With this answer:
Or if not great, maybe wonderful or something along those lines – it’s not even something I think about anymore, it’s become a habit.
Is this always true you may ask?
Well, here’s how I look at it – even if something isn’t so wonderful, or something is scary, or I’m feeling stressed, there are still a lot of things that are great.
The answer may not reflect every aspect of my day or being, but it’s an answer that defines a daily choice – a choice to notice that a lot of things are indeed great.
Every single day we have a choice. Some days I wake up and notice what I’m not getting, what I’m afraid of, what I’ve lost, or why things aren’t fair.
But I’ve learned over and over again that this doesn’t help.
It doesn’t do anything to make my day better. It only makes my day heavy and empty, and I blame everyone around me for the thoughts that circle around in my head.
But when I choose to notice my fears or insecurities (because they are there, and maybe even need to be addressed), but then simultaneously notice the big tree in the front yard, my really good coffee, my favorite flip flops, and my sleeping family, I realize that a lot of things are great.
So yesterday I drove my daughter Camryn to camp, a big deal for her (and me) since she will be staying a few nights.
When we arrived, a counselor went through a series of questions with her –have you been in contact with a sick person, do you take medication, do you have an inhaler…
And then the last question was, “How are you feeling right now?”
And she said, “Great!”
And I smiled for many reasons:
Because the counselor said to her, “That’s the first great I’ve heard all day.”
And because I think she hears her mom say that a lot.
What she taught me in that moment was that when we say great, we not only affect the way we are feeling, we affect the people who hear it.
The counselor smiled so big when she heard her response, and she wrote GREAT!!! in all caps with extra exclamations on my daughter’s check-in sheet.
And it also made me smile, because I realized Camryn made a choice, too.
She was super nervous and really worried about this camp experience. But she was also excited.
She chose great.
Cathy Cassani Adams, LCSW, CPC, is the author of The Self-Aware Parent, the host of Zen Parenting Radio, a columnist for Chicago Parent Magazine, and a blogger for Chicago Now. She’s a self-awareness teacher and yoga instructor in her community, and she teaches in the Sociology Department at Dominican University.