Pursuing Priorities

I’m learning that I can accomplish more by doing less. I took off the last week of the year and returned to work on January 2nd, which happened to be a Thursday. So in between catching up on a personal level and trying to figure out where to start at my desk, I began to feel that overwhelming feeling of things slipping out of my control. So my cycle of anxiety continues.

I did bring work home with me while I was off for the holidays. So I wasn’t completely disconnected from that responsibility. After two days back at work and looking at the pile of paperwork on my desk, and trying to organize it all into a list, I was frustrated. Friday afternoon, I finally decided that I just needed to pack it up and bring it home with me to see what I could get done from the house.

But at the last minute,, I had a little conversation with myself. I stopped and gave the situation some real thought. I decided to leave all that responsibility right there, on my desk. I left Friday without one file from work to bring home. So what!! Let it sit.

As I sit here towards the end of my weekend, I feel productive and rested. I’ve been purging my closet for weeks. Slowly going through my things and rethinking where I’m at style wise for a woman approaching 60. I ordered hangers and pant clips in December. They’ve been sitting in a spare room. Yesterday I started with the pants. Instead of folding them over hangers, they are all now clipped onto the hanger and hung lengthwise. Then I moved on to the backroom, where all of my tops, jackets, cardigans, and dresses are stored. I moved everything onto the new hangers. This allowed me to get rid of 2 more bags of clothing that no longer serve me or represent who I am or who I want to be.

I’ll admit there were a few things that I found difficult to get rid of. I looked at some of those things long and hard. Some even went onto new hangers, only to be ripped off and tossed into the “to go” bag. Now when I look in my closet I feel happiness and excitement. I also realize I need to focus on solids and foundation pieces. I think that’s a very powerful judgement of my wardrobe and my life. I need more foundation. 

But what I really wanted to share in this blog today is that we can’t expect to accomplish everything. We live in a society that wants us to believe that we should always be grinding away, hustling. No hustle, no accomplishments, no value. That’s a lie society tells us; and because of that powerful influence, we talk to ourselves this way as well.

Yes, I was busy this weekend. I didn’t sit around. I did something that I wanted to do. Something that I had been wanting to do, but kept putting off because of perceived responsibilities.

Sometimes we try to do too much. That’s why vacations to destinations we’ve dreamed of can be exhausting. We don’t want to miss a thing, so we try to do it all in a very small span of time. Life can be much the same if you allow it. Because I didn’t try to do too much this weekend, I feel rested, fulfilled, and ready to face whatever my Monday may hold.

The key to a healthy work and home balance is focus. It so easy to find yourself down a rabbit hole that sometimes goes nowhere. For me, I will focus on work when I am there. When it’s time to go home, I will close my office door and focus on home. When everything bleeds over from one project to another, you can be like a dog chasing it’s own tail. Very busy, but accomplishing nothing.

This week I am going to try to take time to assess each situation or task that comes before me. Especially when I began to feel the anxiety start to build within my mind and body. Tomorrow when I get to work, I will be ready to focus on that pile on my desk. It’s really very simple. Just pick up the first piece of paper and go on my way. I’m sure things that require immediate attention will crop up. Co-workers and residents will bring issues that they believe need immediate attention. But through it all, whatever it might be, I hope that I remember to breathe and realize that sometimes I need to say “that’s not possible today” or “I’ll get to it later”. 

A Brand New Decade

Happy 2020!! I for one am so happy to wave goodbye to 2019. It will be forever my year from hell. Why? Because my life fell apart. Overly dramatic? Nope. If I could be open and honest and list below the rather short list of what came unraveled, I think most people would be very surprised.

However, I’m not ready to air my laundry just yet. Compared to what some of my friends have gone through this year, it is all relatively minor. It’s not a life threatening disease that I had to fight with my whole being. My husband still adores me and is my very best friend. The important people that I started 2019 with are still with me. I still have a great job, great co-workers, and a great boss.

What happened in 2019 was the blinders that I’ve been wearing for decades were unceremoniously ripped from my face and the reality of my life was abruptly thrust into my consciousness. The lies that I have been telling myself were suddenly right there. screaming at me.

I’ll be using the next year examining all of these lies. Discover how they came into existence. Hopefully, connect with others who have their own truths that they have discovered. By connecting with them I hope to discover how they dealt with their own realizations and what steps they took to become a happy human being.

So as I sit here on this very first day of 2020, I have no resolutions. There are things that I’ve started in the last few years that I want to continue and even grow them into a larger part of my life.

I’ve changed the way I eat and how I think of food in the last couple of years. Thanks to Arbonne, I’ve learned a lot about fueling my body with nutritional dense whole foods. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. It’s been a lot longer than 21 days and how I see food is completely different than it was 2 years ago. Do I have days that I eat something that does not serve me? Of course!!! The whole month of December was like that.

When I see the ads for all the different diet plans, it makes me a little sad. I know people want to be healthy. Their making it more difficult than it needs to be. I’m not perfect. I still have pounds to lose. I need to exercise more. But I can honestly say I feel better today than I did even 3 years ago and I know I can feel healthier in the next 30 days. So no resolution needed, I just need to stay the course.

So the healthy eating I’ve been doing for awhile. Like everything in life, it ebbs and flows. But the things I just started learning in 2019, I know will take a more effort. I will need to be more aware of my own thoughts and feelings.

Things like, it’s okay to have a small circle. Right now my immediate circle only contains Doug. I’m not 100% sure that my immediate circle needs to be larger. To me, your immediate circle are the people who will drop everything when you need them. Discover that I only have one person in my circle willing to do this was one of the truths I learned in 2019.

I have another circle that is slightly larger and I’m discovering that this circle is also very important. This circle consist of 3 other people besides Doug. These people might not be in a position to drop everything for me. But I know if I need someone to talk to, I can pick up the phone and find them. They are available.

I think to live a full and happy life, you need a third circle. This is the cirle that I want to grow in 2020. These are people I have things in common with. People who enjoy my company and I enjoy theirs. These are the people you make an effort to connect with, however that might be. These are wonderful people who can round out your life. Most of the time these people stay in this 3rd circle. Occasionally these people will move into your second circle. My second circle grew by one of these in 2019.

The biggest thing I want to improve on is how I talk to myself. I’ve read a lot of personal development books and listened to a ton of podcast. However, its so easy to slip back into those bad habits of how we talk to ourselves. So I’ve set up some reminders that will go off throughout the day that will remind me to breathe, that I’m worthy, and mainly “Not my circus, not my monkeys” For me this is MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.

A lot of the things that I take on and eventually stress me out are things that I’ve inserted myself into. So I’ve been making a real effort not to do that. Another thing that I need to remember is that it’s okay to say no. AND no explanation is even necessary.

If I seem distant, sequestered, or just unavailable, just know that I’m working on me and it might take awhile.

Awash in Memories

We had a family emergency late last week. My mom fell and broke her left hip. Between that event, the approach of Christmas holidays, and finishing up year end tasks at work so I can take the last week of the year off, I really didn’t expect to have a blog out this week.

Yet, with all of that, a memory followed by all the emotion that is tied to it washed over me on my way in this morning. I haven’t been listening to podcasts or audio books for several days. I’ve been listening to holiday music or just surfing my satellite radio as I make my trek into work every morning. This morning it was John Denver singing Annie’s Song that tripped that switch in my brain and opened up a door that has been shut for awhile

Once again, my first husband and first love’s memory washed over me. There were times he loved to sit in the bathroom and play his guitar. I guess it was the acoustics. So when John Denver started singing Annie’s Song, an image flashed across my mind of him sitting on the tide of the tub, strumming his guitar and him declaring to me “This one’s for you!”

As I listened to the song on the radio, I couldn’t help buy wonder……..what happened to that guy. I’m not referring to the actual, physical person. I know what happened to him. The same sad story of many people or their own loved ones. Drug addiction picked him up, changed him, and carried him away to the land of the lost.

But I wonder what happened to that guy? The guy who loved me. The guy who sang songs to me and even wrote songs for me. What happened to the little boy who sat upstairs in his room and fished from the koi pond. How did his mother know? She saw the fish being reeled up past the downstairs windows.

That boy, that man was whisked away. The dreams of his mother and the dreams of the girl that loved him were simply tossed away by him for a greater love, crystal meth.

I’ve spent the last half of the year, taking a deep look at why I think, act, or respond to things the way that I do. It’s deep seeded and some of it goes back to even the earliest days of my childhood. Looking at my own feelings and neurosis has made me realize that I am not in a small majority of people. A great majority of people has issues. I would even say, every one has issues.

I know that John had really deep afflictions. I know that a large part of those went back to his own childhood. His feelings of abandonment and low self-esteem. The sad part of his story is that he is lost.

My life is good. Yet, sometimes when the radio plays certain songs that evoke these very deep and very personal emotions, I can’t help but wonder “What happened?” and “Why wasn’t I enough?”

15 Hours

It seems like once the holiday season hits, time bangs immediately into warp speed. It’s a whirlwind of activity, even if you aren’t the party type. Just so you know, I’m not the party type. I’d like to be. But the reality is that after a week of work and nearly 3 hours a day commuting, I just like to be home. 

There are a number of things that roll around in my brain that I would love to do. But there just isn’t time. I’d love to get into yoga. It’s not only that I don’t have time, it’s also that I live in the middle of nowhere. In order to engage in activities such as yoga, I would have to add a stop along my way. The reality is that just is not going to happen. 

When the work day is over the truth is all I want is to get home.To even make time for friends and family takes a real effort on my part. Home is my happy place. Every once in a while I think that perhaps I can work in a fitness routine of some kind in the morning. But again, the reality is that I already get up at 4:00 in the morning. So squeezing in something else just isn’t going to happen.

That’s why I’ll sometimes stop and think about the reality of my commute and what I’m sacrificing. I love where we are. But we are isolated. Rarely does any one visit. In a lot of ways that isn’t a bad thing. LOL!!! But I do miss a call from someone who is just going to drop by. No one is every “in the neighborhood”. Visiting us is a destination and most people who do visit spend the better part of the day. 

Let me be honest. The absolute truth is, I’ve worked all week and I’m a little selfish with my time off. Having company is an event. I don’t have the energy for that. I’d love to! It sounds fun. But I’d rather come to you and leave when I want. Does that make me selfish? Perhaps. At this stage of the game I don’t put a lot of effort into pleasing everyone. Just a special few.

 Nevertheless, I’m sitting here thinking about my drive and wondering that would I do with the 15 hours of drive time per week. Suppose I could cut my roundtrip commute to only one hour a day. That would give me a whole ten hours a week to do something. 

So here’s my short list of things I’m missing out on because of my commute:

    3 hours a week working out in a gym

    5 hours a week preparing a fresh, wonderful, wholesome dinner

    2 whole extra hours a week to communicate with friends, crochet, read, write, etc..

The list could be endless. But the reality is would I make good use of the time. I would answer with a resounding YES! If you look at what I get done on MOST weekends, you might chuckle and say “I bet.” But honestly, I’m so tired by Friday night, that sometimes I don’t get a lot done on the weekend. I am old and I am tired. 

But on the other hand, I do think I make good use of my time in the car. I listen to audiobooks and podcasts. Some of these are informative, full of self-development and some of them are just simple entertainment. Thanks to the technology of Bluetooth and my cellphone, it can also be a good time to catch up with a friend.

I guess it’s best not to wish for things we don’t have. I don’t have a short commute. It can be tiresome and tedious. But I make use of my time alone in the car. In the fast paced, crazy world we live in, I do find serenity in my home. The peacefulness of sitting on the deck, watching the birds, and not hearing the sound of traffic.

There is still a lot of time left in the day to get things done. A notebook with a todo list is my biggest asset. Honestly, it’s all about priorities. I could stop off 3 days a week and work out. But I want to go home.

Holidays Lost

Thanksgiving day I came to the conclusion that I’ve turned into one of those people. One of those people who finds that the holidays are a bummer. I don’t dread them. As the season starts to approach I find myself looking forward to them with anticipation and excitement. The day arrives and suddenly I am sad.

A lot of the sadness stems from simply the passage of time. As we grow older, it’s only natural to be reminded of holidays past. When those past holidays are summoned it’s only human to sentimentalize them. The here and now holiday can never compete with the perfection of holidays past. 

Holidays past have also included sadness and disappointments. Yet the memory doesn’t include any of that. When I think back to holidays past, I remember my father’s happiness when I walked in the door and met his eyes. My father was the one person in my life that made me feel special. I felt that I was part of a tribe.

When my dad died in 1997, I lost his companionship and also that feeling of belonging. I have felt disconnected since then. With my husband, I feel a deep connection, but there is no sense of tribe. I have no tribe.

I have always had my mother’s love. Although, I haven’t felt really and truly connected to her since I was a small child. Once I was a teenager she did not seem to really see me any longer. Maybe it was because I gave the appearance of being self-sufficient. Perhaps she thought that I did not need her. She was always available emotionally if I reached out. She delivered excellent advice when asked. But her eyes never lit up the way that my father’s did.

My mother was always a giver, a listener, and oftentimes someone’s savior.  If any member of her family needed her, she was there. She would drop what she was doing, give her last dime or the shirt off her back. That was who she was. When my mother had grandchildren arrive, that was another layer of people between us. Perhaps that’s why I sometimes feel the loneliness of being childless. My own children could have been another link to an emotional connection with her.

Now that I have started looking at my own past and why I act and react the way that I do, it makes me wonder about my mother’s own personal issues. Perhaps she carries the baggage that came from growing up in such a very large and poor family. Maybe she felt inadequate. Perhaps those feelings of inadequacies made her seek out those she felt really needed her.

She told me once that when I was very little that she sometimes felt as if I was the adult and she was the child. She confessed that she felt as if I was judging her. Of course she didn’t really believe that a toddler was judging her. Still, I think it’s a small window into her own feelings of inadequacies. 

My father on the other hand once told me how very happy he was when I was born. That when he looked at me he thought “Here is someone who belongs to me and will love me forever.” This from a man who was born to alcoholics and raised by his grandparents. I think my father did not feel really loved or connected as he was growing up. Intuitively he made me feel loved and connected.

This holiday season has me really evaluating why I feel such sadness. I think the reality is that as we age this time of the year is just a combination of deep sadness and happiness all at the same time. Being with our loved ones, whether they are family or good friends brings contentment and happiness. But we are all missing someone that used to be a part of this time of the year. It’s only natural to look back and glamorize holidays past.

As December begins and the Christmas season winds up into high gear, I think it’s a good time to be grateful for the people in my life. It’s also a good time to open my eyes and look beyond myself to identify others that need to feel connected and seen.

Blessed?

Have you ever found yourself in a pickle? One thing I’ve found is that I’m often in a pickle from trying to “help” someone. Sometimes they come right out and ask for support, guidance, or even money. Often afterwards I realize “Oops! I did it again.” By again, I mean I’ve allowed someone to take advantage of me. When that realization comes, I would like to just bang my head against the wall in hopes that it will be a reminder for me to PAUSE and say SORRY, BUT NO, next time.

Lately, I’ve become seemingly compulsive with my apprehension to please others. I please others at the cost of my own wellbeing. I find myself pessimistic about my ability to pause and give the response that is healthier. In the quiet of my home, I often look back over the day and realize that even in the small things, I have failed in my desire to be true to myself. If I fail daily at the small things, how can I be ready to pause in the big moments?

Sometimes at night when I can’t sleep, potential problems that may or may not happen will swivel to the forefront of my mind. When that happens, I’m up all night trying to solve this future problem that may or may not happen. At times an indignation comes with these late night thoughts that I find I can not shake in my waking hour. During these episodes I can become angry at someone who hasn’t responded in my late night scenario in what I believe to be the correct manner to a problem that hasn’t even occurred. This makes me think that I may be just a little unhinged, or perhaps I’m only human.

Recently, after one of these late night sessions, I could not get these negative feelings out of my head. I can’t remember the exact circumstances, but somehow the subject came up with a friend the next day. This particular friend already knew the backstory of what had kept me up the previous night. I explained to him my feelings about the subject matter. He listened attentively and I could tell (or at least it seemed) that he really was going to give me some words of wisdom that would help me deal with this person and potential problem. At the very least I was expecting an acknowledgement of my situation.

Instead, what he said was, “God has blessed you.” He went on to say that I have so much and this person in my late night consternation has so little. That might not be verbatim what was said, but that was the gist of it. What?

The road to where I am was not a smooth ride. Like everyone else in this world, I had to make choices along the way. Occasionally those choices were good, and other times they were something else. I was never given anything. I have stood consistently and perpetually on my own two feet. I still work hard EVERY…..SINGLE…..DAY…..

So, what kind of screwed up reasoning is this? Blessed?  I have EARNED everything; I have. The loses I have experienced were for the most part, bad choices or decisions that I made. I wasn’t blessed with what I have, nor was I cursed by what I lost or don’t have. In this situation, telling me I am blessed feels feels very much like a slap in the face. Is this some sort of message? It feels dismissive.

I know the above may sound angry, but I was bumfuzzled. Was my friend saying that God had not blessed the other person?.

Telling someone that they are blessed is not always a compliment or even an encouragement. In this case it appears he wanted to appear that he was expressing empathy without actually being empathetic. The message I was hearing was, “you can afford to take on someone else’s problems, so quit your whining.”

Yes, I’m angry. I feel dismissed. It’s another lesson learned. A lesson I need to make sure that I apply to myself. When someone is distressed, and they feel safe enough to share their feelings with me, I hope that I will remember that that person really just wants acknowledgement and maybe just a little kindness.

My Love, My Old Man

Yesterday morning I woke up early. It was nice and snug and warm in my bed. I roll over and open my eyes and stare at the 62 year old man in my bed. I find it satisfying to look at him while he’s sleeping. He’s normally wound very tightly, always on a mission or working on a to-do list. He’s normally up and about long before I am, because that’s his nature. But at this moment his face is relaxed and carefree. He breathes deeply and satisfyingly. His lips flutter as each breath is exhaled completely.

I take my time this morning and study his face in slumber, wondering what dreams are traversing across his subconscious. Is he dreaming of his youth? Is he dreaming of retirement? Is he solving problems? Even in his dreams he faces demons that lurk during the day. On the day that we observe his birth, I hope he’s having happy dreams. His body language seems to tell me that he is in a harmonious place.

I look at the face of the man I love and I get a little sentimental. My eyes fill with tears of emotion. Emotions of deep love, contentment, and peace. I know that I have linked myself to my true and perfect soulmate. He can drive me absolutely mad! He’s a pessimist. He has a quick temper. He can be judgemental and rigid. He’s a black and white guy in a grey world. He is not perfect. But he is perfect for the imperfect me. We are the perfect complement of personalities.

He loves me without question. He enjoys my company. He worries about me. He does the little things. Removing the pan from the oven, because he thinks it might be too heavy. Asking me if I need anything as I sit in my chair under a blanket reading a book. Asking me if I’d like to watch the sunset. Holding my hand when we watch television. All the little things that make me feel cherished. 

The world seems to spin faster and faster. Our days are filled with long commutes and demanding jobs. He’s worked hard to make sure that we are financially ready for retirement. A worry free retirement has consumed him for years. He still broods over the cost of insurance between now and 65. My attitude is “what will be, will be” That is not his perspective. He needs to know without a doubt that if something should happen to him, that I will be taken care of financially.

Now that he can see the goal of retirement approaching, I hope he finds this sleeping contentment in his waking hours.I pray he knows deep in his heart that together we can overcome anything that the universe decides to throw at us.

If the world should collapse and I am left with only him, I would be satisfied until the end of my days.

doug

Continue reading “My Love, My Old Man”

Childless Mother

It seems all little girls dream of being a mother. At least I know that I did. Maybe it’s getting that very first baby doll that instills this idea into our little girl-psyche . Maybe it’s having babies arrive in the family. Maybe it’s just part of my genetic makeup. I don’t know. 

As a child and as a young woman, it never occured to me that I would grow old without children from my body. But here I am. I’ve had lots of them in my life. I’ve been an aunt, a stepmom, an older cousin, a step-grandma, and a great-aunt. As those children grow up, it seems that they no longer have a connection to me. I’ve loved and found satisfaction in all of these relationships. Still, it gnaws at me that these important mother-roles are not as authentic as being a biological mother.  

I feel that I have lost out on the experience of carrying life within me. I will never know the feeling of having a newborn placed upon my skin and looking into their eyes, knowing that they are mine. Growing up I was the one with dreams of a house full of children. But there were deviations and divergent  paths taken that narrowed my window for children and unforeseen health issues that narrowed the possibility of motherhood.

I was 20 when I married for the first time. At that age I was eager to have children. Then I discovered my husband’s drug addiction. He was in and out of rehab, in and out of jail, in and out of halfway houses. At one point I left. Upon our reconciliation he suddenly wanted children. His sobriety wasn’t something I was ready to actually depend and count on. Sadly, I was right. I have no real regrets there. I couldn’t imagine having a grown child now searching the streets for a father that cared more about drugs and didn’t have the ability to change himself. 

Then came the health issues. Cervical dysplasia, well advanced into a precancerous stage. Cryosurgery, followed my monthly, then bi-annually, then yearly testing. Later I had a cyst on an ovary and it had to be removed. Writing about this reminds me of my doctor at the time, Henry Bramanti. He was one of the very best doctors I have ever had. He was caring, personable, and took the time to chat with me. He talked to me about serious issues with great care and concern. 

I met Doug while in my 30’s. He had a daughter and was clear about letting me know that he had absolutely zero interest in having another child. Regardless of what he said, we did try. But we weren’t successful. Maybe it wasn’t me and my one ovary. Maybe.

There have been times when Doug has said “We should have had children.” I’ve told him he’s not allowed to say that to me. The thought of what might have been, is just too sad. You can’t live your life on “if onlys”. 

So, I can deal with what feels like a missed opportunity most days. But then, I can simply be getting ready for work one morning and there’s a story on television about a village of women in Kenya where men are not allowed. You can read or watch the story here. The story is really about how these women have fled the abuse of men, but what I focus on is one line “……..without children we are nothing.” 

Sometimes nothing is exactly how I feel. As I see myself, my sister, and my nieces & nephews taking care of my mom, all of us concerned about her comfort, I can’t help but wonder “Who will care for me?” That’s a heartache for another day.

I remember having a big family cookout at my house not long after we moved out to the country. A cousin came in to see the house. She went right back out and got her husband and brought him in and said “Look! This is what your house looks like when you don’t have children.” It wasn’t said with malice or bad intentions. She was simply comparing my clean, tidy house to hers. You know that general untidiness when children are living in your house. Maybe you know. I do not.

Power Pausing

When asked a question, I want to give an answer. When asked a favor, I want to grant it. It’s who I am. But a lot of times it is not who I want to be. I’m beginning to realize that my knee jerk reactions is connected to my past, to my history or even to the trauma of living. I’ve found that it can be a problem when you always provide an answer when asked a question.

Almost always when asked a question I will give an answer.. Sometimes it’s really just my opinion or even what I think might be the answer. Sometimes it’s even what I think the asker wants to hear. That’s wrong, I know. But we’re back to my dislike of confrontation.

Recently Doug was asking me how recording live sports programs on the Dish Hopper worked. I told him how I thought it worked. But he became frustrated when I couldn’t back up my answer up with facts. After a short argument over the mechanics of recording a live sports program, I finally said “I really don’t know.”

That’s actually how I should have answered his question and really all questions that I have no experience with or knowledge of. A simple “I don’t know, but maybe………………” I think by always providing an answer I sometimes end up looking like a know-it-all. I know I come across to some as a woman who is completely sure of herself. But the fact is I am anything but that self-assured woman about town. In some ways, I’m still a child seeking parental approval.

I don’t think it’s unusual to want approval.  I find myself constantly seeking it in countless small ways. It’s really an inherent part of who I am at my core. But I find myself wondering where this need originated. Why do I find myself seeking out approval and acceptance from others. When it doesn’t come, I feel annoyed or dissatisfied with myself. That’s when the darkness starts to slip in.

Not long ago I received a phone call and was told “I need you to do this in order for me to do that.” Of course, my first reaction was “I’ll do whatever you need in order to make this easier for you” And that is exactly what I did.

In hindsight, that was a mistake on my part that is attached to my need for approval or the desire to not “disappoint” someone. I should have taken a moment and just agreed to look at their request. It’s always ok to say “Let me think about it.” or “Let me look at what you’ve got.” Instead, I did what was asked of me and then a couple of days later I became angry.

But, after some thinking, I was able to take a step back and realize that my anger was with myself, and not at the other person. Once again, I should have asked more questions. Honestly, if I had given myself some time, I wouldn’t have agreed to the request and that’s where the anger came from. Not from the request, but from my response.

I can’t blame someone for my anger if I haven’t explained to them that I need time to think about their request. Maybe they would be disappointed in me if I responded with ‘I don’t think I can do that.” But if that is what the answer needs to be, then that’s what my answer should be. The other person will just need to deal with it from their end. I must remember that their reactions and feelings are their own. Just as mine are my own.

Since this last request, I have made a promise to myself that I will no longer respond immediately. Instead, I need to always ask for time to think about it. Even if I really don’t need to think about it. I’m retraining my brain, so I need to start with the simple things. I need time to think things through and that’s ok. We are all different and look at problems, situations, and life differently. The authentic me, I think, should take time to ask myself the hard questions and if necessary ask them of others. . 

When it comes to requests, I’m learning to pause before I answer. However, it’s hard to undo a lifetime of acquiescence. My first impulse is “YES!! Whatever you need or want I am here to help you!!!” Perhaps it’s because I crave approval and acceptance. I want to be part of the club. I want to be your friend.

Pausing also serves an additional benefit. When someone has asked for a favor, did you know if you will pause for a couple of seconds after they finish speaking, you may find that the requester will continue to speak. Sometimes they will give you additional information, perhaps providing more information to you to make a better decision. Another benefit is that by remaining silent, pausing, you let the other person know that you are considering what they just requested of you. Pausing also allows your brain to fully process the request. The more time you take to consider the request, the more you will become aware of either the benefits or drawbacks of granting the request.

Do you still seek approval when you really don’t need to? Do you agree to things that you later regret? Would it have been helpful if you had taken some time to think about it?