I don’t like feeling overwhelmed- and its something that I feel happens to me quite a lot. I readily admit, most times it is of my own making- but whether its my fault or not is slightly irrelevant at this point, because when you experience those episodes the blame game is usually totally counter-productive.
Usually it is the everyday things of life that I find more overwhelming- cleaning, washing, cooking, taking the dogs for a walk… very occasionally it might be because I have a lot on at work- but that is actually quite rare. It’s the ‘normal’ that can reduce me to tears- especially a mouldy fridge!
A few weeks a go I had a few precious hours with Sandra driving home, and we were talking about this. I am still meandering over two things she said, firstly, after 25 years of friendship she said she had never heard me articulate the reasons for my difficulties with the everyday stuff- and that knowing the background was helpful to her. And she was right. I don’t think I’ve really told people why- not because I haven’t wanted to- but I’ve never listened to myself long enough to fully understand myself or take those things in to account. She reflected back to me that she could understand a bit more why I was like I was… I was really surprised…. to me the reasons for my problems are usually totally irrelevant… I always have a get a grip kind of attitude to myself and just get on with it. The problem is, that attitude can only get me so far. Most of the time I can bully myself in to action- but there are times when the overwhelm is so great that I can’t muster the inner drive to push through. It keeps coming back to kindness.
Now, granted, Sandra is one of lifes particularly kind people- she is just one of those lovely, generous people who is just so accepting and patient… but in those moments I realise that being like that is so much more pleasant than being a bitch to myself. She validated me. She wasn’t pandering to my weakness, she wasn’t excusing my tardiness… she just said she understood a bit clearer why I was sometimes the way I was.
And I want to offer myself that gift. Instead of berating. Or shaming. Or cussing myself. I want to show a little of Sandra’s love to myself. It is so much more lovely. Thank you Sandra for modelling that to me.
But the other extremely practical thing she said, has really helped! We talked about, thinking about things as a whole- for example, cooking a meal- I have to get psyched up for a) shopping for the food, b) preparing the meal, c) eating the meal and d) then clearing up the kitchen. In my brain I psyche myself up for 4 different elements, and usually, I’ve given up after point 3- and it could be days before I clear up. Sandra just suggested- making all four parts- one. And it has really helped!
I make breakfast and I put the marge back in the fridge. Done. Finit. Finished. I put the plate in the dishwasher- dude, complete.
Doing the washing- putting clothes in the washing basket, putting in the machine, doing the wash,hanging up and then putting away are all part of doing the laundry. They are not separate jobs they are part of the one. It’s helped me a lot. It’s an acceptance of the situation. It is what it is.
Once again, I come back to kindness and acceptance. They’re not going away- I just need to dive in.
Thanks for listening.