Find the audio version of this post on your favourite podcast app: Inspiritment from Jo Koepke
Anyone else just want to crawl into bed and sleep through the next several months? Or lose yourself in distractions to avoid facing the hard realities and work ahead? I have been fighting these pulls with varying levels of success this past week. I wake up hoping it has all been a weird dream. It is easy to slip back into a victim mode and allow myself to make excuses for why I can’t or why I react or how I behave. Instead, I am owning my experience in this season.
I sometimes think that I need to make huge sweeping changes to my thinking and behaviour to see a shift. I underestimate the impact small adjustments to my language- both spoken and thought-can have. Having people in my life to remind me of that has been essential.
Try this out for yourself. Say these pairs of sentences out loud and take note of the impact each one has on your frame of mind.
“I have to homeschool my child and figure out all this new technology and routine.”
“I get to homeschool my child and learn new skills and rhythms.”
“I can’t get all of those work tasks done or pursue that goal anymore.”
“I choose to focus on what my daughter needs from me and re-prioritise the work tasks and goals I pursue for this current time.”
In case you didn’t guess, these are examples from my own experience in the past couple of weeks. I catch myself defaulting to the first options. This leaves me feeling overwhelmed, resentful and grieving. I can play the noble victim and garner sympathy but I am not the person, leader and parent I want to be. When I stop and change my language, I feel the ownership of my choices and recalibrate my perspective. (If you want some more reading around this, I recommend The Three Laws of Performance by Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan.)
Language isn’t the only part of owning my experience either. The choices I make in the small moments each day add up. Do I let the pool being closed mean no exercise in my week? Do I allow myself to avoid the hard tasks with technology or less important busy work? How am I keeping myself on the hook to stay focused on what is important in this time?
I want to take steps towards goals, even if they are smaller and slower steps than before. I aim to get more sleep and take time out to rest and decompress. It would be easy to bury myself in avoidance and excuses. Instead, I choose to acknowledge my emotions and process them through journaling, prayer and conversation. I don’t stay in that place though. Emotions don’t have to be resolved before we do the next right thing in front of us.
Let’s focus on making small shifts to our language and choices to see a big shift in our lives. Let’s practise self-compassion while not succumbing to being a victim. I am looking forward to seeing the growth that comes out of this uncomfortable season.
How are you owning your experience right now?