We military spouses spend way too much time dancing at the Woulda Shoulda Coulda Cotillion, don’t we? I circle that floor even when I have no business out there.
Take that summer storm that pummeled the East Coast last Friday knocking out power to three million customers. Four enormous trees fell in our yard, pulling power lines and the wifi right out of the house. So I did my typical shuffle at the Woulda Shoula Coulda Cotillion:
- I woulda bought a house that didn’t have trees if I knew these might fall down. So it is all my fault that this happened!
- I shoulda had those trees pulled down already. You can’t trust trees!
- I coulda gone completely off the grid long ago if I only had some self-discipline!
Dumb, right? That kind of thinking sets you up for anxiety, depression and an empty case of Angry Orchard.
Marty Seligman, past president of the ASA and founder of the positive psychology movement agrees. “We think too much about what goes wrong and not enough about what goes right in our lives.” He points out that people spend too much time criticizing their performance, scanning the environment for possible problems, and generally finding too much to worry about.
We spouses need to spend a lot more time at the I’M THE ROCKINGEST MILITARY SPOUSE IN THE WORLD ball. Picture me dancing around my living room Saturday morning with my arms over my head and my feet leaving the ground. Think Zumba without an audience.
- None of my trees fell ON my house. I have well-behaved trees!
- Yellow pages? Shmellow pages! I waylaid the yard guy on 6:30 a.m. walk and got a tree removal recommendation!
- I am the Queen of Natural Disasters!! I had the tree removal service with their trucks in my yard at 7:05 a.m!!!
I figure I burned an easy 800 calories with this happy dance. By the time Brad called from the to see if we had any damage, the damage was already going away. “You are really amazing,” he said.
Yeah, I am. And so are you. You know that if this was your disaster you would have been rockin’ it, too.
So why don’t we military spouses do this kind of calorie burning, positive thinking, and giving-credit-where-credit-is-due-ing more often? For sound evolutionary reasons, we do get focused on all we have to do and all we haven’t done. For even sounder emotional reasons, we have to learn to do the kind of wild self-congratulatory dancing that military life requires. We have to decide to do it.
Start today. Decide to make a list of the stuff you have done already — and this time wave your arms in the air and let your feet leave the floor. You deserve it.