I’m not going to mince words. Aside from spending most of my spare waking hours crafting, I’ve been in something of a funk. A FUNK. It’s been pretty unpleasant for me and those who spend a fair amount of time in my company. But I learned something last week thanks to an interaction which I think it’s best to keep private but to say that I saw myself and the other person clearly in that little span of time. It took a while to sort it all out, but with the help of my trusted bodyworker and MFT, I eventually did. (I have some amazing support people in my life and I am very grateful to them all!) Here’s what I learned. I learned what my anxieties look and feel like. I learned a little bit more about what another person’s anxieties look like. And I stayed with myself enough to catch a glimpse of what it might feel like to operate apart from my anxieties in a stressful moment. Sort of like the first break in a great big wall of glass. And now I’m more eager than ever for the wall to fall.
The thing about this all is that I was able to flip my viewpoint on what happened just enough to entertain another possible approach. Generally when my buttons get pushed, I get upset and then I sort of stick my head down and just hope that the situation or the person will disappear. But of course it, or (s)he eventually comes around again and then I repeat my reactionary response. In sorting through the details of what happened I was able to see the precise points when our personal anxieties were expressed and those moments were the exact opposite of what I’d thought! Somehow that realization granted me enough space to view the entire situation differently and what a relief that was. I still have my anxieties, and no guarantee that if the exact situation replicated itself I would act differently. But I’ve had an insight that jives with all the little aphorisms that I’m always repeating to myself. And so I have some hope that perhaps I’ve made a little shift.
Perhaps today’s insight is an example of this shift. Given my funk of late, I’ve been decidedly unenthusiastic about the upcoming holiday celebrations. I know that I’m not alone in experiencing a lot of button pushing with holiday time. And yet in the past my enjoyment of the season always eclipsed my frustrations. This year is different, and I have been fantasizing about all sorts of ways to escape the reality of the holidays. Which is a pretty big indicator that I’m facing down a big mountain of personal anxieties. Which would explain my funk. Okay, we’re clear on that point moving on…
My point is that I’ve always been a “yes” person and while I see that plenty of people extol the virtues of becoming a “no” person, I have to say that I’m not convinced. For me being a “no” person would mean shutting the door on my anxieties and while that may offer me some short term relief, I’m pretty sure that they’ll be back. With a vengeance. No, I’d like to stay a “yes” person, but I’d like to be a yes person who actually enjoys it. And that means I’ve got to get crystal clear on when and where my anxieties are expressed. And then I’ve got to face them down and usher them out, in a kindly fashion of course.
Who knows what all this will do for me? But I do know one thing thanks to my realization earlier today: I’m approaching the once dreaded holiday events on my calendar with a new sense of purpose, namely having an express opportunity to face down what keeps me bound. That and I’ve finally gotten enough space inside my head to write something. Those two things together have made for a much merrier season already.