The Musings of an Elective Orphan

Sarah Brandis

Be the Bobo Doll

Sitting in the bathtub with a cheeky glass of wine is where I do a lot of my deep thinking.  It’s what passes as my own version of mindfulness, when I am being too hectic to try and meditate properly.  In my nice hot bath, at first I was mindful of all the little anxieties in my mind, and then this strange yet positive thought came from nowhere.  Nope, scrap that, it came from somewhere.  Just not a place that I can define.  ‘When life is punching you in the face, be the Bobo Doll!’  I have no idea why I remembered Bandura’s social psychology experiment at that precise moment, but I did.  And it occurred to me that as much as the idea of social learning theory teaching children violence and aggression is terrifying, there was a hidden message in the Bobo Dolls.  If you don’t know the experiment then start here.

Exhibit A - my new role model!

Exhibit A – my new role model!

The wider field of psychology may have missed a trick here!  We are all so focussed on the negative, the aggressive kids, that we have failed to step back and look at the Bobo Doll.  He bounces right back in the face of adversity every time he is punched, and he does so because he is well grounded.  Well, he has something heavy at the bottom, and has no human feelings etc.  But whatever, there is still a message there.  It led me to thinking that I would like to be more like the Bobo Doll.  When the world slaps me across the chops, I want to be grounded enough to bounce right back up again – maybe even with a silly grin, see exhibit A.

I’m a trainee life coach, and perhaps it is my coach training that has taught me to take a step back from the situation, and to examine the bigger picture.  This is when you not only see what you were missing when you focussed on just one part of the picture, but you also realise how much smaller that part of the picture now looks.

So in a ‘life-punching-me-in-the-face’ kind of situation, the smaller mindset is to lace up my boxing gloves.  The bigger mind set would be to ask myself why I would willingly climb into the boxing ring in the first place.  All in all, that was a pretty productive bath.



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