Monday, November 21, 2011

The Stinky Princess

I was watching my two granddaughters a couple of days ago and four-year-old Rosannah was in a bad mood. It was bed time and I asked her to choose a story for me to read to her and her sister. She asked for a couple of books I did not see. I had a feeling it was a stalling tactic to avoid going to bed so I asked if she wanted me to read from a princess book I had recently given her for her birthday.

“I want the one about the STINKY princess!” she demanded.

I knew there was no such book, so I pulled out the traditional and unscented version and decided to improvise.

While stinky scenarios such as farting, stepping in dog poo and pooping in your pants are the kind of comedy four-year-olds love, no one really wants to hear about that behavior in princesses. These classy royal highnesses have an image to maintain after all. Rosannah quickly opted for the “not stinky princess” edition.

That is not to say that Rosannah won’t laugh at a book that features a farting dog, Pepe le Pew or some other odoriferous character, but in my granddaughter’s eyes (and nose) princesses are sacrosanct from fetid bodily emanations. I’m sure the royal diaper changer has another opinion, but I digress.

Fast forward to last night when I received a call from a man I’ll call George. George called on the guise of giving me information, but basically he wanted to complain. He lamented that he wasn’t seeing the results in his life that he expected and whined about how “nothing” in his life was going well. I reminded him of some of his recent victories and how important it was to build and focus on his successes, show gratitude etc, but he wasn’t hearing any of it. In fact, he was intent on pulling out every negative scenario he could think of and regurgitate it to me. I could tell these stories had been turned into internal movies he played over and over and over again.

Although he said he was unhappy and wanted something better, I suspect his actions to achieve his goals conflicted with his desires. Based on how passionate he was about his tales of woe, I had the feeling he relished in his misery. It made me think of how a dog loves to roll around in poop or some other fetid substance. The difference is the dog doesn’t complain about his smelly circumstances. He WANTS to be stinky. They LOVE that smell. Give a dog a bath, let him run in the backyard and he will seek the stink every time.

If you seek a better way, I can offer a better alternative.
In my book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within, we discuss a few tips on avoiding rolling around in the mud (or worse.) I dub this stinky self flagellated mindset a victim mentality. It is so common that we devoted a whole chapter to it.

Here are a few tips.

•Don’t blame others for your problems.
Lose the victim mentality and take responsibility for your life – bumps and all. Life is not something that is handed to you, it is something you create. Adopt a proactive approach that shifts from “What can I get?” to “What can I contribute?” Next time you find yourself wanting to point a blaming finger at someone else, take note of your hand. While your finger and thumb may be pointing at someone else, three fingers are pointed right back at you!

•Align yourself with people, situations or organizations that can help put you on a successful path.
Ask yourself, “What am I focusing on?” If it’s not positive, redirect your thoughts.

•Take responsibility and find ways to succeed.
If people put more energy into solving problems instead of whining about them, all of our lives would be easier. When Thomas Alva Edison was experimenting with the correct filament for his light bulb, he was unsuccessful more than 1,000 times. Rather than becoming discouraged he is quoted as saying, “We now know a thousand ways not to build a light bulb”. What an enlightened concept!

Victims are often shackled by their inability, or unwillingness, to forgive others or themselves. Harboring resentments, even those that seem justified, do not help the situation. In fact, it makes it worse. Corrie Ten Boom said, "Forgiveness is setting the prisoner free, only to find out that the prisoner was me.” We cannot change the past. Forgive others, or yourself, and move on. Your heart will be lighter and you will be able to pursue happier endeavors.

In conclusion I ask that you follow my granddaughter’s lead. She could have heard a story about a stinky princess (I already had a plot in mind) but she decided to go with the unscented version. Life isn’t always happily ever after, but if you focus on what’s good in life as opposed to what stinks, it makes more sense (and scents) that you will look, feel and smell a lot better.

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