From the moment I begin to hear the music, smell the distinctive scent of Disney water, and feel the warm California breeze on my face, I feel at home. Disneyland is one of my happy places. On our most recent trip, I realized something I hope to carry with me for the rest of my life.
On the second day of our trip, my husband and boys decided to ride on Pixar Pal-Around. Not being a fan of even normal ferris wheels, I decided to take my girls over to Goofy’s Sky School. As the girls and I were waiting in line, I felt myself beginning to be bothered by other people in line. The group in front of us let several people cut the line to join them. Some teenagers weren’t using appropriate language. Others couldn’t stop playing games on their phones. I felt my body start to tense and my joy start to dissipate.
And then I had a life changing realization – being grumpy and upset wouldn’t change their behaviors. As I stood there, I recognized that the only people that would be affected by my anger and frustration would be me and my girls. Our frustration, anger, and passive-aggressive inner monologue only changes US.
The teenagers who wanted to waste their day at Disneyland by being on their phone were going to play Bubble Pop whether I was upset about it or not. The group in front of me who cut the line was still going to be in front of us regardless of whether or not it bothered me. The only thing being grouchy and upset was going to accomplish was ruining OUR experience.
Our feelings don’t have the power to control the behaviors or feelings of other people. However, our frustrations, irritations, and anger DO have the power to steal our moments. I decided right then and there that I wasn’t going to allow things outside of my control to control my experience.
The girls and I ended up talking, laughing, playing games, and just enjoying each other’s company as we waited. A few days later, I asked the kids what their favorite “non-ride” experience was at Disneyland. BOTH of my girls mentioned waiting in line for Goofy’s Sky School.
Our attitude has power. We cannot continue to allow things outside of our control to control us. Two things always in our control are our attitude and our response. We get to choose.
The next time you find yourself in a situation that would normally irritate you or cause you to be passive-aggressive, ask yourself what your frustration would change. Will it make the traffic jam disappear? Will it make the lady filling out the check at the grocery store suddenly have a debit card? There would still be gridlock. The woman would still be writing the check. But you? You’d have changed.
Our irritations and frustrations over things not within our control only ruin OUR day – steal OUR moments. The other people carry on, but our bad mood now lingers – seeping into the other parts of our day – often affecting our closest relationships.
Since the day my girls told me that line was one of their favorite experiences (beating out meeting some of their favorite characters and eating Disney snacks!), I’ve realized how incredibly powerful it is that we get the ability to CHOOSE our response to difficult situations. We can choose to show grace and kindness to the cashier. We can compassionately empathize with the woman carrying the screaming toddler. When traffic slows, we can crank up the music and have a dance party in the car. It’s always a choice.
The next time you feel frustration starting to creep in over something outside of your control – choose. We can choose to get upset or choose not to be bothered. The situation won’t change – but we will, so choose wisely.