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What You Will Learn in this Episode:
- Your friend’s circumstances are not your circumstances
- There is power in processing through your emotions
Episode Questions for You To Consider
- Do you find yourself often ignoring your own circumstances in this way?
- Dumbo, did you see they are doing a live-action, well mostly live-action, version of this movie coming up? Are you going to go see that new live-action Dumbo? (fun question)
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast with Coach Christine, episode number 11, Misery Loves Company, But What Does That Get You? …
Misery loves company.
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast with Coach Christine, episode number 11, Misery Loves Company, But What Does That Get You? This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy with volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that’s been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it’s freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
Hello, my empty nest friend! Thank you for spending your valuable time with me today. This podcasting thing is a huge learning curve for me. I’m trying to figure out what topics to do, all that kinds of stuff, and I decided that I would create a title for the following episode as I finish the prior one, and then just see where it takes me. Where I landed on this topic was nowhere near where I thought it was going to. This whole process is super fun.
Misery loves company. This isn’t a fact, or anything. It is a proverb that dates back hundreds of years. Shakespeare did not pen the phrase. It appears that John Ray, an English naturalist and botanist from the mid-17th Century is credited with the phrase. Although, it was in use well before that. The meaning is that if you’re miserable you will be comforted by the idea that others are not happy.
I don’t know about you, but my mind instantly jumps to the extreme, someone like the fictional evil stepmother in Cinderella. There’s a lady who really enjoys seeing someone else feel miserable. You can almost feel the enjoyment she gets from seeing Cinderella’s pain and misery. I am sure that you are thinking I would never be that cruel. I give you, I would hope you aren’t but, I want to challenge you with this. Don’t we sometimes, as humans, like to find an example of someone who has it worse off than us to make us feel better about our own circumstance? In our minds we think, I have no right to be upset, they have it so much worse.
I know this may seem like an odd jump but stay with me. Isn’t that pretty much what this phrase is all about? That’s tough, right? Think about it. When you are super upset about something, and then, you hear that someone else you know has a circumstance that makes yours pale in comparison, isn’t that kind of what we’re doing? When we say oh, their situation puts yours into perspective. It seems harmless. I totally get it but when you decide that someone else has it worse, what are you saying to yourself about your circumstances? This is the challenge that arises. What are you actually doing here? Are you working through your own thoughts, feelings, actions? Of course you aren’t. You are simply ignoring them. That isn’t helpful to you.
Your circumstances, your thoughts and your feelings are yours. They’re all yours and you need to work through them. I am not talking about publicly. If your friend just found out that their child has a terminal illness, it isn’t the time to share about your child not getting into their dream school. That would be rude. You aren’t a jerk. I know you aren’t. You are a good friend. You listen. You love on your friend and you support them in any way that you can. But when you go home, when you’re with your thoughts, whatever you are dealing with, if it shows its head as misery, I do not want you to ignore it because you’ve decided that things could be worse, look at what my friend’s going through. I want you to figure out what your circumstance is, and then do the work to process through it. Your friend’s circumstances are not your circumstances. Your circumstances are your work.
Ignoring things never solves things. I challenge you to stop ignoring thoughts in your life that you deem aren’t worth addressing because of excuses, such as in the scheme of things, this is nothing, or everyone else I know has it so much worse, or I’m lucky this is all I have to deal with. This might all be true in your mind but if you don’t 100 percent believe the thought that you’re saying, it isn’t true for you then. You need to figure out the thought that you need to have to get you the feeling and the result that you want.
Dumbo. Remember that movie? Remember the feather? That feather. He had to hold onto the feather to fly. That is what he believed. I’d like you to imagine that you are Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Yes, another fictional character from Christine today. Imagine that the feather you’re holding is the line you are telling yourself. The excuse you have, such as I’m lucky I don’t have that to deal with. Do you know how scared Dumbo would be to lose that feather? I think that might be us. Because, if we hold onto that excuse or that feather, we don’t have to deal with our current circumstances.
When you think about your own circumstances, when your friends are going through tough things, it almost feels self-indulgent, doesn’t it? It might, but I bet that is because you aren’t used to doing it. Doing what? Being an emotional adult. You need to do the work. You need to process through it, so you can be who you need to be in your life, for your friend, for your family, and for yourself. I’m willing to bet that the you who processes through your own circumstances is profoundly stronger than the you who is ignoring things. Actually, I’m sure of it. That version of you is worth getting to know. If your brain is seeing misery somewhere, it is worth working through. You are worth it. You deserve it.
Let’s go back to Cinderella. I have no doubt that Cinderella’s stepmother saw misery everywhere. Just a hunch. What if her stepmother didn’t need to see others in misery to make herself feel better? I guess we wouldn’t have a story then. What do you want? A story about others in your life, or to write your own story? For the record, I am preaching to myself in this episode, for sure. Confused? I might have confused myself in this episode.
Fly on over to my community forum to see if I’ve gained any more clarity on this by the time it goes live. You may jump in by answering this episode’s questions, which are:
1) Do you find yourself often ignoring your own circumstances in this way?
2) Dumbo, did you see they are doing a live-action, well mostly live-action, version of this movie coming up? This was one of those movies I re-watched with my daughter when she was younger and found myself either cringing or crying through almost the whole thing. My question is are you going to go see that new live-action Dumbo? What does that movie even bring up for you? Something different to talk about. Will you go see it?
As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend, and my hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that impact your life in a positive way. My next episode’s title is The Power in Understanding That Life Isn’t Supposed to be Perfect. Don’t forget to sign up for my free Thursday Thoughts About email. Sign up and every Thursday you will receive a thought from me, and I also share Your Empty Nest Coach updates. Do me a favor? If you like this podcast, or you find it’s just making you think and you are listening to it on your phone, do a quick screenshot and post it on your favorite social media site to let others know about this podcast. On Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, I’m @Empty Nest Coach, if you want to tag me, and I will say, “Hi.” If you have a question you would like me to answer on the podcast, you may submit it in my Empty Nest Flock Community forum or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is where I’ll have listener feedback, and I’m in such an early stage, I really don’t have too much going on, so I’m going to save the other one that I have currently, for my next episode. Please, if you are listening to this on Apple podcast, please take a moment to review and I will read it here. Thank you so much! Thank you so much for listening, and remember, you are amazing!
You are preparing for the empty nest ahead as your child(ren) prepares, heads off to, and experiences college.