Last summer, my parents celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.
Fifty years of a happy marriage is definitely worth celebrating, so me and my fiancé Dave travelled to the UK to be there for their anniversary week.
My parents, sister, nieces and nephew live in different parts of England, so we decided to meet in a central location, Wales.
Everyone was very excited.
There was a slight glitch.
When Dave and I landed in Paris before catching our next flight to the UK, my suitcase didn’t arrive.
At the Air Canada help desk they didn’t know where it was. All my clothes and presents for my family seemed to have vanished.
Luckily, we had taken a photo of the suitcases before we left Canada (a good travel tip) so we showed the Air Canada representative what it looked like as well as the hotel address in Wales for it to be delivered.
We got to Wales, hugged my parents and checked into the lovely hotel.
That night while everyone else dressed up for dinner, I was still wearing my cut-off jeans and a t-shirt I had been wearing for days.
I was so happy to be with my family, yet I was in danger of letting my thoughts get in the way.
My mind was getting stuck in negative thought loops.
I kept thinking about how annoyed I was with Air Canada!
- How could they not put a suitcase on an airplane? Isn’t that a basic part of their job?
- I don’t see my parents very often, and now that I am here, I am spending lots of time on the phone with Air Canada trying to track down a suitcase.
And on and on.
I didn’t want the lost suitcase to dominate my holiday, but it was so hard to break this thought pattern.
Pearl of wisdom.
Then I remembered a pearl of wisdom. Instead of thinking
Why did this happen to me,
Why did this happen for me.
When I asked myself that, I immediately started to feel better.
I stopped feeling like a victim, continued to be proactive and started to look for the positive in the situation.
- My friends on Facebook were giving me helpful advice and contact numbers to try.
- The staff at the hotel gave incredible customer service.
- Dave was phoning on my behalf too, so we could minimize the time spent on the phone and more time with my family.
Finally, the suitcase was found in Paris and was going to be flown to Liverpool Airport.
This was good news, but I found myself in another negative loop.
- It says on the Air Canada website that if they misplace your luggage, they will deliver it to your final destination.
- Why aren’t they doing that?
- Why is my suitcase going to Liverpool? We didn’t fly to Liverpool Airport.
- This feels so unfair.
And on and on.
I asked myself again “why is this happening for me?”
And again, the negative thought loop was broken.
I started to see the positive in the situation.
- There was an incredibly helpful lady at the Liverpool Airport lost luggage department.
- It would arrive on an evening flight so the roads would be clear.
- My family would be in bed so I won’t miss any quality time with them.
Thoughts effect emotions
When I started to think better thoughts, I felt happier too.
After dinner (still wearing my cut-offs) and another fun evening with my family, the helpful lady at the Liverpool Airport lost luggage phoned to say my suitcase had arrived safely.
Dave and I drove to Liverpool John Lennon Airport (it only took about 90minutes). The airport was empty, and the nice lady wheeled my suitcase to me.
The rest of the week was full of positive surprises.
A year later with hindsight I realize the biggest benefit of the suitcase getting lost was me learning how powerful the approach of thinking why did this happen for me is.
It has helped me and all my clients too.
A powerful reset
Getting stuck in negative thought loops of what is happening now and fighting a barrage of past hurts and resentments is common when you have ADHD.
However! That simple phrase, “Why did this happen for me?” is a powerful reset.
It redirects your fast ADHD brain thinking in a different direction.
Rather than feeling like a victim or resentful, you start feeling empowered and look for the positives and ways that you grew (or can grow).
Test it out and let me know how you get on!