What Would Snow White Do?

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Again, nothing baby related here. I’ll share how the doctor appointment goes as soon as possible, but that’s not until Thursday. (And in case you’re wondering, yes, I’m nervous. Mostly trying not to think about it. Pretty sure that’s not unhealthy repression, just a rational response since there is literally nothing I can do in the meantime.)

Also, quick warning, this might have spoilers for the show Once Upon A Time in it. I’m only a couple episodes into season 2 though, and they’re already on season 3, so probably not many. And if you comment, don’t post any spoilers for me!

So now that you’re probably thoroughly confused, let us proceed to the actual post here. I’ve been watching Once Upon A Time (obviously), and it struck me how much I wished I were more like Snow White, even though so many times I find myself acting more like she did after she took the potion to forget Charming. (For those who don’t watch it, the potion took away her love, which made her mean and selfish and lacking in empathy, and basically the antithesis of who Snow White is. (Also, the show is based more or less on the Disney versions of the stories, so Snow White is genearlly the happy, sweet person she is in the Disney movie.)) And while I’m not religious, it brings to mind Phillipians 4:8- “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” I think I’ve let myself spend too much time dwelling on the negative, instead of the positive, excellent and praiseworthy things. I don’t really know if this is a recent thing or more of an on-going thing that’s gotten worse of late, though I’m inclined to think it’s the latter. And I don’t mean sitting around being sad/mad about the baby issues. I just mean that habit of reacting negatively to things. Of getting annoyed at the person in the grocery line who is taking forever, and sitting there fuming. Or having to deal with someone who makes you mad, and instead of moving on, holding on to it and telling everyone you can think of about how stupid they were. Just being negative.

And I don’t want to be like that. I want to be like Snow. When she was imprisoned along with Grumpy, and he was escaping without bothering to offer to unlock her cell as well, she didn’t get angry at him. She wished him good luck. When the huntsman was about to kill her on the queen’s orders, she wrote a letter to the queen saying she forgave her. And in the Disney movie, when she was forced to leave her home, threatened with death, stuck cooking and cleaning for a house full of dwarves, she was able to find joy in her circumstances. Which is not to say she was weak, she was actually pretty badass, sword fighting and all that. She knew when true, righteous anger was a valid reaction. But she didn’t let it control her, and it wasn’t her default reaction.

You can’t really change your reactions directly. Reacting is what you do immediately, before you have time to think about it. You have to change your thought habits first. So that’s what I’m working on. It’s interesting really. Here’s an example from this morning. The light to leave our subdivision is on a sensor, so it never changes if there’s no one trying to leave. This is a good thing, but it used to be the case (I don’t know if it still is) that if you pulled up past the crosswalk, instead of waiting behind the line like you’re supposed to, the sensor wouldn’t register that you were there and the light would never change. Now I’m a rule follower by nature, and more to the point, I want everyone else to follow the rules too. I get pretty irritated when people don’t. So I used to like that that sensor would essentially punish people who didn’t follow the rules, and I never wanted to pull up to the light when someone was waiting past the line because my car could trigger the sensor for them. This morning I came up to the light while someone was waiting past the line, and my first reaction was to be irritated at them, and to hope the sensor still worked the same as it used to, and that my car wouldn’t trip it to help them. And then I realized how much that wasn’t the reaction I wanted to have. It’s so not my place to want to police the world, and I should want to help that person. Not to mention that seeing my car trigger the sensor might help them realize their mistake. I should be hoping that I could make the light change for them, not hoping they’d be stuck sitting there for who knows how long. And on top of it simply being the kinder attitude, it’s probably safer in the long run. I’ve seen people run red lights when they seemed like something was wrong and they weren’t going to change. So I had a choice. I could avoid the light (there’s a way around), possibly leaving them to their “punishment” of being stuck, and gloat about it and how I helped teach them a lesson. Or I could help them. Which one of those is really the person I want to be?

My book, the Dharma of Star Wars, has a bit on reactions as well, and how they’re an opportunity for introspection. The example used there was the anger and frustration we feel when waiting in a long line. We should take a moment to consider why it makes us angry. Perhaps we’ve allowed our schedule to be overbooked, so delays are difficult to handle. Maybe we just need to work on accepting that sometimes waiting in line is just what life *is* and to accept it as an opportunity to work on simply enjoying just being, even if we’re not doing something we think is fun or important. I’ve been working on this, and it’s helpful. When I can see that I got annoyed at Christopher for asking me to do something because I felt guilty that I hadn’t already done it, it can help me to choose not to be annoyed (and to plan better next time if I feel like it’s something I really should have had done).

I can’t promise that next time you see me I’ll be all sweetness and light and whistling while I work and playing with blue birds and bunnies. But I can promise that I’m trying, and if I act more like Grumpy than Snow please try to give me some grace as well. 🙂

 

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