I saw a few things this week that came together in a powerful way for me. I just happened to catch one of those Goalcast interviews. This one was an interview of Tony Robbins – on a private jet. I can only usually watch a little of his performances without becoming nauseous and wondering who needs that much cheer leading all the time that they have to pay for it.
But that’s another post…
But he said something in his interview that sparked something in me. And again, I’m sorry. It’s catchy and it sounds so fake, but there’s more to it I think. He said, ‘If you’re obsessed with yourself, you’ll always have less.’
Think about that.
If we’re always worried about us, about how we look, about what others think about us, about making ourselves happy we’re never going to have or be enough. We’re always going to be comparing ourselves to others. And guess what? We’re never going to measure up.
I know. I lived that way for a very long time. I still have a tendency to think that way – like the world revolves around me. That’s why the ‘why’ of what we do is way more important than what we actually do sometimes.
I don’t think I’m ever going to be a huge Tony Robbins fan, but I can see the appeal.
This leads me to the second video I saw this week. It was of a young mother of a severely autistic child. Severely – she kept emphasizing that.
First, let me say that I am not an expert on autism and will never claim to be. My heart goes out to any parent with a special needs child. I am in awe of parents who have children period and look like they have it together or even when they don’t.
I’m a step-parent and I worry about that kid every day even though he’s an adult and on his own. So I can’t imagine the stress and worry involved with caring for a child who needs more.
The woman who made the video was obviously having a bad day. She was overwhelmed and struggling. She had taken her autistic child to see Elmo at the mall the day before. It didn’t go well.
She was struggling with her son and looked around and saw all of these people with their ‘normal’ children and I have to imagine something snapped. It had to have because she made this video the next day about how unfair it was that she had an autistic child. How it wasn’t okay that he would never have a career and family and a ‘normal’ life.
He was happy, healthy, and safe – her words – but it still wasn’t okay because he couldn’t have all the ‘normal’ things in life and people stared at them when they were out in public. She used to hide his autism when he was 2 and 3, but she couldn’t do it anymore because he was too old. So now she had to deal with the stares and misguided, well-meaning encouragement.
Okay, I get it. Everyone wants the very best for their children. We all secretly hope they grow up to cure cancer or invent the next big thing. We push and prod sometimes. And then the day comes when reality hits fantasy and the fantasy crumbles.
But come on. Don’t we want people to cut us some slack? Don’t we want to be able to do what makes us happy, fulfilled? Don’t we want to live a stress-free, flip-side kind of life? Don’t we want to raise our children not to care what other people think or compare themselves with anyone else?
I know she was having a ‘what about me’ day. She was feeling sorry for herself. We all have them. I know I do. The difference is that most of us don’t record ourselves and then share it on the internet for all the world to see. Because it’s not all about us…
I know her intent was to raise awareness of how hard life with an autistic child is. I get it. I do. My heart goes out to all of you amazing parents out there. But at some point it – life, purpose, meaning – becomes all about that child.
And life is hard in spots. Life is unfair. Shit happens. Perception is reality.
Sometimes all we can do is breathe in and breathe out and get through the day. Oh, and forget about ourselves for at least a little while. Make someone else happy without thinking of what’s in it for us for a change. Do something that will make someone else’s life easier even if it inconveniences us. And stop giving a flying fig about what is ‘normal’ or what people think.
I know that I know that I know that once we forget about taking care of ourselves, someone will always be there to do and say things that will help us.