Family Doesn’t Mean Everything

I have a friend who has some deep and painful issues with her family that we’ve been talking about quite a bit lately and it reminded me of all of the work I’ve done over the years to overcome some similar familial challenges. I won’t tell you her story because it isn’t mine to share, but I thought I would go into some of my story and some of what I shared with her from my experiences. 

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The Reason is Fear

My last post was a follow up to one from a couple months ago and today’s post is kind of a summarization of what I’m realizing the common theme is.

The theme is fear. The reason is fear. Fear is what causes my need to people please. Fear is the root of feeling like I can’t live my life, my way, in my own home.

This fear is irrational and is obviously ruining my days and weeks when other people stay long-term in my home. I have allowed this fear to control everything about me. It paralyzes me. I allow it to paralyze me.

I am laying here on the couch writing this as my friend is at the lake for the weekend. Sigh of relief, I have my home back. It feels refreshing.

Then I think of her returning and all of the things I can’t do so I don’t wake her in the morning or offend her or give her reason to judge me for what I am working on. I can’t listen to anything with my office door open. I can’t record in my own office so she doesn’t hear me and can’t judge me. I can’t go about my day the way I am used to.

It’s not just her. It is anybody that stays with us. I tell myself I can’t do all of these things so I don’t inconvenience our guests. Their comfort in my home is more important than my comfort in my home.

Why?

Fear.

Where does this fear stem from? Why do I continue to let it rule and ruin my life? Why don’t I just stop and do my thing in my home?

This fear stems from always getting in trouble for making any kind of noise in the house at anytime that interrupted my parents. It isn’t just about music. This had been ingrained in me so much that walking hard of the wood floor terrifies me and when other people do it, pisses me off or makes me think they are angry. Making any kind of noise with dishes, plates or pots and pans or anything, when moving about the kitchen is torture to me. Why are you so angry that you have to slam the dishes around? I’m so sorry I made noise when I put the pan away.

Noises. Any kind of them. They all cause me deep rooted fear of inconveniencing others or pissing them off. I don’t want to make other people angry. I do everything possible to make people happy because when they are angry I’ve obviously done something wrong.

This fear is as deep as any fear can be. And writing this post is helping me to identify is better than I ever have. Just thinking about all of the noises that cause me fear in my own home has made me realize that this is most definitely a bigger issue to work on than just people staying in my home and me feeling that I can’t live a normal life. I mean, I don’t typically make noise when Eddie is sleeping in on the weekends. If I do, there are multiple doors and a pillow covering his ears so he can’t hear me.

It definitely isn’t them. It’s me.

I continue to live with this fear because it hurts so deep when I feel I’ve been too loud or pissed someone off. This pain is more than just in my bones. It’s is my entire being. It literally takes over my body and mind. Pushing against that pain and fear causes more pain and fear.

The only way I can see to push back against the fear and overcome the pain is to start small. Small noises. Maybe some music with the door closed. Maybe not yelling at Eddie to stop stomping or asking him why he is so angry that he has to stomp. Maybe recording the next video in my office regardless of who is in the guest room next to me. Maybe working from the couch when I want and asking my mother-in-law to turn the TV down (you know, the next time she is here). Maybe listening to the next morning show with the office door open. All the while not saying sorry.

Maybe one little step at a time will help me to overcome the pain from the fear. Maybe it will help to break down that fear and that wall. Maybe I can finally release myself from the fear of noise pissing other people off.

Maybe.

Rise to Your Potential

Never let a good crisis go to waste. It’s the universe challenging you to learn something new and rise to the next level of your potential.”

Kristen Ulmer

I read this quote in Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss and immediately it dawned on me that this is life right now. We are all living in this pandemic, this crisis. Life is challenging for everyone right now, some much more so than others. Either we can lean into this challenge and come out of it better than we came in, or we can stay stuck in the challenge and how we’ve been impacted.

I’m not going to lie. Other than not being able to get out into the mountains, I’m enjoying being “stuck” at home. I am blessed that I get to enjoy this time. I am not sick with the horrible effects of COVID-19, nor have I lost my job and am financially struggling. I am in my home, working on renovations, working at my awesome job enriching the lives of seniors, spending time with my husband and pups. I am blessed.

So how does this quote actually apply to my life?

This crisis has taken away some of my excuses for not being able to work on my dreams. It has also given me the ability to refinance and put more money into my home. The crisis has given me more opportunities to grow, both personally and professionally.

I am being challenged and my fire is burning brighter to bring this blog into something more than I’ve trudged along with. I’m being challenged to expand my way of thinking and conquer my fears.

When Kristen wrote the above quote, I am sure she had no idea what would come in just a few short years (the book was published in 2017). Nobody did. What she had was the experience of personal crises that led her to develop her next level potential. I believe that Kristen’s quote can apply to almost any crisis. The only qualifier is how each one of us looks at whatever crises we are living through.

The crisis today is the pandemic and the many stay at home orders that have been enacted across the country and the world. Life has changed dramatically in just a few short weeks. Or long weeks depending on how you look at them. This crisis is challenging every single human in one way or another. Most of us will come out of it. The question is, what will have changed for us personally when we do?

How are you going to use this crisis, this pandemic, to grow and come out the other side stronger? Are you even going to use this time to grow? Or are you going to sit at home and whine about how shitty it is that we can’t go shopping or out to eat or to hang out with other people? How are you going to leverage this time?

I’ll tell you what I’m doing to leverage it. I’m working my ass off. I’m working for the company I get a paycheck from to enrich the lives of seniors AND I’m working on my personal goals. I’m not giving up and complaining about what was normal and what I can’t have. I’m creating my own new normal. My new normal makes life different than just a few weeks ago and will have my life different as we come out of the crisis.

Are you still taking for granted all of the blessings you have?

Are you only complaining about what you can’t do?

Are you only recognizing the pain in our world?

Are you ignoring what opportunities have been opened by being home more?

Are you forgetting that this is temporary, even if that temporary is longer than you want?

Are you ignoring the fact that we as a society always come out to the other side?

What are you focusing your mind on?

Have you even stopped to ponder anything other than your frustrations?

Yes, this pandemic fucking sucks. Yes, people are dying, Yes, people have lost their jobs. Yes, people are working in shitty conditions. Yes, our economy is not as strong as it was. Yes, yes, yes. There is so much struggle and pain in this crisis. Yes, we need to acknowledge that. But those people who are working our asses off don’t need us to dwell on the pain and the struggle. They need us to get our shit together so we can come out the other side.

Getting our shit together will look different for every single person. Getting our shit together may be as simple as not going out just to go out. Getting our shit together may be going after those goals and dreams that we keep putting aside because that will help our economy in the long-run OR it might help one of those people working their ass off have a little humor or inspiration in their day.

What are you learning during this crisis? How are you going to rise to your potential?