i realized that my last post was quite a while ago. blogging has not been my priority lately. we have been having some family struggles and we are doing our best to help, comfort and support. i know i’m being cryptic, but it’s not my story to tell.
however, i have been thinking a lot about how i interact with people. a long time ago, i was very much a pleaser. someone who put my own stuff on the back burner (or pushed it completely off the stove) in favor of other’s needs. i was super nice. always happy (actually, not at all) and willing to do whatever was asked of me. after going through my divorce nearly ten years ago, i
realized am realizing that i am much happier with myself if i adjust how i interact with others in my life.
a couple of the ways i have adjusted my thinking are listed below. and just to be clear, i am not writing this post to give any instructions because i have it all figured out. just the opposite; this is more a reflective post for me and maybe to give out a little encouragement during this time of year.
the worst case scenario: i will win the zombie apocalypse because i have a plan. i always have a plan for the worst case scenario. however, i am learning that i can’t continually let my mind travel to the far reaches of all the horrible things that can happen to my kids, my husband and my family or in my work. instead, i repeat the polish proverb: “not my circus, not my monkeys.” really, i am learning that there are things outside my control and i neither need to be nor should i worry about being in charge of those things. it gives me a moment to breathe and say, “is this really my problem?”
literally: i used to spend a lot of my time thinking that what people said to me was not really what they meant. i would replay conversations over and over in my head until i was not sleeping, like ever, and i was sure that person totally hated me. something like “i can’t meet up with you that day” would turn into “i have never ever liked being your friend and i can’t believe you haven’t figured that out yet and i wish you would never speak to me again.” messed up, right? finally, i was just too exhausted to deal with that anymore. during my divorce, i lost most of my friends. i have one that stuck with me and we are very close. she is amazing. but, in making new friends, i have learned to adjust my thinking. if someone says something to me, i believe them. maybe that’s naive, but it works for me. i will not be held hostage by trying to interpret someone else’s thoughts. and on the flip-side, i say what i mean. i don’t want anyone to have to guess. i have a few more really good friends now and there is no bullshit with us.
the holiday season always brings so much shit along with the cheer and wonder. families can sometimes be the most cruel because the normal societal rules don’t seem to apply. we often say the worst to the ones we love. we often turn our backs because we assume forgiveness will always be there. we crack and break under the stress of creating a perfect “holiday experience.” we expect more from others than we are willing to do ourselves. and, this is just awful, damaging and heartbreaking. i am certainly guilty of this, but i’m doing my best to change my thoughts, actions, expectations and behaviors.
during this holiday season, i challenge you to speak with kindness and intention. say plainly and clearly what you mean and expect that others will too. reach out to those who need comfort and compassion. give someone some help and maybe a break before they lose it. do not expect the moon without offering the stars. and remember, sometimes it’s not your circus and these are not your monkeys.
but if they are your monkeys, please ask them to refrain from throwing their shit.
image at top courtesy of the museum of the city of new york