“My Mum married my ex-boyfriend, that’s why I’m screwed up” – Drunk girl in a bar
This is a line I overheard when I was out having a drink last night.
Similar conversations happen everywhere in pubs, clubs, cafes, restaurants, homes and workplaces. Well, probably that exact line in the office, you’d save it for drinks after work.
What I couldn’t help but hear was the meaning behind the line. It was an excuse. The limiting belief that because a certain event or circumstance has happened that we can’t move on or grow or change. We accept that it’s our lot in life to be that way.
Don’t get me wrong, I have an overwhelming amount of empathy for people who are struggling and dealing with big issues and my heart goes out to them. But how many times have you heard someone blame their past for their current situation?
Last week I went out to the crematorium to visit my dear friend who lost her battle with cancer. It was soul destroying at the time of her death and I thought I’d never recover. I still miss her dearly.
After she passed, I was echoing the bar girl’s creed, “My friend died and so that’s why [insert excuse here]”. I was wandering around feeling miserable. And then I reframed. The best way to honour my friend was to celebrate the joy that she brought into the world and not to be sad or to make excuses.
I wrote a story for my writing class on how she introduced me to Hendricks gin, how we sang our hearts out at the Paul Simon concert and how she made me a batch of gluten-free muffins when I broke up with my boyfriend.
The lesson for me was not to use her death as an excuse, but to embrace it and take it as a golden opportunity to live my life to the fullest. To reframe from a negative to a positive.
There is always a chance to learn or grow from a circumstance that appears to be negative. You have a chance to turn it around. Your past does not have to define your future.
Maybe the next time I’ll hear, “My Mum married my ex-boyfriend and it’s fantastic. We get to remain friends and my Mum has taken on all his annoying little habits” – Drunk girl in a bar. Okay, maybe not that exact drunk girl, but you get the point.
What are the new conversations you’re going to be having about your fabulous future?