I am a morning person. unfortunately I am living with three males of whom which NONE are morning people. This is a challenge for me as I wake up cheery and happy;and very ready to start the day. They do not.
And in the short distance between opening my eyes and engaging my family members my mood would go from the penthouse to the basement with the first interaction. I am met with grumbles, heavy brows, and mute people who glare at me when I say good morning. More often than not, my families lack of enthusiasm for the morning would put me in a bad mood, and all I would think was, “Thanks for ruining my day.”
This conundrum really isn’t about who is a morning person or not. It is about me allowing others moods to dictate or change my mood.
It took me a long time to understand that even though our relationship is personal, I didn’t need to take it on as my own. I can’t control how others act but I can control what I take on from others.
That concept seems simple, but for an insecure person who suffers from anxiety, let’s just say it felt like you were asking me to climb Mount Everest.
This started early in my childhood and continued to my adult life with my own family. While it might seem so easy to see for some, for me it was hard to see. My family had been in turmoil so long that every minute of everyday was taken personally. It was impossible for me to see that some behaviors had nothing to do with me. I was so unsettled that I took on all the responsibility of each persons happiness as my job, because I wanted my family to be happy so I could be happy. The more I felt responsible, the crazier I got. The crazier I got, the more my family reacted, and the cycle continued.
On a daily and sometimes hourly basis I fight the urge to suggest, correct, and guide at every turn to ensure that my family may have the best possible experience.
As I sit writing this my sons 16 and 14 are off on their own skiing at a stunning Utah slope. I issued what I believed were some basic guidelines hoping that they listened; Stay together, be patient and empathetic to each other, and please don’t go stupid, we don’t want to end the season on the first day.
In retrospect I wondered did I issue those words so they would be safe, or was it about my desire to avoid having them both show up bitching about what the other did, and they would kill my mood? Honestly I am not sure.
However even before I finished my little speech, one of my lovely children had the audacity to roll his eyes, and truthfully at that moment, it sent me right back into my old patterned reaction to allow it to effect my mood, and I have the tendency to go to right to angry. I immediately thought, You my son are a total dick. I bought you a season pass, rented season equipment, drive you to the resort, and you can’t allow me a little grace?
I am frustrated with myself that I can go back to those emotions and reactions so quickly. When this happens I feel like a therapy failure, I know I am the adult and have to take the higher ground, and not get sucked in, but it feels so personal, and that makes it so hard.
I have spent the better part of my almost 50 years operating like this, taking on other people’s junk, my parents, siblings, husband and kids. It is a pretty sucky way to live your life. It was and can still be exhausting, but I am learning. I am a happy person, I am an optimist, a total glass half full kind of person. I believe that almost anything is possible, and as a result will continually try at something even when told, it’s not possible. And guess what at least half the time it doesn’t work out, but I still feel a sense of accomplishment for trying.
So for today my goal is to be kind to myself and realize that patterns are hard to break and that I too should give myself some grace. And remember, to allow yourself some grace as well.