Life’s all about your mindset.
I’ve been giving that a bit more thought than usual lately, as I reflect on my reaction to things as well as other situations.
I also find it helpful to be surrounded with people who may get this or at minimum be open to listening when you recognize your space for improvement.
Case in point … I’ll just use myself as an example. I tend to be a reactionary person. I also tend to be a people pleaser, as well as direct and outspoken. See there may be a problem here?
Prior to becoming a writer I worked in a very fast paced, high stress industry; time was indeed money and entering this industry at a young age definitely formed much of my professional (as well as personal) habits.
Fast forward to 10 years ago and through much time and practice I learned to tame this beast and become, well a more kinder, gentler beast via yoga and meditation. Through continued practice, in a group setting, I reflected on behaviors as well as habits which were not only unbecoming but unnecessary.
As 2021 began rounding out and a few speed bumps were thrown in the way of our family, I quickly recognized a return to this behavior. I also noticed a new habit which was, often times, leading in conversation with the negative.
Now I can already hear a few out there who know me personally saying, ‘T, there’s no way. That’s not you.’
For the most part … they would be right. Yet what I found was when speaking with my family and close friends about given situations, rather than lead with something favorable, I found myself going backwards. Beginning my response with something not so great and in time turning it to the more positive spin.
In addition, I also noticed this as a behavior of someone close to me, as well as something which was being picked up and mimicked by my daughter.
As most parents will testify, seeing yourself in your children can be a nice big slap of reality. Sometimes it can be cool, however I tend to be the one to see the red flags, the oh no’s, the don’t start that habit behavior.
So as I recognized my daughter beginning to mimic something I had also picked up, I huddled up with her for a moment and talked her through my personal challenge.
Putting the attention on myself and how I had caught myself doing this was the easiest and perhaps, more responsible approach. Talking it through we both acknowledged how it felt to be on the other side of a conversation with someone leading from the negative. We also agreed to be more mindful, as well as thoughtful when engaging in conversation.
The reactionary me is one which I recognize is just as important to tame as the other item mentioned. What I’ve learned about being reactionary is it tends to lead to an unhealthy anxiety or anxiousness of sort and all are truly unnecessary.
This of course may and often times does stem from control, which for those of you who haven’t learned this already, it’s an exhausting way to live. Cancer taught me that. I thought divorce did, but nope, a cancer diagnosis at my healthiest time in life is a great punch to the gut, as well as good laugh.
Recently slipping into this behavior, I had a great talk over coffee with my guy about it. Professionally speaking he can (at times) be the same, however more times than not, especially with something important, he tends to be the more thoughtful one.
What I learned during our conversation is that open acknowledgement of this struggle was beneficial to both of us. He appreciating my acknowledgment of needing to take a breath every now and again and me appreciating him simply listening.
So what’s the point of all of this, really?
Well it’s actually quite simple and for some maybe a bit messy.
None of us are perfect. We each have flaws. Some spend their lives deflecting onto others, refusing responsibility to continue the facade of perfection which they may deem important. How exhausting.
My hope, is that in this simple moment of ownership and transparency, one or two of you may find comfort, perhaps even a “me too!”
Now as we move into this next year, let’s show ourselves the same grace we afford to others. Pause in more moments than not and simply embrace all that makes us messy, for when the day is done if we aren’t loving on ourselves how can we possibly do that authentically for others?
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.