I was 23 years old and in my first semester of graduate school. It was a couple of weeks before finals and I was grumpy! And, I had been for a few weeks.
My graduate assistantship sucked. My classes were a drag. And, I had lots of opinions about why - and I was sure that all of it was someone else's fault!
One afternoon while having a meeting with my supervisor, whom I greatly respected, I bitched, and whined, and groaned about everything!
She listened. And, I thought that she was going to commiserate with me.
But, when I was done, she kindly, but plainly said "Kim, if you are this unhappy, you need to make a change. Either leave school, or stay and figure out how to be happy."
It was like a splash of ice cold water.
I knew that she was right.
Tears welled up in my eyes. And, I remember saying "I know you are right. But, I can not think about that until my finals are over."
Her words stayed with me, and when I finished my finals I began to think about what she said. First I thought about leaving graduate school. And, I seriously considered it as an option, but, pretty quickly I knew that wanted to continue my studies.
So, then I thought, "OK, if I am staying, then how am I going to be happy?" I began to wonder what, precisely made me unhappy. I realized that there was a group of us graduate students who whined, moaned, and groaned about everything. We had lots of complaints, but offered no solutions. I had gotten sucked into a classic case of negative group think. And, my righteousness and indignant attitude was toxic to my soul. I knew that it needed to end!
When I returned to school at the beginning of the next semester, my supervisor and I discussed the situation. She helped me identify strategies for not being a part of negative conversations, while still maintaining friendships. She was so encouraging and supportive!
And because of her support, I consciously made a decision that I would no longer engage in these bitch sessions. I learned to say "I am sorry, but I am not interested in being a part of this conversation". And, I became proficient at walking away from negativity.
And, guess what?!!! I was happier!
It was the first time I really "got" that happiness is a choice!
And, this is a life lesson that I am SO incredibly grateful for!
So today, I am thankful for Anne - one of the best supervisors I have ever had!
THANK YOU ANNE!