Yesterday I realized I often feel critical of myself when I feel annoyed or upset with situations in my life. I can be looking around finding all the things that need doing or haven’t been done feeling frustrated with the situation, but then it can easily devolve into feeling frustrated with how I feel about the situation. Which is even more immobilizing than the situation itself because than I have to spend my energy protecting myself from my self-critiquing instead of figuring out how to best address the situation that is bothering me.
The dialogue in my head could easily sound like this:
“The dishes are not washing themselves. Why doesn’t anyone else do them more often? Ugh. So annoying, I’ll have to do that later. Oh, stop whining. You know how you sound? Just do the dishes. Or don’t, but it’s bad to feel frustrated, so just stop that.”
I want to edit myself into a person who doesn’t get annoyed, frustrated, or upset with things that happen, don’t happen, should happen, or have to happen.
But all these feelings are completely normal. Life has a way of being more work and less straightforward than I expect it to, but there’s really no way to avoid feeling feelings I might deem unexemplary nor can I shame myself into different feelings.
I could change my attitude, count my blessings, make new routines with more help included, etc. But while all of that helps, forcibly ignoring feelings of frustration and annoyance tends to lead to latent rage against the planet. Some of you think I’m exaggerating, but some of you know exactly what I mean.
So instead I want to start practicing a little more grace with myself in how I am experiencing my life. Now that I see what I’m doing I can switch up my running commentary to have a little more empathy (is it really empathy when you’re talking to yourself?) and acceptance. It might take a little practice to insert pauses of kindness in my self-talk, but I think it might be worth it.
Maybe something like this:
“The dishes are not washing themselves. ugh. so annoying. <This is frustrating. That’s ok. Anyone would be frustrated right now.> Why doesn’t anyone else do the dishes? <Well, so and so did such and such yesterday. It sounds like you need more help though. You can ask for more help. It’s ok.> You sound so whiny. <It’s ok. You’re feeling tired, overwhelmed, and frustrated. It happens. You’ll feel better soon. You don’t have to do this right now.>”
Because feeling all the feelings is ok. Just feel them. Sometimes you can pause and figure out why you feel ridiculous. Sometimes you can’t. Sometimes you just have to treat yourself like a little kid and say “It’s ok. It’s ok to feel how you feel. You’ll feel better soon. It’s not forever.”
And I’m guessing if I can figure this out for myself it will be much easier to share with my kids and help them when they’re feeling all the feelings, too.
Happy Monday, People. I hope this helps you too! <3