After I Kept the Speech Therapist Waiting for Half an Hour

After I Kept the Speech Therapist Waiting for Half an Hour

Yesterday, at 4:29 I got a text message from my kids’ speech therapist asking why we hadn’t shown up for our 4 and 4:30 appointments.
What 4 and 4:30 appointments?!
Yes, I did remember setting up appointments. But for some reason, they weren’t on my calendar.
The speech therapist was rightfully upset. Her schedule was full, she would have seen other clients if she’d known we weren’t coming. And, since we were her final appointments of the day, she ended up waiting around when she could have already been on her way home.
So I went back and looked at my calendar, and figured out what had happened. A few weeks ago I had moved our appointments from an earlier day to yesterday so my two kids could go together. And later on, looking at the calendar while I was distracted on the phone, I had seen yesterday’s appointment and thought (with 1/8 of my distracted brain) that the new appointment was the one I’d canceled, so I crossed it out.
Anyway, you can imagine how I felt, and the kind of mental self-flagellation that ensued.
How could you have missed 2 appointments? Why did you cross out that appointment! What a scatter-brain you are! Hopelessly disorganized!”
And then the phone rang again. It was the speech therapist’s secretary. Calling to give me a piece of her mind.
Which led to more: Scatter-brained! Disorganized! Hopeless…
And then I caught myself.
And remembered one of my all-time favorite Rabbi Nivin workshops called: “The Belief Notebook,” in which every day we would write down a false belief we were having that had been triggered by a certain event. And then we would write down a true belief regarding the upsetting event to replace the false one.

During the workshop, I spent several months responding to my false beliefs with true beliefs morning after morning. And it made a huge difference, reducing my daily self-flagellation dramatically.
So this is what I did yesterday.
I thought of my disempowering false belief: “I am hopelessly scatter-brained and disorganized.”
And I thought of the trigger: Not taking my kids to their speech therapist appointments.
And I thought of a true belief: I am almost always on top of appointments. I show up more or less on time, and cancel at least 24 hours before if I can’t make it. But occasionally, as a person juggling a lot of schedules and information, there are mess-ups.
Ahh, that felt much better. True beliefs generally do.
Over the next few hours, I felt the false belief (“scatterbrain!”) bubbling up within me. But with a firm hand I replaced it with the true belief (You’re not scatterbrained, you’re just human).
Anyway, I wanted to share that with you, for the next time you start thinking stuff about you that isn’t true:)

20 comments

  1. Just think…if a mature adult who is so wise and experienced is made to feel miserably hopeless by a stranger with a sharp tongue,how must a young, vulnerable child feel like when he gets a tongue-lashing by the people in his life?
    We can’t protect our children from every negative experience, and it probably wouldn’t even be wise to do so, but we can help them become resilient by making sure not to be the one who does this to them, and bv telling them of our own such experiences, and how we overcame them.

  2. Roberta Carasso

    Chana Jenny I found this story very helpful. We all have moments when we forget or are too busy and are surprised how things work out. It just shows that the speech therapist as well as her patience need to cultivate more patience. The world has too much pressure now, so much to do and remember to do, as we are expected to do more and more in less time.

    Thank you for the story and how you turned it around,

    Chaya Rivka

  3. This was extremely helpful to me today-I am very grateful you shared this. I caught myself doing some negative self talk and I stopped and reminded myself-as you demonstrated- that what I was saying was not true, that I usually am the opposite, etc., and it completely transformed my mood! Thank you!

  4. thank you so much for sharing with us.

  5. My sympathy, Chana Jenny. It happens to all of us.
    Thank you, dear Mina, for what you wrote. Thank you. Yes.

  6. Good for you Jenny! I find organized, intelligent, ‘successful’ women are MUCH harder on themselves then say someone who would have missed that same appointment and thought nothing of it! Amazing how much works it takes to be ‘nice to ourselves’ as we are to others!
    Love your website…..even if it’s been a long time since I had babies!

  7. Wow its such a helpful tool, thanks for sharing!

  8. I heard from a childminder who has a lot of experience that if she visits a house that’s too neat she’s worried the parents put housework ahead of time with kids. I feel like a mum who never misses appointments or forget things may possibly be too focused on organisation over concentrating on her children. Of course it’s not good to make people wait and you should be mindful of their time but you can’t be perfect. Sounds like you are doing just fine 🙂

  9. I’ve also had the privilege of working on my false beliefs with rav nivin. A true gift. kol hakavod for reaching into your tool chest to access a helpful tool and stop the destructive chatter. That’s a great victory! Halavai that we can all reach within and use the inner wisdom we have to pull ourselves out of the darkness.

    • I second everything Yocheved wrote.
      I was also in a workshop (not Rabbi Nivin’s) that worked on mistaken beliefs. It was hard for me to see why my beliefs were mistaken. Took some time.
      Great you were able to identify the mistaken belief, and turn it around.

    • JewishMom

      amen:)

  10. Chana Jenny, what happens if a person actually *is* scatterbrained? Some of us are…meaning, what if you’re being sharply rebuked for a weakness that you actually DO have, as all of us do? What does Rabbi Nivin say about that?

    • JewishMom

      I think that when we switch a false belief to a true belief–even if the criticism is accurate–it brings it down to size, it makes it an issue that you can work on. Empowering vs. disempowering. For example, someone who is truly scatterbrained might say:
      false belief: this is the third appointment I’ve missed this week. I am a walking disaster! There is no hope!
      true belief: this is the third time I’ve missed an appointment this week. That is irresponsible. It would help me use google calendar, so I can get reminders on my phone.

  11. thank you for this post and all the wonderfully supportive comments!
    just this past shabbos i was sitting and feeling very sorry for myself. my internal dialogue kept telling me that i was losing my sense of “self” after all these years of being a wife and mother. I heard that little voice keep whispering that i was no longer a real “person” but just a robot that only gives and doesn’t get enough in return to validate my “self”….
    then i davened, and asked hshem to please send me a sign that i was worth something…
    soon after, i picked up a book that was lying around and read some nice stories extolling the virtues of a great rebbetzin and began to notice something. It seemed that every story contained the word: selfless to describe her wondrous deeds.
    and suddenly it hit me: by constantly giving of myself as a wife and mother, i am NOT being “erased”. I am being SELFLESS–which is a virtue.
    it took ONE WORD to turn around my negative thinking. just ONE WORD!
    thank you for the inspiration!!

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