Individuals receive guarantees once they begin the adult journey: Challenges will arise. How we meet the request to engage depends on what resiliency factors we have in our lives. We watched our parents and grandparents work without ceasing, and we by reason of personal experience, began life the same exact way. Without training to learn how to balance our lives, we usually rush ahead tackling life rather than accomplishing goals.
Telling ourselves even in the worst of times, hidden growth is going on is one way to trigger an attitude that will allow these companions to help us see life in a new way when the timing is right. ~Robert J. Wicks
If you looked at my life five years ago, you’d see more worry, stress, and fretting than you’d see if you followed my daily steps today.
My life in the past was encompassed by the next assignment due in my Bachelor’s program, looking at the leadership powerpoint presentations I needed to organize with live, online people, and the stresses of another needed surgery for my arm.
Our challenges become the stepping stones to success, if we allow them to shape us into stronger, resilient individuals.
One day, I realized I was barely making it through and decided to see the doctor. She helped me recognize the signs of depression and I began taking a medication for the time. It helped reduce the internal battles of self-doubt. While the time I used the medication helped, so did therapy. Speaking to a counselor all through my Bachelor’s and my Master’s helped me to grow into the clinician I am today.
When we walk the path we talk, we provide solid evidence for the tools and tactics we used to climb out of the pit. I believe the one foundation which has given me the best tools to connect with clients is the ability to acknowledge my personal struggle, to empathize with another’s pain, and to be willing to show transparency.
Without a genuine approach, we sound like brass clanging the wind without a steady beat. Our challenges become the stepping stones to success, if we allow them to shape us into stronger, resilient individuals.
- What did I do during the struggles to become successful?
- What measures success?
I believe the tiny, minute by minute choices were my stepping stones. Life doesn’t promise an easy path. We can find the places between the path where the light shines through and the move forward.
When I hit the wall, I know I have not taken care of myself. What do I mean by “hit the wall”? At times, I will feel like I can take on more than I think I can, and then I am exhausted. Little things begin to bother me: Dishes not done, trash full, or the extra request: Can you bring me a cup of coffee? are met with sighs, and an internal dialogue: “Can’t you see I am swamped? or Why am I the only one doing all of the work here?”
At the moment my brain recognizes negative self-talk is when I know I have overdone my limit. Lately, my limit is even less, so I am mindful of the margins around my time. My career is guiding people to catch the negative self-talk so they can reduce violence in their lives. One movement toward negativity is one step toward ‘losing it’ and hurting the ones we love.
Our vulnerability is as stake when we forget self-care routines. Negative self-talk is only one way to catch the spark between thought and feeling. There are other ways to do this: feel the body sensations before you self-talk.
- Do you feel tense in your shoulders?
- Is your stomach in knots?
- Does your leg tap excessively while you are ready or writing?
Everyone has a sensation, somewhere in their body before they give in to negative self-talk. It is empowering to find the sensation and then give yourself permission to feel.
I am giving myself space. An extra five minutes, not to write the last email, but to breathe, and the imagine my life calm and in balance. As I do this, I find I have more energy to tackle the small requests.
Photo by Vincent Guth on Unsplash
We need margins in our lives. Our children, grandchildren, partners, friends, and family need us to set margins so they know how to provide support and when to ask for help or to back off. Communication is essential to the person setting healthy margins (or in psychological terms: boundaries).
A margin is the space around your time. Just as a white document has a margin, sometimes a narrow one and at other times a simple 1 inch on all four sides gives the written word space. We need the 1 inch margin around our choices. We need time to make a good choices, instead of saying yes to every request. A time to plan a choice is essential to making ourselves successful and healthy.
Ask for help
Do you feel guilty asking for help? Do you wait until you are exhausted before you finally, finally give in to the suggested help requests? My thoughts on this concept, from experience: Don’t wait until you are sobbing to get the help you need.
State what you need, firmly, directly, and use tact. You’ll gain respect as well as support in the movement toward growth.
I’ve waited until I am exhausted and in tears before I demanded support. In reality, I could have asked before I got overwhelmed and the support would have been provided. In retrospect, I recall times I crashed and burned, ended up having arguments, and made statements I wish I hadn’t in the heated, exhausted moment. Regret isn’t worth the superman effect.
Keep a planner
Photo by Kasturi Roy on Unsplash
For the stay at home mother or father, a planner is essential. I neglected the planner for years, when now I cannot live without one. I was worn out and running back and forth because the parameters I had only included the music lessons I taught.
I was hectic in other areas, and ended up cutting corners (not eating, not enough water, and rushing to appointments).
You can imagine the tired mother I was, home-schooling my children, teaching others to play the violin, and maintaining my art, music, and feeding my family of six children.
My planner now goes with me in my purse. I purposely bought a cool Scruffy Dog satchel to hold my planner, phone, and important information. I do my best not to leave home without it. I even put the scheduled appointments in my phone calendar for Zoom meetings, music lessons, and my personal doctor appointments. I even set alarms to remind me of water, food, and rest.
Maybe to some this might be overkill. For me, however, its been the difference between feeling healthy and contentment rather than hectic and driving myself to the exhaustion point. Refueling my body is as essential as doing the best work with my clients.
As I shared my story, I wanted to give a boost to those starting out in 2021 as a new year of success. One day at a time is where the goals happen. Small steps toward a larger goal empowers you. Gathering forces to help you get where you want to be, as well as accepting hard days as ones to do less and self-care more. Say no to the unnecessary requests, and make your yes powerful and supportive of those who need you.
As I present live, Zoom meetings to over 28 clients three times a week, teach online music lessons (now only 4 students by choice), and writing a book, editing a workbook, and taking on the extra work to increase healthy eating and exercise, you’d see a happier, fulfilled me.
Our vulnerability is as stake when we forget self-care routines.
I struggled to learn to balance my life and now, as I continue to embrace the growth and challenges, I can say without a doubt I am at my best emotional self as 2021 begins. I could not have done anything like above without the journey I experienced over the past 10 years of life. I learned so much from the struggle. I used the struggles as stepping stones to a brighter future. My future is still looming ahead with a lighted path. I know what I need to keep doing, and as I share my journey, I will be reminded how valuable balance and self-care are as we all go forward.
~Just at thought by Pamela
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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