:37 pm
I think it’s so important to acknowledge and work through sadness. And if that means crying, then cry. I spent most of my life hiding tears because I didn’t want to appear weak. Now I let them come…and then go. It doesn’t feel good while it’s happening, but the relief in the aftermath is worth it.
tamuriaJanuary 12, 2017 at 8:32 am
I agree, Jackie, what a relief when you let those tears flow freely. It is important to acknowledge that sadness, and then do the work to ensure you don’t get stuck there.
Mindy IannelliJanuary 12, 2017 at 1:59 am
I love that you are teaching your little ones about creating their own happy endings! So very important for all of us – and best to learn young! And hugs and chocolate are the best! 🙂
tamuriaJanuary 12, 2017 at 8:33 am
Oh yes, Mindy, here’s to hugs and chocolate and of course, happy endings.
Katarina AnderssonJanuary 12, 2017 at 3:15 am
A very nice story. And I think anyone who grows up with only brothers, or as you having a family with only sons, learns to get the stiff upper lip, so to say. And that you do not show too much of tears or emotion to not be accused of the being the ‘typical girl’ trying to make a scene and fuss. 😉
tamuriaJanuary 12, 2017 at 8:34 am
Yes, when we are surrounded by males we tend to hide our tears, Katarina. I’m grateful the Goddesses are here now so we can share a few tears when necessary and then cheer ourselves up with chocolate and hugs.
Jennifer QuisenberryJanuary 12, 2017 at 6:36 am
If not for the distance, we would be good movie watching buddies! I know that chest tightening feeling all too well! It’s gotten to the point where if there’s an animal in the movie, I won’t watch until I hear from someone else if the animal dies or not. I will cry my eyes out. I even cried over the CGI apes in Planet of the Apes. (And I might have been the one who screamed in the theater “NOOOOOOO” when they attacked the main ape. Talk about embarrassing. And thankfully, my date that night married me anyway. Now he pulls a blanket over my head when a sad animal scene comes on tv so I don’t have to see them get hurt.)
It means we are tender-hearted and that we care. We have a capacity for loving and empathizing with others easily. That doesn’t mean that those who don’t react the same way don’t also love and feel empathy, but we show it more easily. I think that’s a good thing!
tamuriaJanuary 12, 2017 at 8:39 am
We could have such wonderful tear fests together, Jennifer. I agree, showing our sensitive side is a good thing and I’m so glad to be surrounded by Goddesses who inspire me to do this. I love the picture of you having a blanket over your head to protect you from the sadness. I always put a blanket over my head when I’m watching something scary. I peek through the weave and because the picture is so little it’s less daunting.
Tandy ElisalaJanuary 14, 2017 at 12:59 pm
What a touching article. I love how
You are teaching your grandkids the importance of allowing your feelings to come up. Such an important life lesson. Beautiful story.
tamuriaJanuary 14, 2017 at 3:32 pm
I agree it’s an important life lesson Tandy. Glad you enjoyed reading this.