A lesson from my 4 year old self

(4 year old me)

When I was 4 years old I packed up my favourite Barbie dolls, got in the car with my dad and drove down to Washington State. I don’t remember where we went exactly but I remember a waiting area. What happened next was one of the most traumatic moments of my 4 year old life (minus the time I cartwheeled down our concrete steps and ended up falling and scraping MOST of my cheek off)…I left the building and no Barbies came with me. Okay, so yes they are Barbies and probably not that traumatic but they were my favourite. I am an only child and my toys  kept me company a lot of the time because we couldn’t bring real friends everywhere with us. I entertained myself for hours and let my imagination soar.

My mom reminded me of this story today as we spoke about how I was going to face a potential upcoming situation. Mom recounted this story and told me something that I had forgotten about. Apparently anytime anyone wanted to talk to me about these Barbies and what happened I would simply state “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Apparently 24 years later my Oma (Grandma) still uses that and talks about how she learned a very important lesson from 4 year old Michelle. When you’re faced with a situation, circumstance or life event that you don’t want to discuss with just anyone you don’t have to answer. “I don’t want to talk about it” simple words that hold a lot of power.

OF COURSE we do need to talk about things, we need to discuss, vent, cry, rejoice, holler, whatever…but other times we “just don’t want to talk about it” and that’s okay.

With Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, IM, Skype, etc etc we are all up in each others’ business and often don’t stop and think a) do they need to know this b) do I really need to know that. I’m just as guilty as anyone of wanting to make people feel included, or share what’s happening in my life but sometimes it’s just not appropriate to share.

Instead, in those moments, I will simply state, “thank you for asking, but I just don’t want to talk about it.”

No one is going to be offended, no one will think less of you…in fact, some people may be relieved because they only asked “how are you?” to be polite.

I’m going to listen to 4 year old Michelle, she was kind of cute and apparently knew something that 28 year old Michelle can forget…if you don’t want to talk about it…it’s okay.

Simple advice really.

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