Back in November, I was in my first decent-sized car accident. The other guy was fine, I was fine, but our cars were a mess. My dad came over that night, helped deem my car undriveable, and left me his car to drive until mine was fixed. The next morning, I had to take my son to school. I found myself to be pretty nervous about driving. Especially in my dad’s car. I didn’t want to mess up his car too!
In counseling, there is an idea of exceptions. When life happens, we tend to focus on the bad things that happen. The bad things seem big, important, daunting, and scary, and so they stick out to us. But often, these things are the exception. Instead of focusing on the bad thing that happened one time and letting it control us, it can be helpful to look at it as an exception. What happened every other time the bad thing wasn’t present or happening? When were things going well? What did it look like when the bad thing wasn’t around yet?
That next morning after my accident, I was anxious about driving. I was just sure that I was going to get in another accident! But on the way to my son’s school, I found myself thinking about the idea of exceptions. I had been a good driver for 25-years with no accidents! This accident wasn’t even my fault! I found myself laughing and relieved once I realized that I didn’t have to focus on those few seconds of the accident. Yes, it was going to be a royal pain to get the car fixed, but the accident was an exception. I didn’t have to be afraid. I could choose to see it for what it was.
What are things that you focus on maybe too much in life that might be exceptions? Would it help to look at them as exceptions? How likely is it that it will happen again?
I hope this idea helps. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!