Sometimes your life is unicorns and rainbows* and sometimes it is dung beetles and mud puddles. It’s all unicorns when everything seems to just fall into place and dung beetles when nothing ever seems to go right. But really, it is always just your life and it is what you are expecting from it that gets you unicorns or dung beetles.
The last time you got a new car, did you start noticing how many of that make and model were in town? When you got pregnant or had a friend or family member expecting, did it all of a sudden seem like the whole world was pregnant (okay 51% of it at least)?
So when something goes wrong, we expect more to go wrong. And even if something wasn’t a big deal on unicorn days, on those muddle days minor irritations can become the things that ends the world. BECAUSE THEY JUST KEEP PILING UP!!! What does this have to do with becoming who you might have been? It is all about expectations and how they shape our outlook, and ultimately shape our lives.
Let’s talk biology for a moment.
Our brains are complex and specialized organs that are constantly developing, shaped by our experiences. The neurons within our brain are the specialized transmitters of information to the rest of our bodies, and the connections they make within our brain can be strengthened through use. The more they are used, the stronger they become and the more connections they make.
If these neurons are not used, they are pruned, in fact we lose nearly half the neurons we had at the age of 3. What does this mean for us? Children and adults that experience physically abusive relationships can show connections between the neurons for pain and the neurons for love. Translate that, these individuals will associate pain with love.
Okay, so back to our unicorns and dung beetle.
For some of us, our life has led us to neural connections that lead us down the path of being a “unicorn” person or a “dung beetle” person. We had crap happen to us, the positive neural connections were pruned and negative connections were strengthened. Does this help explain how some people can always find the rainbow or ride the waves? Yes. And no. You can reprogram your brain. You can turn dung beetles into unicorns. You just have to work at it.
Yes, sh*t happens.
And when it does happen, you can wallow for a lifetime and believe the universe has it out for you, and that there’s just no point to it all. Or you can wallow for a minute or a day (cause I believe we all still need to wallow with some brownies every once and a while) and then we can say, “Okay, that sucked, but where do I go from here?”
If you lost your job, perhaps you can look at this as a chance to start your own business, spend more time with you family, uproot and move to that place you have always dreamed of.
If your kids have just colored on the walls after plugging the toilet with dog food, you wallow (this one may need some wine and an annoyed post on Facebook), then ask, “Is any one injured? Okay, no. Will this really matter in 5 years? Okay, no. Wasn’t I wanting to paint the dining room a new color anyway?”
Keep doing this and you will start to see more unicorns and rainbows and less dung beetles and mud puddles.
In fact, I challenge you to try this for seven days starting today. Something irritating or bad or obnoxious happens in the next seven days, wallow for a second, and then spin it around.
Come back here and let me know how those seven days went. Did it make a difference?
Let’s think unicorns together!
*credit where credit is due: the lovely unicorns and rainbows phrase is an original (as far as I know) of the lovely Kelle Hampton. Go check her out. NOW!