I’ve been recognizing the need to just walk away. I mentioned earlier my new task of unbecoming who I am. There comes a time when you have to throw in the towel and step away. I am quiet by nature. I am one with the quiet and noise makes me feel absolutely crazy inside. I realized after spending too much time on homework once again, the incessant amount of noise my son makes while attempting to do work is excruciating for me. Part of me knows all too well that if he would just sit quietly and do the work, it would take him a lot less time. He just doesn’t stop. If he’s not humming or singing then he’s probably talking out loud to himself. I decided to go for a short walk just to get away from the noise. I got about three houses down when I heard the screaming. There is a boy, high school age, who lives in that house. He too is always making noise. I realize even though we are all different, we each have a unique set of challenges. The boy is autistic and I often see and hear him standing by his mailbox waiting for the bus. He screams all day long and he always seems to be outside. It’s easy to think we are the only one in the world who gets frustrated or has to deal with problems but I was reminded tonight, that’s just not true. The important thing is how we deal with those problems. We can react the same way day after day or we can find a new solution along with some healthy coping mechanisms. Stepping away helps to see the turmoil that is going on inside. Sometimes it’s necessary to be a spectator in your own life. Only by standing to the side and observing from a distance can we really get a glimpse of the whole picture. There are some things we cannot change. We cannot fix everything we think needs fixing because to someone else, it may appear that nothing was ever really broken. So my advice tonight is that when you are feeling like you don’t have any control, step away and go for a walk. Put some distance between you and whatever it is that is driving you crazy. Give yourself permission to take a break and breathe in calm and exhale the rest. You are stronger than you think so start thinking differently.
I was thinking the other day of what I find most challenging in my life. Two things came to mind almost immediately. The first one for me and probably the one that causes me the most frustration and the greatest opportunity of learning would have to be people. It seems more and more that people are losing their filters. They think nothing of spitting out their opinion of me personally or the way I choose to live my life. I am forced to remind myself that I do not have to take offense or even respond. It is also a reminder that just because I live a different way does not mean I am doing something wrong. We are all different and what is right for me may not be right for you. Does that make you wrong? Of course not, it just makes you different. I am reminded to keep some things to myself. Some things just do not need to be said ever. There will always be those people who think they know more. Note to self: that does not mean they really know more and sticky note: it does not mean they know less. So the question is, when I start feeling that pull of a reaction internally, how do I recognize it quickly, accept it for what it is and just let it go? Well, I think I just answered that for myself. Acknowledge it for what it is and just move on.
Onto number two. The second ongoing challenge is not responding. Choosing to stay silent is a valuable tool. Sometimes, silence in itself or lack of response is enough to stop a conversation in its tracks. I have become much better at this one through the years but I can’t deny it will always be something I will need to actively work on. People do not need to hear my personal opinion about everything in the world, they just don’t. No different than the fact that I do not want to hear theirs. And, if I know my opinion differs from someone else’s and I know there are no words that will change their mind, why waste my energy on those words in the first place? Sometimes, I simply disagree is enough response without a lengthy debate or confrontation.
As I come to the close of another year, I always reflect on the challenges and growth. We can learn so much in a single year and change profoundly if we are truly dedicated to becoming better than the person we were before. What challenges have you faced and how have you grown the most?