Eventually, I'm going to buy the ice cream.
How to help yourself when you feel like things aren’t working out.
I think most of us would agree (especially if you've got kids), that most kids are wiser than most adults. Even if you don't agree, read on, there's an important life lesson to be learned here.
The ice cream truck is strategically parked right outside the gates of my daughter’s school. It's kind of a nightmare; for the parents, not for the ice cream man.
Everyday my daughter asks for ice cream.
Everyday I say no.
Well, almost every day (‘almost’ is the key word here.)
In The Ultimate Parenting Handbook 101, the principle goes, if you give your child an ice cream after you pick them up from school, the chances of getting your kid to eat dinner are pretty low. (Actually, there is no such handbook, but there really should be.)
Given the fact that it's questionable whether my kids are going to eat their dinner on a no-ice-cream-after-school-day, ice cream at pickup is pretty much out of the question.
Come to think of it, treats of any kind, at any time of day are always a slippery slope. You give it once and the little monsters will NEVER stop asking. Yes, I do mean never.
If you're not a parent yet, don't let this story scare you. There are plenty of other issues that are far scarier! Ha. I joke. Not really.
Okay back to the ice cream.
My daughter hears me say "no" when it comes to getting ice cream more often than she hears yes. Like, way more often.
So, if she were exceptionally good at math and decided to base her decision to ask for ice cream on the odds being in her favor that I would say yes, you would think she would stop asking.
You would be wrong.
Maybe she keeps asking because she's only in kindergarten and they haven’t learned statistics yet? Probably not.
Maybe she keeps asking because she doesn’t care one bit about the odds not being in her favor, she knows deep down that no matter how many times she has been told ‘no’, if she refuses to give up, if she stays the course long enough, eventually her mother will say yes.
She is right.
This is what I meant when I said; kids are far wiser than adults.
1. They don’t take 'no' personally.
My daughter doesn't hear me say no and then say, "Hmmm, maybe there's something wrong with me that my mom won't let me have an ice cream? Maybe I'm not good enough, or smart enough, or worthy enough for ice cream?"
Being told ‘no’ doesn’t cause her to de-value herself. (There's a reason why this statement is in bigger font.)
While being told 'no' may cause her to get upset, she never thinks there's something wrong with her because of it.
2. They don’t stop asking for what they want.
She wants it. She's asking. Over and over again. It doesn't really occur to her to stop. She's got a clear intention and she's not giving up.
She never sees 'no' as a reason to give up. (Again, with the big font.)
She doesn't care how long it takes; she knows that if she’s persistent enough, the chances are high that eventually she's going to get what she wants.
You get what I'm saying to you, yes?
I know that getting what you want is not as simple as the ice-cream strategy used by 5 year olds everywhere, but I also know this…
Most people take ‘no’ very personally, like a major personal rejection of sorts.
Most people hear ‘no’ and wrongly (and quite dangerously) believe it’s because there’s something wrong with them.
Most people don’t fully commit. They’ve usually got a one-foot-in, one-foot-out the door kind of thing happening. (This is a biggie. I’ll write more about the negative impact of this behavior in an upcoming article.)
Most people give up without ever really giving themselves enough time or support to help them get to yes. The ability to be patient is a big-time indicator of self-worth and self-love.
If you can relate to anything I’ve said here, don’t worry and please please don’t use it as a reason to feel bad. If you can relate, it’s because you’re like most people. Myself included.
Here’s the great news.
You can decide right now, that you’re not going to give up on or feel bad about yourself anymore.
“The best chance to be whole is to love whatever gets in the way, until it ceases to be an obstacle.” – Mark Nepo
Being told ‘no’ is never easy, especially when you’re trying so hard for something that means so much; launching a product that nobody buys, ending a relationship you thought was meant to be, not getting the support you desperately need.
‘No’ can feel like a really big fail. But now I ask you to consider experiencing ‘no’ from your most worthy place.
What if you started to love the ‘no’ instead of fearing it?
What if you really allowed yourself to believe that the ‘no’ is here to help you find your way?
This way of thinking might be brand new. It might feel like too much effort. You might even be saying to yourself, "Yeah, but is this way of 'being' towards myself really going to change anything?" And I get it. Trying anything new is a very scary thing, especially when we're talking about a whole new way of thinking, a whole new way of allowing yourself to be.
But what I want you to walk away knowing today, is that this is the worthiness mindset shift that will help you change everything.
So, what’s your ice cream? What is it you really want?
Decide that you are worthy of it and then decide there’s no way you’re giving up.
Not taking things personally is no small feat, but I can guarantee it will help you create a powerful foundation from which to design your best life. I recently wrote about why setting a solid foundation matters so much. You can read about it out here.
If you’d love a little bit of help each day getting yourself in the right mindset to reach your goals and enjoy your life, subscribe to my daily notes from #YourWorthySelf. One woman reports, “They get me through the tough days and make me smile. Who wouldn't want to wake up to positive affirmations every morning? It's like therapy in your inbox!”
If you want to learn more about the practice of not taking things personally, treat yourself to reading, The Four Agreements, a book I recommend to many of my private clients.