I immediately remembered the feelings of dread and embarrassment when I needed glasses in 4th grade and was about to start comforting her when she started excitedly talking about getting a pair of glasses.
“I think I’ll get pink, you know how I love pink.” She was saying excitedly. She continued to say that some words on the board had been getting fuzzier and she had been getting some headaches so she was really looking forward to not only getting to wear a cute pair of glasses, but she was also happily anticipating seeing better and feeling better.
I was so glad I had taken her lead and not jumped in with my condolences of how she would be still beautiful, and fabulous even with glasses. That was my tired old story from when I was in 4th grade and kids back then used to call people “four eyes”, “geek” and “nerd”. I was making the simple fact of her eyes needing correction mean that she was going to have the cliche problem in school of being teased and feeling bad about herself. Her father, my husband tells the story of how he squinted for over a year knowing he needed glasses, but not wanting to have to wear them so he faked it as long as possible.
Amazingly the kids in her school don’t do that, and you can tell that it hasn’t even crossed their minds that wearing glasses is a bad thing. I think it it may even be considered kind of cool.
She’s been counting down the days to the Pediatric Opthamology appointment and excitingly telling everyone that she is going to get glasses! I love her enthusiasm and joyful energy around something that was a source of embarrassment for many kids who have come before her.
It is such a clear example of how we use our stories about circumstances to make something mean something good or bad. The fact of needing glasses was the same for both myself and my daughter. But the stories we were telling ourselves about it couldn’t have been more different. Mine caused embarrassment and emotional suffering, while her story caused her to feel excitement and joy!
What painful story are you telling yourself? I invite you to think about the circumstance and try to look at it as a scientific compassionate observer. What would IT be without your story? Who would YOU be without your story? What are you making it mean? The circumstance never causes you pain or suffering, only your thoughts about it and the story you create around it does.
I feel grateful to have such a wise daughter to bring me such a clear example of how you can choose to see things in a more positive light. What a refreshing way to SEE the world.