Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Softening the Edges
Maybe it's the holiday overabundance, the bitter cold, or going to long without a break, but I've found myself falling into dark corners of late. And perhaps it happens to me every winter, but I've been struggling to see the light in these darker days. I hit a low recently, and felt the power of all those negative emotions swimming around in me, poisoning the daylight and poisoning my interactions with those I love. It's a hard truth to realize when you step back and see that you are the one making things difficult for yourself. I try not to stay with anger too long, so today I decided I needed a different approach to just about everything. I've been very fatigued... sick kids, teething baby, lack of light, lack of sleep... all these things can ware at you. But it's no excuse for acting wretched. A little argument about something last night that was no one's fault and needn't have turned angry made me see that I needed to find balance again... teetering on the edge cannot last long when you have a family that needs you and loves you. I wrote on our white board this morning that I would try hard today not to yell because when I yell it hurts my little ones. This was difficult at first, but soon changed my frame of mind for every situation. I stopped trying to "get things done" and tried to find a balance that would make both me and the people that live me feel at peace. There were moments where tantrums broke out and I wanted very much to yell in response, collapse in a heap on the floor, throw things, eat ice cream, etc., but I tried my best to let the waves of anger and tension wash over me so that I could see more clearly what my role was in a given situation. I think, overall, it helped a lot. There were a few times where I felt my voice rise, but I don't think a yell. Perhaps some would see this as repressive, but honestly, I think anger and yelling feed more anger and yelling. When I consciously tried to keep my cool, it is amazing how different the world looks. I was also shocked at how much more connected I felt to my babies.... we could get through anything as long as Mama didn't cave to the strong emotions being whirled around. It's hard to sit still in a storm and wait for it to pass, but sometimes it really is the best thing you can do.
So we played, we baked, we read stories, we went in the snow. The sky was so grey and there was a thick fog over everything as the snow still fell, but it was quiet and beautiful and still. Yes, I still feel tired and worn, and perhaps a little melancholy... difficult feelings can always resurface. But I am going to try my little experiment again tomorrow. No yelling... (unless someone truly can't hear me, haha).
And I'm also going to put my children before the agenda... more things actually get done when I'm not fighting against their will. This is not to say I will do whatever they want, but I will try harder to bring them into what I do and be more responsive to their need for undivided attention. I also think I need to stop the cycle of negativity, by sitting down and listing all the best qualities of those nearest and dearest to me. It's easy to get caught up in the ways we drive each other crazy. My change in attitude might not effect anyone else, but at least I can start to be at peace in myself again.
*P.S. I wrote these reflections last night, but a crying baby needed me, so I'm posting them here this morning.