I had this friend who was down on herself all the time. She frequently complained about her weight, her parenting style, her organization skills, and about life in general. For the purpose of this blog, we will call her "Debbie Downer". In Debbie's life, nothing was going right. She muddled through life, with good intentions but put none of them into practice. She resolved to eat right - it lasted 3 days. She started to organize her house - but made it worse because she gave up in the middle of it. She asked her friends for ideas on raising her kids but didn't follow though.
On the flip side, I have another friend who is a motivator for me and for all the other people with whom she comes in contact . "Peppy Patty" has a zest for life. She appears to have it all. She dances through life and impacts all of her friends in a positive way. She eats well and if she gets off track (Pizza and beer are NECESSARY in a bowling league!), she gets right back to it the next day. Her house is clean and organized. Her kids, though not perfect, are well behaved and have great manners.
What do you think is the biggest difference between Debbie and Patty?
And, I have a secret to share with you. "Debbie" and "Patty" are the same person! Your next question is probably "Seriously?! How in the world did someone who is such a Debbie Downer turn into a Peppy Patty?!?!?!?"
And, again, I say "Self confidence!!!!!"
Debbie knew she needed to change. She started off slowly. She taped a reminder to her bathroom mirror that said "Give thanks." Seeing that reminder, she would, in her head, list all the things in her life in which she was thankful. It started off as a short list: "Ummmmm.... I am alive. My kids are healthy." And as each day went by, the list grew and grew. Debbie started realizing that she had A LOT of wonderful things in her life.
Reluctantly, after a friend suggested it, she signed on to volunteer at a local food bank. There she saw that there was so much suffering in her own community, and it felt good to give back. Life was so much bigger than what was going on in her little 3 bedroom house!
Debbie knew she couldn't do this alone, so she surrounded herself with positive people. She was starting to realize that their optimism was contagious. The more time she spent with them, the better she felt. When she went out for lunch with her new group of friends, they all ordered healthy foods and Debbie found herself doing the same. She joined a gym and spent a few nights a week there, chatting with others and getting a workout in at the same time.
Debbie's husband started noticing the changes and complimented her often. Her self confidence grew. She started taking her kids out of the house more often, taking them to the park and running around with them. She read some parenting books while she was on the elliptical at the gym and after realizing a few mistakes she had made, changed her attitude toward her kids. They quickly followed suit, changing their attitude toward their Mom.
One day, Debbie got a phone call from a friend she hadn't talked to in awhile. Her friend complained that nothing was going right. Her house was a mess. Her kids didn't listen. She was fat, dumpy, and ugly. She needed advice. "How do you do it all, Debbie?" she asked her friend. And Debbie, looking in the mirror at the woman she had become, replied "Please call me Patty."