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We’re going to do an experiment today. Read the following statements and then ask yourself, “how am I feeling now?”

It’s not fair that my child has autism

It’s not fair that other people’s kids behave themselves and mine don’t

It’s not fair that my life is hard

It’s not fair that we have so many appointments to get to

It’s not fair that I can’t take my kids to the grocery store

It’s not fair that…..(fill in the blank with “parenting unfairness” comes to mind)

Ok —

How do you feel? Not, do you feel good or bad, but how are you feeling in your body?

Does your chest feel tight? Does your head hurt a little bit? Heart racing? What are the physical sensations you’re experiencing? Jot them down if it helps clarify them for you.

Chances are, this exercise was not pleasant. Thinking those thoughts (reading those sentences) led to you feel pretty stressed and pretty terrible.

So, a question:

Why would we choose to think those things on the regular???

You might be saying, “I don’t! They just happen!” And there’s some truth to that. Many of these types of thoughts (and we have thousands of them every day) seem to just come out of nowhere.

But what if you knew that most thoughts are optional?

What if you could choose different thoughts to think about the exact same reality?

If your mind is exploding, here’s what I mean:

On a cloudy day, we can choose to think, “it’s an awful day” OR we can choose to think “it’s cloudy” OR maybe even, “the sun’s still up there; I just can’t see it right now”. (that’s some high quality thinking right there!)

When our child is having a meltdown, we can choose to think, “it’s an awful day” OR we can choose to think, “wow, they’re having a hard time right now”.

And, instead of thinking “it’s not fair that….”, we can think something else that serves us better. 

Something like, “my life is unfolding exactly as it should”.

Or, if that feels like utter horsehit, maybe something more like, “I don’t like it that…”

And if you can get to “I don’t like it that….” then maybe you can also get to, “but I accept it”.

Maybe. 

Maybe not today or tomorrow or next week. Or maybe right now!

When we start to get creative and curious with how our brain is presenting “the facts” to us, we get to shape our reality in ways that can be much more helpful and constructive and much less destructive to how we want to live our lives.

We are not at the mercy of our children’s diagnoses. We are not at the mercy of how “good” of a day it is – weather- or otherwise. 

We are at the mercy of our thoughts about all that stuff. 

And so, since we can’t change people, events and circumstances that exist outside of ourselves, we’d best get busy changing our internal landscape about those externals.

Our brains will thank us for it.

The people who surround us will thank us for it.

And perhaps most importantly – our children will thank us for it.

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