I have decided in running my own business that I will no longer work on Mondays. This is in the interest of self care and avoiding the culturally sanctioned “dreaded Mondays.” I want my week to begin in the most peaceful, loving, and grateful state it can possibly be (and I realize the privilege in a decision like this).
Yesterday was a Monday. It was all things gorgeous: sunny, crisp and cool, falling leaves, and on and on. I decided to begin the day outside and go for a run (read: a walk/jog’ish). I bring my credit card (the 187 chapsticks in the house have all disappeared and I want to buy 12 more), my phone (running on a 30% battery), and a key.
I realize upon arriving home after the aforementioned walk/jog’ish that this was the wrong key. I am locked out. Again. This is the third time I have done this in the last 2 months.
Okay–So, there is a choice point here: I can 1) begin lamenting the fact that I am locked out, this is supposed to be my peaceful day, my food is inside, I don’t have the right clothes on for this, shame myself for locking myself out for a third f*cking time and then spiral down into my very own self-created dreaded Monday. Or, I can 2) attempt to MacGyver this situation on an empty and soon-to-be hungry stomach and attempt to hurl myself through the front window in the interest of “peace.” Or, 3) I can just go get some coffee and lunch with that card I brought to pick up 12 more chapsticks and continue to enjoy this weather until I figure something out.
I chose option #3.
In making this choice, I unknowingly charted the course of my day. Instead of stressing over a dying phone (now at 20%), I pick up the local paper and read something non-virtual. Rather than bullying me and my day by literally pushing myself through a window to make things go well, I remain open to what the day had planned for me. I took deep breaths, payed attention to the sunshine, looked in tiny shops in my neighborhood, made conversation with a beautiful bearded barista, walked longer, and stretched more.
Not to get all Pollyanna, but I had this thought: “how cool that I was locked out of the house and forced to find a new way to enjoy this day.”
We have a million choice points each day. In most situations, we have the opportunity to decide how we want to perceive what is happening. Traffic? Great! More time to list my gratitudes. Bridge is up? Perfect. I needed to finish my breakfast I rushed to make and now I can breathe. Car is dead? (This was last month) Awesome. I wanted to add more walking to my day and also try to use public transit a little more.
Take some time throughout your day to practice awareness of the many choice points you have along the way. Notice when they arise. And, take a moment to think through how you can make this seemingly stupid situation into a day that actually rocks.
Disappointment is painful. We have these expectations of ourselves, of life, of others…and then sometimes it all goes to sh*t. Things we had hoped would work out don’t and people we thought would be there aren’t. So many articles out there focus on how to manage disappointment, or what to do with friends that repeatedly disappoint…but what about if YOU are the chronic disappoint-er!?
Today I disappointed someone I care deeply about. And this feels nearly more painful in this moment than when I am on the receiving end of the news I don’t want to hear. I have let her down. And in all honesty, it is not the first time.
I have a couple of choices: One seems very familiar and includes the standard shame spiral I fall into which mangles and denigrates my own character and sense of self……a tempting option. The other is (well, there could be many, but for the purpose of this blog I am only naming one other) asking myself, was I kind? did I show up authentically? was I truthful? and if YES, allow her to feel what she needs to feel in the time she needs to feel it. And if NO, make that sh*t right and then allow her to feel what she needs to feel in the time she needs to feel it.
In this case (not all), I can safely answer YES to the aforementioned questions. I have been kind, forthcoming, and as honest as I can be about my situation and why I am making a decision that is disappointing for her. And with this, I will also hold that she is allowed to feel what she would like… even if it takes us awhile, if ever, to move through it.
Inevitably, to live life authentically we will have to disappoint. I have never met a person who can simultaneously play the people pleasing game AND live life authentically. In being yourself, you may not meet the expectations others had for you! <<Gasp! Sigh. Deep breaths…. >>And, with this shift in perspective, I can maybe work toward letting myself off of the metaphorical self-imposed hook of shame.
Dear reader (anyone? anyone?), where and with whom are you hooked? Can you shift your lens, offer yourself the grace and peace you deserve, and decide NOT to take another ride on the tilt-a-whirl of shame? Give it try. You may be impressed with yourself.
I have these times when I feel an undoubtable longing for connection. Here I am, sitting (somewhere) and wanting complete strangers to befriend me. Trying to be “cool enough” in my corner. Working on feeling a combination of interesting, confident, open, and appropriately aloof.
The city of Seattle is known for “the Seattle Freeze” and BRRRR…. I feel it. The “freeze” is known as this: you connect with a potential friend, someone you think is cool, and you GENUINELY feel like you’ve got a new bestie on the brink!
And then this happens: You text. No answer. You call….wait. Who calls anymore?
You think to yourself: What happened? What did I do? So, you try again.
Then, you may be met with something like this: “Oh sorry to not get back to you! I have been crazy at work and it’s hard for me to schedule anything. I’ll let you know when I’m available.”
You think, again: Oh, wow, we really connected and now they seem disinterested. I thought we would be buddies, I thought I had a new friend.
Here is why: people in this city are highly interesting AND highly busy. There are also A LOT of introverts (is this a generalization!? Absolutely!! And, I am still happy to make it)…those creatures (and I am one) who gain their energy by laying low and taking time to themselves.
So, what to do in the freeze? Tend to YOU first! Take care of you. Do things that make you feel good, energized, alive. Take yourself out to a drink or dinner if you can’t find someone–you deserve this! And, trust that in time you will find “YOUR PEOPLE.” Stay tuned for my friendship tier….it will be out soon! And, believe that the more open you are to possibility, the more people will be drawn to you. Sign up for activities you enjoy (for you first) and then maybe you can have a shared interest with someone new.
Friendship is out there. You can survive this freeze. Warmth and love will come.
Love to you,