I’ve been talking to friends lately about the power of positive thinking. I think I’m usually pretty good about staying positive, although it might be more that I’m just a good Goldfish Poodle: I’m not necessarily planning a ton of things, just being surprised and excited with whatever comes along.
But every now and then, I want something so much, that I’m scared to hope for it. I worry hope will make a fool of me, so it feels safer to just prepare for the worst instead. That way, if it doesn't work out, I won’t be crushed by disappointment. Instead I can be smug, like, “well I knew that wouldn’t work out! Duh! Pfft...”
Obviously, most of us know in our head that it’s better to think positively about a situation than to have that kind of attitude. That’s why athletes visualize wins before they start a game, and why people immediately correct someone for vocalizing a scary thought. “Don’t say you’re going to laugh until you pee your pants! That’ll make it happen!!”
But this idea didn't fully sink in for me until a few months ago, when I was having coffee with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. At some point we started talking about skiing, and she launched into a story about her brother.
Her brother had apparently hurt himself at some point and tore the ACL in one of his knees. And while he was still rehabbing that knee, he decides to go skiing anyway.
Men: it’s decisions like that, that make us females think your kind are simple creatures. Just sayin’.
So he’s skiing with Lynchie, my friend who is telling this story, and:
He falls. Right in front of Lynchie.
And tears the ACL in the other knee.
I mean… who saw that coming?
So they have to call their parents and tell them what happened, and after that, Lynchie is a little traumatized, as one might expect. So the next ski season – they try again.
And Lynchie is obviously skittish and her brother is like “what’s wrong with you?” And she sheepishly explains that she’s still a little scared from their last ski trip. “I just can’t stop thinking….I’m going to tear my ACL!”
And of course, her macho brother -
(who, incidentally, skied himself to the medics after last year’s incident. On two torn ACLs.)
Men: It’s things like this that make us females think you are simple…but also strong, attractive, intriguing creatures… so keep up the stupid hero stuff, it works....
-tells her she’s being silly. But says, “Ok. Why don’t you take a ski lesson then? That’ll get you feeling confident again, start you off slowly, then we can meet up later.”
So she agrees. “Yes, why would I tear my ACL just because my brother did?” And she takes a lesson.
And her first trip down the bunny hill during the lesson:
She falls and tears her ACL.
I know! Ridiculous!
So then they have to call their parents again and the parents immediately joke “well I hope you aren’t calling about another knee injury!” to which Lynchie has to reply “yeah, about that….”
So now, when I’m tempted to let my thoughts run wild and be as negative as I feel, I think of this story.
Hope might lead to disappointment, but fear can apparently snap ligaments.
I’ll take my chances with hope….