Yesterday my little boy, he’s 5, didn’t want to eat his dinner, he wanted to eat ice-cream…
In fact if he had his way I think he would eat ice-cream all day, every day.
He doesn’t understand that eating ice-cream may be his current personal preference, but in the long term it’s not good for him at all.
As adults, we know this because we have more life experience and knowledge than a 5 year old.
Even when I say ‘No’, he’s very good at continuing to try and assert his preference… He’ll tell me that he really, really likes ice-cream and give me the cutest, heart-melting smile.
And when the charm doesn’t work, he employs other tactics. He’s tried telling me that he’s been really good at school so can he have ice-cream, he’s also tried the ‘I don’t like you, I’m going to ask Daddy’…
I’m sure anyone who’s hung around children for any length of time has experienced the impulsiveness (and craftiness) of children who want to assert their preferences lol.
And yet we can be just as crafty too when we want our own way, but we have more experience and tactics to draw upon!
Noticing the patterns
I really started to notice these patterns after a friend recommended that I read ‘The Surrender Experiment’ by Micheal A. Singer. In the book Singer shares how he surrendered his life to the divine flow of the Universe – I’m only half way through but it’s very inspiring – in the book he talks about how we judge things as good or bad in relation to our preferences.
And this got me thinking…
As life unfolds we can judge a situation as good or bad, “I like it”, “I don’t like it”, “I wish something else was happening”.
Going back to my little one, I’m pretty sure his thought process went: I don’t want to eat my meal, I want to eat ice-cream. Ice-cream tastes nicer. I wish Mummy would just give in and let me eat ice-cream, I really loooooove ice-cream, waaaahhhh….
We’ve made up our mind about how we think things in our life should be and this creates a struggle within us.
But as we know with 5 year olds, preferences don’t always provide the best outcome for us (even if we do love how they taste and feel), and sometimes we don’t understand why we can’t have and/or don’t get what we want, as we can only judge something based on our own limited understanding – albeit more than a 5 year old…
Many of my clients come to me wanting to create a particular result in their life, and yet they can judge the events leading up to it as good or bad, they like them or they don’t.
‘…for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.’ – Hamlet – William Shakespeare
Although at the time of the event, we may not like how we feel about something, often we may be confused about why life is bringing us perceived obstacles or throwing us a curveball, but as a wise friend of mine says: time brings clarity.
How many times in your life has something happened that at the time seemed awful, and yet it was the catalyst for something more wonderful than you could’ve ever imagined.
For me when I chose to get divorced, I was too close to the sadness and discomfort of making hard choices, that I never in my wildest dreams expected that it was making the way for me to meet someone else and have our adorable ice-cream loving 5 year old.
So next time when something doesn’t go as planned, before you get caught up in judging it based on your personal preference, why not take a moment to try and become curious?
Become curious and ask: I wonder where this is going to lead me?
It might not work for everything, but sometimes just taking a moment to pause and change your perspective, may just change the story you’re telling yourself, and open you up to a flow of opportunity that you never thought possible…