BUT IT COULD ALSO BE BETTER….
First off, let’s talk about what is going on right now in the world? It could be worse, but it could also be better. I’m an extrovert through and through so this whole stay home thing is having more of an effect on me than I originally thought it ever would.
I had a conversation with a friend about how I feel like a phony. For the Seinfeld fans out there… like when Mike Moffitt tells Kramer that Jerry Seinfeld is a phony? YEP, THIS! Consequently, I have been training for situations like this for the last year. To be a coach. Trained to change mindset. Furthermore, to know how to deal with personal controversy and shift not only a client’s energy, but my own as well.
On the other hand, here we are. For the last few weeks, I have sucked. Particularly when it comes to patience, which I have had zero. Last week’s two days of E-Learning can SUCK IT. You may be sitting there thinking, “yes Heather, but there are 5 days in the week, so 2 isn’t THAT bad.” Subsequently I will tell you, we technically only had 3 days of E-Learning last week. In short, blowing up 2 out of 3 days is not a great batting average.
The texts I sent to some of the other parents when the Zoom link didn’t work were downright terrible. Make a sailor blush kind of language and I didn’t give a s***. So frustrating. I am a college educated, in the work force for 20+ years person and this shouldn’t be this complicated kind of exhaustion and pissed off-ed-ness…. I’m fully aware this is not proper English, let alone writing etiquette. But for the Love of Sweet Jesus, who is with me???
In spite of this, I took time to reflect on where these emotions, such as the anger, were coming from. To summarize, I think we’re all hesitant to say just how truly frustrating all of this is because it could be so much worse. Correct, it could be worse, but it could also be better. I mean…. We’re not sending our kids off to war and standing helplessly by. Nope. And for God’s sake I’m not comparing having to stay quarantined in my beautiful home with my healthy children, fun-loving husband, plenty of food, and amenities beyond my own comprehension to THAT. Abso-frickin’-lutely not.
Nor am I comparing my own cushy situation to a single parent family not knowing how on Earth they are going to get by another day of juggling on their own. Or the family not sure where the next meal is going to come from without school to take the strain off of two meals in a day. Nope, not that either.
In our effort to fully acknowledge we could have it SOOOOO much worse, I think we’re forgetting something. And here it is. It is OKAY to get frustrated about the current situation and ACKNOWLEDGE it.
Yep, I promise. It is. Me saying I am frustrated as HELL with Class DoJo and Canvas and Lexia and DreamBox and… and… all of the zillion other programs we’re trying to keep straight in a day, not to mention our routine being flipped upside down and it sucks, is absolutely okay. This does not make me uncompassionate about others dealing with their own frustrations. Acknowledgement of the frustrating moments or the various emotions we’re feeling actually supports us in moving through them.
ACKNOWLEDGING IT COULD BE WORSE
Admittedly, this is what has been keeping me up at night. It should be noted, sleep has never been an issue for me. For this reason, when I started to have these sleepless nights it was definitely time to reflect. In this case, sleeplessness had very little to do with the state of the world. Sure, I’m worried about the world, but in general I have a very “this too shall pass” attitude. Always have.
I broke this down for myself and asked the tough question. Why am I in such a funk about this and so frustrated?? The answer definitely surprised me in a lot of ways. Guilt. Guilt over feeling I didn’t have the right to be frustrated. Even guilt over being frustrated with my own children, husband, school, routine disruption, all the things going on right now when in my heart of hearts, I know there are others who have it so much worse.
This is where “phony” really started to set in. I spend a lot of my days now listening to people. In general, I listen to people and regurgitate back to them what they said to me so they can listen to themselves. And when this happens, there is an epiphany. True story. I may have just given away the secret of coaching!! Moreover, here’s the even crazier part…. Coaching will always be around because people in general don’t listen. ESPECIALLY to themselves. For this example, case in point…. Me.
You phony… you can’t even get your own mindset right about this. How can you REALLY support others in doing so?
I feel as though I have the tools and mechanisms to support people in shifting mindset, setting goals, and working through their blocks. With a number of my clients right now, we talk through how they feel about things going on in the world. Shifting their mindset from a negative outlook to one of opportunity and focusing on where they DO have choices. Despite the positive mindset, we are not shoving the worry and anxiety of things going on in the world down deep… that does no good. Alternatively, we look to acknowledge the feeling, decide what is within our control about the situation, and then create action. All while setting the anxiety and worry on the shelf, not shoved in a closet.
While I coach on this, in the same way, I was not even listening to myself. I literally sucked at listening for the last week. To be fair, probably longer because in some ways the thoughts and feelings on the current state of affairs were just shoved down and masked with positivity. Last but not least, when the true feelings came out, they did so with the vengeance of Medusa caused by a 5th grade class Zoom call fail.
And if you were anywhere near my office last Wednesday….. #$%^&*$%^&*%^&*%^&* is basically what you heard every ten minutes or so. I hope you are laughing, and this is resonating with you in an “OH MY GOSH, ME TOO” way.
Optimism isn’t believing nothing bad will happen. It’s about believing in your ability to handle it when it does. – Mel Robbins
FINDING PEACE- YOUR VERSION
With this in mind, what CAN we do about these frustrating moments? It’s important to me to give you take-aways. Truth be told though; you should take these and make a version that works for you. I’ll give you thoughts, but each scenario is unique. As a result, I encourage you to use this as a launching pad to think about what YOU want during this time.
I’m kidding! This was to see if you were still paying attention. Of course, we want to have patience!! However, telling someone to have patience when they are in the middle of an E-Learning lesson with a child scrolling UP and DOWN, UP and DOWN while they try to read the instructions – well, it’s going to go over like a turd in a punchbowl. Just ask my husband, he’s still licking his wounds. Do your personal best. And if personal best in a moment means walking away or giving them a smack over the head…. So be it.
Reflect on what you need.
Take a few minutes to reflect on what you desire or need in a day. Do you crave 30 minutes of alone time? How can you make this happen? Take a walk. Put in earbuds with loud music and close yourself in the bathroom. Make everyone go to bed 30 minutes earlier.
What does this look like for you and what is one small action step you can implement to get there? It should be noted, make these small steps. As humans, we don’t typically go from couch potato to marathon runner in a week. In this same manner, set your mini goal up with success in mind.
EXPECTATIONS AND GRACE
Re-set your expectations.
A lot of the women I’ve talked to over the last month had one interesting thing in common. There is this overwhelming urge to ACHIEVE during this time. Easy there sister. You may not have a commute right now or your work may have slowed. In spite of this, you have the added pieces of facilitating schoolwork from your kids’ teachers, making meals and 35 snacks in a day, maybe sleeping in a little bit, probably utilizing some time to play more games or have more family fun. I’m the QUEEN of projects so believe me, I get it.
However, know there are some intangibles right now you may overlook as things taking up time. In turn, give yourself space and level set your expectation on all the “should be doings” with what you actually want to do with this time.
There will be bad days. The biggest take-away for me through this last month is being okay with a bad day. I don’t have to feel guilt over being frustrated or losing my cool as long as I’m trying. My frustrated feelings do not diminish the real problems of the world, but rather make me human. Give yourself grace when it comes to your thoughts and feelings. Not only grace, but acknowledge them.
IT COULD BE WORSE, BUT IT COULD ALSO BE BETTER
This too shall pass and it hasn’t been all bad. In fact, I’ve had some really surprisingly fun moments with my family throughout. So much so, I want to figure out a way to have more of those moments when we go back to a normal existence.
In summary, I leave you with this challenge. With the benefit of hindsight, think of one thing you will NOT be adding back into your normal when the world opens up again. It’s amazing to think about what we enjoy not being a part of our day-to-day right now. Why add it back in? Likewise, think of one thing you WILL add into your new normal which was a nice surprise coming out of your mandated staycation?
Stay safe, stay sane, and support each other!
Some days, doing ‘the best we can’ may still fall short of what we would like to be able to do, but life isn’t perfect – on any front – and doing what we can with what we have is the most we should expect of ourselves or anyone else. – Mister Rogers
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