Friday, February 1, 2013

The New Normal

I remember a time, not long ago, when I had to think about every reaction I had before I could decide whether to go for it or not. Something would happen and rather than "doing what came naturally," I would need to pass it through a filter, one that said, "Is this something over which I have any control? If it isn't, I need to let go of it!!" 

It felt awkward. I wasn't used to living like this. However, eventually I got to see some positive results, which motivated me to keep doing it. And, in some cases, the new behavior patters slowly superseded the old ones and I didn't have to think or be intentional about my responses to things. 

Responding instead of reacting started being the "new normal."  Then I started not even noticing that I was doing anything differently than before - unless someone else called attention to it. 

That's what happened yesterday. I forget most of the details, but there was a situation at home where someone wanted to discuss something that was quite uncomfortable for me because it involved me expressing an opinion I knew would not be well-received, risking losing my cool and saying something I would regret. In the past I would have clammed up, not said anything, let someone else speak for me, or I would have held it all in and then exploded, leaving emotional wreckage behind. 

However, that's not what happened. I made it clear that I didn't want to discuss the topic, but I realized that this was NOT something I could wriggle out of!! So ... I let my feelings be known in a respectful way, and I didn't fly off the handle doing it. I listened, accepted what I needed to, spoke my mind and then let the rest go. I didn't lash out, I didn't shoot a biting, sarcastic remark out there and stalk off, and I did navigate the conversation without hurting anyone's feelings or working myself into a lather. 

I got through it and then I forgot it. Just like that.

The next day, I heard about a conversation that an observer in the situation had with my hubby about how much I had changed in the last few years. She then started to outline the way I would have reacted and behaved before I started on my journey of inner healing. 

Her observations really kind of floored me ... not because they weren't true - they were - but because I'd come to expect the way I responded to the situation as "the new normal." It had become part of me to the point where I didn't have to think through every moment, every remark. 

That is encouraging. It gives me hope ... because I see how far I have left to go in this journey ... that someday I will look around at emotionally lush pastures and sunny skies, able to accept and to give help from and to those who need it and from whom I need to receive it. 

It'll probably take a while. Yet - I'll get there. . . one day at a time.

No comments:

Post a Comment