This is the continuation of my previous post: Learn to be happy – and to share your happiness! It is OK…
But truth be told it wasn’t all Luther’s fault. I was too busy being happy as well. I didn’t need to write to process issues or struggles, or to stay happy/calm/sane. But I missed it. Because I do love writing and it is my dream to be able to make a living out of writing, once I retire from my “day career” and the crazy world of IT.
I had so much going on from February and onward that I didn’t really have time. I was traveling for work and family and work was getting a lot more interesting and inspiring (thus busy!). I got to go back home (to Stockholm) which is the one city that will make me cry, just seeing a picture from there. I got to see my Mum and support here in one of her most difficult phases in life – which she passed with flying colours and made me so proud of her by the way. And so happy! I was dating again and got a couple of romantic getaways in, in-between all of this. And then I was off to Thailand again, at the end of March, to visit and meet up with some great friends that I have not seen nearly often enough over the last few years. I spent more and more time with family and friends – old and new ones – than I have in the last five years, over the course of 3 months. And my mind was clear and calm. I slept like a baby. I didn’t feel a hint of depression lurking in the shadows anywhere. There simply were no shadows!
When I got back from my last Thailand trip (which was amazing albeit a bit wet *lol*), early April, the clouds did start gathering a bit though. I had had a few awkward interactions with a close colleague at work before my trip and it continued when I got back â€“ partially because he was stressed and didn’t really think about how he was acting or communicating with me. But even though the *new me* recognized that and gave him the benefit of the doubt, some things that were said and done really hurt me on a deep and personal level. Rationally I knew, and I was able to explain to myself, that what he said or implied really wasn’t reflective of his opinion of me. On an intellectual level, I understood that he was under a lot of pressure and probably did not even realize what he had implied, or how that would make me feel but on the emotional level I felt hurt. To make matters worse, I didn’t have a chance to talk it through with him in person, or even over the phone, for a couple of weeks and since this was not an isolated event, frustration and resentment started building up in me, due to the (emotional) stress. So, I started getting a bit short tempered and my frustration and dissatisfaction with our whole work situation, started showing. And of course, it soon started to impact me on a broader level: my sleep, my food and my exercise routines all suffer once stress reaches a certain point.
But what was important, and what I see as an amazing step forward and semi-proof that I am “cured”, is that I did not start to plummet further and further into negativity. I wasn’t even close to letting negativity take over my life. Or self-pity. I did not feel even remotely depressed. Disappointed? Angry? Stressed? For sure! But not depressed. Not even close. What I have learned over the last 10 months and all the energy I save and store, doing things for myself and enjoying living my life, helps a lot in dealing with the not-so happy moments.
Because of everything I have learned about myself, and taught myself over the last 10 months my frustrated and stressed state did not last very long. And I did not regard it a set-back or a failure. It was a natural reaction to certain circumstances that I could have handled better, yes, but nonetheless I learnt from them so that the next time I will not re-act in the same way. And that is a positive, not a negative, outcome! It may have set me back a bit in the short term, but it will pay off time and time again in the long term. So, I chose to look at it as a somewhat painful but very useful diagnostic test. A good opportunity for me to gauge how far I have come and gain some deeper insights that will help me fine-tune myself and my actions, without judgment. Without falling back into the old habit of beating myself up and endlessly rehash every step of the way, every word and every mistake.
To summarise, I learned three very important things form this and I learned them from reflecting on the situation over a longer (2 months) period of time; not by re-hashing or regretting anything and that is a key difference. So, long story short, I am hoping that some of you will find this useful and see that there is a way to turn every setback into a step forward.
- Don’t wait for the right time
My first mistake was thinking I had to wait for the right opportunity to tell him how I felt. There is never a better, or worse, time to tell someone openly and honestly how something they said or did made you feel, as long as you sleep on it (act – do not re-act!) and as long as you are polite, professional and constructive about it. Better to address it sooner rather than later to not let it sit there and brew. Because we are all just human and tension tends to pile up quickly and blow up sooner than you think.
- Being mindful and aware doesn’t mean you can’t hurt
Just because I am much more grounded (thus tolerant 😊) these days, and very rarely re-act emotionally but think things through and look beyond the immediate situation (thinking about “intent” and “circumstance”), doesn’t mean I can’t get hurt. Understanding that there is no malicious intent, no hidden agenda, no “jab” is all great. It for sure helps me avoid re-acting and be more conscious about my responses to situations but it doesn’t mean in can’t get hurt. It doesn’t make it hurts less if people are being inconsiderate – and they will. That’s OK, as long as you are aware and understand that this will happen from time to time.
- The more open you are, the more sensitive you get
I am starting to see that the more I practice Mindfulness and Awareness, the more I live in the here and the now and the more I open my mind, my heart and my soul is much more open to other things and other people. And that makes me more sensitive and perceptive, which is a great thing as it makes me more empathetic to other people’s experiences and feelings, but it also means I am more sensitive to how others treat me. It is like I am just more in tune with the world in general and I need to acknowledge this, to avoid becoming “over sensitive”.
That is probably my longest blog post to date – considering I had to split it in two – for all of those of you who are like me and do not possess an abundance of persistence. But for those of you who made it: well done, and see you soon again!
I’ll try to come back sooner, rather than longer. 😊