ON MY MIND: Success, la-la-land and goblins

On My Mind | Maureen Burns

I saw a little girl at Macy’s. She was about 5, holding her mommy’s hand, going down the escalator in front of me. She sported curly red hair with a big bow, patent Mary Jane shoes, and an adorable girly girl dress. She was flat out as cute as it gets. I knew I shouldn’t, I’m a stranger, after all, but I couldn’t help myself. I learned over towards her and said, “You look SO beautiful!!!” She looked up at me and threw her little arms up towards the sky and said in a loud happy voice filled with exuberance, “I KNOW!!!”

I loved that. Who else would answer like that? She obviously hadn’t been to school yet as her self-esteem was still intact and wonderful.

As I walked on thinking about how many of us would answer like that, I guessed a great big zero. First of all, we are way too modest. Yeah, that’s it. Second, none of us have self-esteems that are just bursting with exuberance any more. Oh, most of us like ourselves all right, but to bust out with, “I KNOW!!!,” that is likely not going to be any of our reactions.

This week a few hundred of us got to hear Helen Simonson speak at One Book One County. She shared how the day her book came out all of her dreams came true. Then she honestly shared how that played out.

She thought with it that she would automatically lose 30 pounds. She thought with it came a guarantee that icky stuff like dishwashers breaking down, etc., wouldn’t happen anymore. She basically thought her dream being fulfilled came with a ticket to la-la-land.

Recently someone shared with me that they had accomplished something big and worked hard to make it happen. When it did happen, what shocked them was that it didn’t change anything. Their life was still as it had been. They felt as they had before. Nothing else had changed. That, of course, wasn’t what they had expected. They thought that when they accomplished their goal a guarantee would come that everything else would also change for the better. Sadly, life doesn’t work that way.

Who was it that said, “Life’s a b—- and then you die”? Some people think that is how it goes. I don’t, but I don’t live in la-la-land either. I realize life can be tough and that one great thing doesn’t mean everything else becomes great too. I wish it did. How nice would that be and how much easier would that make life for all of us!

Another bit of wisdom from Helen was, “Having your dreams come true heightens both the good and bad things in your life.” Ah, yes, another bit of truth.

Many times in life we are our own worst enemy. Often we are the one who keeps holding us back. We get in our own way. We often need to give ourselves a good talking to in order to get our perspective back and get ourselves re-motivated. Are you relating to any of this? Am I the only one who experiences this stuff? I doubt it. I’m guessing these experiences are quite universal.

Helen shared how she often has a mental goblin sitting on her shoulder which keeps shouting at her, “You suck!” She needs to whack it away in order to make any positive progress in what she’s doing.

This reminds me of a friend who recently shared that her 2-year-old granddaughter was just learning to put her words together in a sentence. One day she shocked everyone by saying her first big sentence to her sister. The shock was not because she said it but because of what she said. “Shut up, stupid sister!” Well, all righty then. Goblins can be on our shoulder in our own minds or related to us. Sometimes we get to whack them away. Sometimes we have to live with them.

Yes, Halloween is around the corner, but that does not mean we have to put up with any goblins in our life, real or not. Try and focus on all the good in your life and how wonderful you are and don’t let the goblins get you down.

 Maureen Burns, a Greenville resident, is a professional speaker and author. Her e-mail address is maureenburns@maureenburns.com.

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