Day 59 – Anxiety Hurdles

Two days ago, I joined a weight loss program, and if that wasn’t enough, I challenged my anxiety by attending one of their meetings at a local church.  I felt I needed the accountability a group could provide; yet, my introverted self would much rather have participated in an incognito online program.

Now if you suffer from anxiety to any degree, perhaps you could understand that each step was difficult, and I have found for myself that to deal with anxiety when facing an unknown situation, the best thing for me to do is to break the challenge down into smaller steps…a series of hurdles to the finish line.

Each hurdle involves a choice…cut my losses and run or deep breath and stand firm. Admittedly, I have done both, but the longer I battle anxiety, the more I find a feeling of regret accompanies a decision to run…except from social functions.  I have very rarely experienced regret when fleeing from a party social situation where I know no one, and another reason I have given myself permission to attend no more of these types of functions, but I digress.

Each hurdle faced also involves a personal check-in and a pep talk.  How am I feeling right now?  You’re doing great.  Just see what happens.  You can go at any time.

Here’s my hurdles broken down.  A glimpse into my anxious self with rating as to anxiety level.

Hurdle One:  Finding the location and parking – mild.

Hurdle Two:  Getting out of the car – high.

Hurdle Three:  Asking a Bible study group where the meeting was held – high.

Hurdle Four:  Entering the door to find a huge lineup of women waiting to be weighed and greeted by the organizer – high.

Hurdle Five:  Getting weighed – moderate and shocking.

Hurdle Six:  Finding a seat and attending meeting – moderate.

Hurdle Seven:  Answering when put on the spot as to why I joined…umm, jump-start modelling career? – moderate

Once I reach that finish line, I suffer from both exhilaration from facing my fears and also exhaustion.  It takes a lot of energy to be anxious…too bad that doesn’t translate to weight loss.

I could choose to be frustrated with myself that these things are so hard for me, yet not a big deal to so many others; however, I choose to be proud in these little accomplishments.  I think they translate into resilience currency, and I’m working on building up my reserves.

To all my fellow anxiety sufferers, a high-five if you challenged that anxiety a little today.  It’s not easy.

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Day 58 – Hypocritical Adulting

While my intention is not to use my blog as a platform for ranting, there is one issue which I am especially sensitive about…hypocritical adulting.

I realize that this is an imperfect world filled with imperfectly-perfect people; however, let’s own our imperfections and be authentically flawed rather than dumping the mantle of our insecurities on the younger humans in our care.  These inconsistencies are weakening our sphere of influence and impede our sharing of wisdom.

What does hypocritical adulting look like…this week?

  • Complaining about children and screen time online.
  • Posting quotes about how children need to be outside more in all weather from the comfort our plushy sofa.
  • Describing the younger generation as entitled, lazy and disrespectful.
  • Telling our youth to get good grades in order to get a good job and then complain to our spouse about the “good” job that is sucking our soul dry.
  • Lamenting bullying in our schools and then taking a photo of someone hogging two parking spots and posting it on Facebook.
  • Telling your child to pay attention and then looking at your phone while they are talking to you.

So let’s flip it…what would authentic adulting look like perhaps?

  • Sitting down next to your gamer child and letting them tell you what is absorbing their attention online without judgement after you have turned off the internet for the whole family for a few hours.
  • Getting yourself and your family out in nature.
  • Supporting our youth so they can be their amazing selves and giving them reasons to feel less anxious out in the world.
  • Encouraging all ages to challenge themselves and follow their interests while also following our own.
  • Demonstrating true power by owning our mistakes and moments of unkindness.
  • Listening truly to the real human in front of us…and putting down the damn phone.

Trust is earned when actions match words.  – Chris Butley

Day 57 – Freeze-Frame Memories

Recently, I had one of those days where you get to watch your teenagers step back in time a little, shake off the adult-to-be exteriors and be littles again.

The first moment which stands out poignantly clear was on a family holiday to Maui a couple of years ago.  My DH and I were able to watch our three teens allow themselves to be washed up on the beach by the waves and then run down the beach back to the water’s edge to do it all over again.  We sat there until it was dark, watching them run up and down, up and down, laughing and egging each other on.

The moment that happened the other day was watching them run sprint races in a local park on a beautiful sunny day.  I only had two teens with me at the time; however, what started as a school assignment quickly turned into silly, fun racing with me timing them to see if they could beat their own previous time.

Every time one of these moments happen, I tell myself to stop, enjoy and remember.  These are those moments that freeze time and bring joy and pain all in the same second.  On one hand you don’t know if that moment will ever come again or be quite as perfect and on the other you feel privileged to have another one of these memories to file away in your mental filing cabinet.

Yet in the joy and the pain, the same words run through my head…”I’m so lucky, I’m so lucky, I’m so lucky…”

Live for the moments you can’t put into words.

— Kid Roc

Day 56 – Frustration and Fire

Today, I felt frustrated because I just can’t seem to catch up with life.  There is a constant struggle between the things that I want to accomplish for me personally and other responsibilities that always seem to win out in the priority battle.

There are times where I just want to life to neaten up and get organized so that I can do some of my want to’s, instead of focusing on all the have to’s.

And then I remember, life is never neat and organized.  It’s always messy, unexpected and uncontrollable…it’s what makes life amazing.

Well, the medicine I required to bring me back into alignment was to complete something that I wanted to do and has been bugging me for a while.  For me today, it was a pile of confidential paperwork that needed to be burned, and let’s face it, there’s no denying the therapy of an outdoor fire.

Finding myself with a pocket of time while DS cooked dinner, I took advantage and built myself a fire.  At first, it was more smoke than flame.  A really great fire requires patience which I didn’t have and reaped the consequences of my impatience…a face full of smoke.  I then revamped the fire properly, burnt my paperwork and reveled in being outside in the sun getting something I wanted to get done completed.

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Photo by Marko Horvat on Unsplash

Sometimes, I have to remember when it feels like I don’t have time to get anything done just narrowing the list to one item and giving it priority creates better attitude for all the other responsibilities in my day and the days following.

Take time to do what makes your soul happy. – Unknown.

Day 55 – A Tribute to a Quiet Man

Last Saturday, the world lost a quiet man.  His loss didn’t cause the world to take notice or multitudes to mourn, but for those who knew and loved him, the loss was and continues to be felt deeply.

What defined this quiet man:

He was not demonstrably affectionate, but lived his love through his actions, working every day and providing his family with stability and security, particularly in times that were neither stable nor secure.

He did not use his time on earth to chase his own selfish form of personal happiness, but instead abided by his own value system of duty and responsibility.

He did not attract attention and never really even wanted it, but his influence was felt strong and lasting in those who had the honor to know him.

He did not enjoy talking much, but when he did, demonstrated a surprising quick wit and well-developed sense of humor; however when angry or serious, his words were all the more powerful for the silence between.

He lived simply with contentment in the little things.

He suffered bravely.

He was loyal in good times and bad.  He may not have known how to make things better, but he knew how to stay.

To know this quiet man is to understand the huge hole he has left in his passing and to be grateful for his legacy of values which lives on in those he left behind.

Thank you, quiet man, for the opportunity to know you.  Rest in peace.  You are missed.

 

 

Day 54 – Facing Insecurity in a Haircut

Today, I got a haircut.  For most people, this would be filed under one of the many errands they completed in a day.  For me, it’s another hurdle on the lifelong self-esteem triathlon.  In other words, it’s a big deal.

There are a variety of reasons I procrastinate on haircuts, and the one I’d like most to put forward is that I’m just not about the external.  The day allots us 24 hours to fill with all the things that are important to us, and I prefer to prioritize the internal development of my character.

Now if you believe that…don’t bother continuing to read.  Just go have a cup of tea and appreciate my evolved being.

Darn, you kept reading.  The real reason I dislike haircuts is the idea of sitting in a chair facing myself in a mirror for 30+ minutes bring out my insecurities.  The reflection of a face lined with a few more lines, plumper around the cheeks and multiplying chins (there is another one each time!) creates a feeling of low self-esteem that I prefer to avoid by not making eye contact with myself in a mirror unless absolutely necessary.

The other deterrent to haircuts is my introvertedness…making conversation with a hairstylist is exhausting.  If I get a chatty one, bonus!  I can listen and add one liners, but they carry the bulk of the conversational burden.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to hear their stories and love learning about another person’s life, I just don’t like the unpredictable nature…nothing to prepare for.

I did manage to luck out today though.  My stylist was chatty and an authentic soul, and we had a real soul-bearing conversation.  I actually started to get concerned that she wasn’t going to cut my hair at all as she stood chatting for a good 30 minutes before scissors even made contact.

The self-esteem thing on the other hand will continue to be a challenge.  I’m determined though to make peace with myself and most of the time I can achieve it by sheer avoidance, but a lady in her 40s needs to face her demons, get over herself and even elevate to the place of loving the reflection in the mirror no matter how many chins greet her.

In the spirit of continued self-growth, I did an online search for courses on self-love and found Loving Yourself by Louise Hay; however, I do not have $89 US to spend on a course in loving myself as I do not love an empty wallet.  So, my next alternative was to hit the library and order The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor.  I love the book cover.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

If you feel like sharing your self-love successes, I could use the help.

Note:  When I got home, my DS and DH both wondered where I had been and didn’t realize that I gotten my hair cut, so obviously not a big external change…good internal reflection though.

Day 53 – On Being Kindly Assertive

As per Wikipedia, the definition of assertive is the quality of being self-assured and confident without being aggressive.

Assertiveness is not one of my strongest characteristics.  Being an introvert, I would much rather avoid conflict altogether than become embroiled in any…unpleasantness.  Under stress, I am not the most eloquent speaker, so between stumbling on my words and hesitating speech, I do not present as someone who is self-assured or confident.  Underlying that is a vein of people pleasing which seems to get less important as I get older and learn that pleasing anyone other than myself is pretty much an impossible task and not my responsibility.

Once in a while though I have a day, an awesome day where I am able to challenge my fear of conflict, take a deep breath and meet issues head on.  Today was such a day.  I dealt with insurance issues, roofers, school-funding frustrations and contractors keeping my poise and in some cases resolving problems and in others not getting my way, but letting my opinion be known in a kind, yet direct way.

Funny enough, I’m okay with not getting my way for the most part which is weird.  Most of the time I measure success by achieving my objective.  Today, my measuring stick was different.  I achieved my objective just by stepping up, staying cool and being authentic.  I like the feeling of this measuring stick a lot better, more in my control.

So today, I’m feeling assured and confident.  Tomorrow might be different, but I’m all about basking in a good feeling while you have it.

What challenges, big or small, did you meet head on today?

Update:  I just learned that on the issue where I was direct and didn’t go my way, they are bending things to work as per my request.  Yah to kind, direct communication!