How do you stay hopeful and positive when everything around you seems completely chaotic and uncertain?
I may not have the right answer for you, but I have been doing my best over the last couple of months and wanted to share what has helped me (most days).
What happened to send my smooth sailing, overly happy, extremely positive life into a tail-spin? My husband was told that his job would be ending on December 18th. And before you write me, to tell me how lucky we are that we have been given 4 months to figure out our next steps, I already know. CoVid wiped away so many jobs and most people were given no warning at all, that would be horrific. This is just a long drawn out stress fest. It has been full of interview after interview after interview for my husband. And as an enneagram 3, he gets super excited every single time, about every single opportunity. While I try to appreciate his enthusiasm, it is often followed by a crash because “they haven’t made an offer yet.”
This roller coaster of emotions is exhausting!! Again, don’t get me wrong here, I am so grateful for the opportunities, but so far, none have resulted in an offer, which means each day closer to December 18th has gotten a little heavier.
How have we coped? Some days way better than others if I am being honest, I mean we are human after all. We have to navigate each other’s highs and lows, because we have always dealt with trials differently. I am over the top faithful, believing everything works out as God planned, having hope even when there isn’t even a spark of light visible, and constantly speaking affirmations and begging him to say them as well.
He has a much more skeptical mindset, although he is excited for the interviews at the time, he then sulks in the downtime. He does know we will be okay no matter what, but that doesn’t come from a faith in God, it comes from experience. We have been through hell with medical issues, ex-spouse issues, financial issues and past moves; but we have always been better once we pass through the chaos.
So that is who we are and where we are, now how am I keeping the faith and staying sane?
First and foremost, Self-Care! I am super aware of how my mind and body are feeling and I am very careful to take care of myself. I think this is the missing piece for most in the midst of whatever Covid induced chaos you are in the middle of. Everyone’s self care will look a little different, but here is what mine looks like...Reading, a lot. I don’t honestly remember a night where I went to bed without reading, in my entire life. The bookstore has been my favorite place for as long as I can remember. I’ve never fallen in love with the library, because they don’t become my books, I have to give them back; and I would much rather give a book to a friend. Anyway, I love to escape into a book or learn from a book or grow because of a book. So when I feel a stress headache coming on, I sit down and read. There is a strong chance I should be working or cleaning or cooking, but I don’t, I read, and I am okay with that. No one in my house will starve or end up wearing dirty clothes, but there is a strong chance they won’t have what they want when they want it...because I am reading. Does that sound selfish to you? In fact it is. It is me selfishly saying, I am about to crumble, so I am going to read and when I stop, I will feel better; rather than crumbling and then freaking out on my family for something little. It is me selfishly saying, I can’t possibly come up with another motivating thing to say right now, so I am going to read my scriptures and allow God to fill my vessel. It is me selfishly admitting that I gave all I had to give today, and you might need to make yourself a ham sandwich for dinner so that I can read a book and eat and apple with peanut butter.
Do you read that and think I am a selfish or lazy mom, and not in a good way? That is because someone, somewhere along the way told you it is bad to be selfish. I am here to correct that definition of selfish. Hurting others to get ahead with no concern for them, that is being a real jerk, but too often people think of that as selfish. What if you realized that it is 100% great for you to be selfish, meaning you put your needs ahead of others, at least some of the time? What a beautiful freedom there is in that. We have all had times where we snap at our kids or spouse or react way harsher than is necessary. Why does that happen? Because you are tired. You feel unloved and under appreciated. You feel like no one puts your needs first, that is if you even know what you need. At the end of the day, you are trying to fill everyone’s cups, but your pitcher is totally empty!
That is where being selfish comes in. Do things for yourself, that make you happy and fill your pitcher. Don’t expect someone else to fill it, you will always be disappointed. Take the time to fill it yourself. If you have a family that is used to you doing everything for them, they may get disgruntled the first few times, they may even call you selfish! At that moment, I want you to be proud of yourself for being selfish, and then kindly explain to them that they were blessed to have you do all of the stuff before, but you are not negatively selfish for taking care of you right now. Let them know that as you take this time to fill your pitcher, you will then be able to love them better and bigger than ever. Make sure they know what is in it for them. They may be skeptical at first, until your words become the truth. When they start to see that leaving you alone for an hour to take a bath, read a book, go get a massage, actually has huge benefits for them afterwards, they will no longer get upset when you are being selfish.
I’ll step off my selfish soap box now, I think I made my point. Because I take time to read, nap when needed, journal and exercise; I am then better prepared to help my husband through the stress and fear of changing jobs and moving towns. I am better able to love on my boy, who has started to have horrible panic attacks recently. I can admit this, I should be putting more hours into my business. But I know this for a fact, If I worked all day, pouring into everyone, getting rejected by some, handling complaints, and celebrating wins; I would be empty when my husband and son needed me. In normal circumstances that is okay, because they come home happy and do a great job of making my life fun. But because we are in the middle of chaos right now, they aren’t able to make my life that fun. I am the one that needs to pull the positivity into the home, I am the one that needs to have the faith, I am the one that needs to love big. So for those reasons, I spend part of my day just being selfish, allowing my pitcher to be filled.
When my pitcher is overflowing, I can fill the cups of my loved ones with all of the excess
, and they come first. I may not be filling as many cups outside of my family right now, but we will get through this, and before I know it, I will be moved into a new house, in a new town, in a new state; and I will be ready to start filling as many cups as I can.
Until then, I am going to protect my home, my family, my faith and my mental health; by being a little selfish.
I hope you understand, and I hope you will choose to be a little selfish now so you can fill the cups of those you love the most during this crazy time we are currently living in. Take the time to love your self.