Monday, March 9, 2009

"Horriblelizing"

I hope you all had a good weekend and are refreshed and ready to start a new week! Isn’t it nice that we get to start over again and again. It is our chance for constant new beginnings! Each hour, each day, each week is new and that means new possibilities. I love it! I can leave the past behind and step into a new and better me.

One of the ways I can do this is to constantly be questioning the truth of a situation. One way I cause myself negative feelings is by “horriblelizing.” For example, I find out that one of my children has done something wrong while at school. Let’s say that my second grader took a quarter from someone else’s desk and I begin to tell a story that begins something like, “Oh no, people will think I’m a bad mother. I haven’t taught Jimmy well enough. He shouldn’t have stolen the quarter. I wonder if he’s stolen other things. What if he has? He’ll be branded as a thief and none of the good kids will want to have anything to do with him. Then he’ll fall in with the bad kids. What if he keeps stealing things? If he keeps on like this, he could end up in a juvenile detention center.”

Obviously this is a little exaggerated, but not too much. We often find ourselves “horriblelizing” or writing a story that makes things a lot worse than what they are. In these situations, I question what I am thinking by simply asking the question, “Is it true?” Is it true I am a bad mother? No! Is it true I haven’t taught Jimmy? No! Is it true he’s stolen other things? Probably not. Is it true he’ll go on stealing? No! The plain and simple truth is that for some reason not yet understood by me, Jimmy took a quarter that didn’t belong to him and that is all I need to deal with. I need to find out why he took the quarter and then help him understand why it was wrong. This is the kind of experience that can be a powerful teaching moment in a child’s life if you stick to the truth of the situation and deal with it. If you get caught up in the bad mother story or the juvenile delinquent story, you get diverted from the truth and the chances are great that you will then deal with the truth of the situation too harshly or in such a way that instead of teaching it traumatizes Jimmy.

Watch how many times a day you “horriblelize” a situation and when you find yourself projecting a negative story onto a situation stop and simply ask, “Is that true?” If it isn’t true, laugh at yourself for being so funny, then drop the negative story and deal with the truth.

6 comments:

Knowles Family said...

Oh - this was a very good post for me today. Thank you :)

Jenny said...

I am taking a parenting class through my ward. This post seems to fit right in with what we have been talking about. I tend to horriblelize my situations as a parent and I end up feeling like a bad mom. Instead I should be stepping back and looking for the truth. Although I am probably most aware of when I horriblelize as a mom, I think it can be more subtle to do so in our interactions with our friends and acquaintances. Thank you for putting this truth so simply.

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Kellie, Thank you. You are always so encouraging!

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Jenny, I agree. I used the parenting example, but we all do it with all aspects of our lives. Just this morning a woman was telling me how scared she was about the state of the economy and what awful things are about to happen. Is it true? We can't know, but why make ourselves miserable now? Be prepared, but enjoy now!

Wendi said...

This is an awesome post. And your first paragraph is exactly why I named my blog "Every Day is a New Beginning." I'm so thankful for chances to start again and be better. Also, I attended an enrichment meeting with my sister and one of the speakers talked about horriblelizing. This is the second time I've heard that term in a month. I wish I had grown up knowing about this stuff! I'm glad I can teach it to myself and my kids now!! :)

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Wendi, I grew up horriblelizing and have to constantly work on it. I, too, am grateful that we can learn new things and change!