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  • Catherine Tidd

Playing the Hand We're Dealt





I was listening to Brene Brown's interview with Emmanuel Acho on the benefits of being illogical when something he said stuck with me:


"So often, we try to play the hand we wish we had instead of the hand we are dealt."

I know I've fallen into that trap myself many times in my life; here's one that recently came up in a therapy session.


In my last blog on the mistake of changing who we are in order to get a potential new partner to like us, I discuss how I did the same thing - not only when I was dating my husband but after he died as well. When he was suddenly gone, I was MANIC. I wanted to get this show on the road without a blip. I didn't want to grieve. I didn't want to be on my own. I wanted what I had.


In other words, I wanted to play the hand I'd had before he passed - the one I wished I still had - rather than the one I'd been dealt.


This could have been catastrophic. I dated several nice men and more than a few not-so-nice ones. I did everything I could to be what they wanted because - ultimately - that was the goal: to be wanted.


It took me years to play the hand I was dealt - and it wasn't like it was smooth sailing from there. It took me years to figure out how to do it. I had to grieve. I had to accept. I had to learn who I was without someone else - a position I never thought I'd be in. But I'm here now. I'm playing that hand. And it feels good.


I have a stack of oracle cards on my desk that I occasionally pull from (usually when I'm waiting for my computer to boot up). This morning the oracle card was "Take No Offense" and was about grudges and perceived slights. What I found particularly eye-opening is replacing the question, "How dare they do this to me?" with "Why is this happening? What can I learn from this?"


The reason I bring this up is because one question (the first) makes you a victim and keeps you trapped while the second allows you to learn from the experience.


I don't know about you, but I don't want to be a victim in my own life. I certainly don't want to victimize myself (if that makes any sense)! I want to play the hand I've been dealt even when it's hard. There are lessons to be learned, growth to experience.


And who knows? I might have a winning hand after all.

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