Last week I posted this photo to Instagram with this caption.
Cooper said, "Do you want to sit on the couch with me?" No came out of my mouth before I thought about it. I was cranky today. My stomach has been aching for days now. I had a headache most of the day. I was tired. Homework was a chore, ping ponging between kiddos since Mike is out of town. The "no" came from that cranky place. But I didn't want Cooper to go to bed on that note. Heck, I didn't want to go to bed on that note. So I changed my answer, said yes and we sat on the couch watching a video of our recycling truck in action from earlier in the day. Man, this kid teaches me so much about life, grace, love and compassion.
I've replayed this moment over and over again in my head. As soon as I said no to Cooper, my stomach dropped, my heart sank and I felt a combination of sadness and shame. I was being a bad mother. I wasn't doing all that I could do to show Cooper how I loved him. I wasn't enough. My mind flooded with a million negative thoughts that aren't true. Someone wise once told me "Every negative thought you've ever had is a lie." And I was telling myself a lot of lies.
What I did in the next moment stunned me. It's not my normal behavior. I quickly changed the narrative in my head and changed my response to Cooper. I said yes. I told myself a different story. Yes, I'm a great mom. Yes, I'm tired, but I always have time for connection. Yes, I can do this. Yes, I am enough.
The relief that I felt was unbelievable. My shoulders relaxed. The tension in m body melted away. I laughed and smile, which is never a bad thing. And I felt so powerful for taking what could have been a crappy situation and turned into something profound and meaningful. We all have that power.
Here's the deal: I don't have this mastered, but I can tell you that consciously forcing myself to change the story I'm telling (both in my head and out loud) is a powerful tool. It can change a crappy moment, a hard day or even your life. I honestly believe that. Flip the script. Tell yourself something new today. And I bet you, you'll feel different and you'll act different.