My cat peed on my Marc Jacobs handbag
This morning I was reminded that life doesn’t always do what you want it to. As, moments before I was getting out of bed, Jasper the cat proudly peed over last years rather nice Birthday gift of a designer handbag. Chance? Doubtful. I’d been working away and I daresay he was giving me a, rather costly, reminder that I belong to him and vice versa.
So what do we do when life doesn’t go to plan? How do we cope? Is it possible to put things right?
Firstly, we need to gain perspective. Where does the thing that has gone awry fit into our lives? If it weren’t even there at all, what would change? If something were there in its place, could that work? Sometimes we find that although something might seem extremely important at the time, actually, in the scale of things our lives will carry on. We can survive without this particular thing going our way or alternatively we might be able to find something, with a little fore thought and action, that might fit in its place.
Next, forget the regret. It’s so easy to immediately start regretting something that has happened and create a big gaping hole in our emotions. 'I really wanted that' or 'I’ve put all this work in and now it’s gone!' It is very difficult to move forward from a place of regret. Instead we need to look at whether there is a way to save or heal the situation, given the right steps. Are there measures that can be taken that might repair the situation? Is it worth it or will it be better to let it go and learn?
Don’t blame, reframe. Okay, Jasper was clearly at fault here. And the immediate suggestion from my other half that I made Jasper into a handbag, didn’t sound too bad in the heat of the moment. Thinking about it another way though, I guess he was just trying to tell me that he misses me and he really likes it when I’m there. And let’s face it, it was pretty clever to pick something that, through his eyes at least, even if I wasn’t there I’d remember him as the pungent fragrance of eau de chat would follow me wherever I went! Seriously though, there is often another way of looking at things other than our own. The reasons people or organisations do things that are unhelpful to us, are rarely intentioned to harm us personally - they are much more likely to be a lack of forethought, skill or awareness of others. Blame just eats us up. Taking a look at the situation from another angle can make things feel a lot less personal and allow us to move forward.
Learn and move on. There is often something to learn when things don’t go our way. It may be about choosing not to leave ourselves open to other’s bad decisions. It may be that it was actually time for a change we wouldn’t have even considered otherwise. It may be that we don’t leave designer handbags on the floor when we get back from business trips! Whatever it is, it will be specific to you and your situation. This isn’t about beating ourselves up, this is about making changes in our decisions so that rather than getting into a cycle of unhelpful repetition, we allow ourselves to be stronger and wiser and in a better position to deal with potential problems.
As for my situation, Jasper escaped the handbag makers (just - after a serious talking to of course!) and anyway, the bag was looking a little tired …and it is my birthday again next month… In the mean time I’m off to the handbag clinic to see what the damage will be to sort this out. Will it be worth it or will I just have to let this one go? I’ll have let you know.