Pink Elephants

I was on vacation once with a friend in Seattle.  We rented a car, parked downtown, and walked around for the day.  When it came time to go back to our hotel room, we both looked at each other and simultaneously asked, “Where is the car parked?”

We had each assumed that the other had made note of the car’s location (which is a whole other lesson on personal responsibility, but I digress…)

So, we decided to trek around in the general location we thought the car was parked.  People would occasionally stop to ask if we needed help (as we looked really lost), but we were determined to find the car ourselves.  Finally, it started to get dark and we had to admit to ourselves that we had lost the car.  The next person stopped and asked if they could help.

Us: “Yes, we seem to have lost our car.”

Helpful Stranger: “Do you remember anything about where you parked it?”

Me: “Um, yeah, actually I remember something about a pink elephant…”

Helpful Stranger: *brief pause* “Well, there is a carwash about a block over that I think may have an elephant on the sign..” *slowly backs away and decides that’s all the information worth sharing with these crazy girls*

Sure enough, a block over there was a neon sign with a pink elephant blowing bubbles out its trunk.  Parked right across from it was the car.

There are many morals to this story, but the one I want to touch on here is the fact that it is easier to face a challenge head-on once you admit you are facing a challenge.  We couldn’t get help finding the car until we had admitted to ourselves that we couldn’t find it.

Admitting you have a challenge is the first step.

Just because something difficult comes up in your life doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong.  In fact, it actually gives you an opportunity to show off your mad coping skills to the world.  For example:

When faced with injury: “That’s an interesting message I’m getting there, how lucky that I am aware of this pain and know how to take it easy on myself and seek out modalities and people to help me to heal and deal with it.”

When faced with financial difficulty: “This money situation is making me worry.  I would like to feel more in control.  I’m happy I can make a plan/create a budget/talk to a planner/brainstorm ways to create financial stability.  This is a tough learning lesson but I am willing to figure out what created it and how to get out of it moving forward.”

When faced with insane holiday-crazed zombies at the mall: “Wow, these people are really stressed out and it’s starting to put me on edge as well.  It’s a good thing I know that I can take a few breaths and realize that just because they have all lost their minds, it doesn’t mean I have to go down that rabbit hole with them.”

Once you have identified the challenge, and figured out its effect on you, then you can go about finding a positive way to deal with it.  Some challenges are bigger than others, but you can always find a resource within you or around you to help you head yourself in a good direction.

What kind of challenges have you faced lately?  How have you been able to deal with them positively?  And the biggest question, have you given yourself credit for taking such awesome care of yourself?


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