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The Blooper Reel

Awake in bed, I consider my day. These are the moments I replay in my mind: 

  1. I forgot to include notes in my daughters’ lunch boxes on their first day of school, and I think of everyone else in their class opening love notes and my girls having only lunch.
  2. I planned on eating healthy – my husband even prepared salads for us both – but instead, I ate a cake pop and Frappuccino with whipped cream for lunch.
  3. Someone wrote me a nice email, and it has been three days and I still have not responded to say thank you.
  4. I was on a phone call this morning with a serious group of professionals and said, “Top of the morning to you!” in the worst British accent when someone said they were recently in London and there was awkward silence and no one laughed and now I’m not certain if that’s something they even say in London.
  5. Karen, a mom of a student in my daughter’s class, made a snide comment to me as she handed me a flier about a school event saying, “I know you aren’t able to come to many of these things since you are always so busy working but I’m sure your kids would like to have you there.”
  6. I made spaghetti for dinner and my husband, who is the usual dinner chef, thanked me and commented that it was so nice coming home to a meal that was ready. I heard it as, “I wish you would do this more often.”

Then I think about other people I interacted with during the day:

  1. My sister made sure to document the first day of school for her two boys with adorable chalkboard signs and told me she keeps the photos organized in a book to give them when they graduate from high school. She’s so organized.
  2. My husband ate his salad and also went to the gym over lunch and ran 10 miles. He’s so dedicated.
  3. My parents write thank you notes immediately for even the smallest thing. They express gratitude in a timely way. 
  4. The people on the conference call had such good ideas. They are smart.
  5. Karen had her hair perfectly styled and was wearing fancy heels and a designer dress while passing out the fliers at the girls’ school. She is so put together.
  6. My friend posted a photo of the dinner she made for her family and it looked like a Michelin-starred meal. She takes care of her family by making wonderful, fancy dinners. 

As we replay our days in our minds, why do we so often view ourselves as the stars of the blooper reel and see others shining in a highlight reel? We can never win when we are comparing our own shortcomings to others’ strengths. If we only look for our fumbles, we will certainly find them. If we look for our strengths, we can find those, too. My outlook begins with my next thought, and I’m going to make it a better one.

Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.