Angela Dryden

Certified Life Coach

Lessons to be Learned from Our Days at the Playground

girl in yellow shirt riding blue plastic slide during daytime

“I just can’t, it’s their fault, why do I have to,” these are statements that I have said myself quite a few times, well actually many times, in my life. Each time I found myself thinking these things, feelings of defeat and hopelessness would come over me. Then I began to ask myself why am I choosing to believe these thoughts and what is the result in my life from believing these thoughts?

woman wearing black and white striped shirt

When I stand in my space believing I am justified in my actions, it could be coming from a place of not wanting to take responsibility.  If that is the case, that would mean that I am frustrated, sad, or hurt because of how I am responding and not because of what someone did or didn’t do, and that is hard for our ego and pride to here or even explore. By making the choice to be an observer of our thoughts and not a critic, we can start to unravel thoughts and look at it as data and not right or wrong, just information. Then we can take the first step to processing an emotion.

Here is an example I think most of us can relate to:

two women sitting on bench talking and watching people playing

It’s an elementary school yard and kids are out playing on recess. When we see a young girl, let’s call her Betty, saying mean things to another young girl, let’s call her Sally. Then the teacher would say, “now Betty, you hurt Sally’s feelings you need to say you are sorry.”

At a young age, unknown to us, we are taught that other people’s words make us feel a certain way. What I want to offer is we can explore as adults is that the words, and or actions of others, means nothing to us until we decide to make it mean something to us. This is probably one of the hardest things for us to explore and be open to processing. At one time or another, we might have heard the cliché, “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” The interesting thing is that even as we were saying that phrase, we most likely didn’t have the emotional capacity to truly understand it. 

people laughing and talking outside during daytime

As children we explore so many emotions. If we are not taught how to process the emotions caused by the words and/or actions of another we can get stuck in the blame game. Then, as adults, we find ourselves doing that throughout our life.  

Now, in the example I can be the teacher, Sally, or Betty, step back and explore where that thinking was coming from and look at that scenario objectively. Then in return view my own situation. Knowing that we have been in all sides of the equation can help us see things differently. I can relate to the teacher, Sally and Betty as I have been in all those shoes and I would guess you have to.

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