I had a moment yesterday.
There was a potentially stressful situation I’d agreed to put myself in. One that could cause me to get overly emotional or angry or upset.
Having written previously about how emotions can have a disproportionate effect on my physical wellbeing, and drain my already delicate internal battery really quickly, this was a real test of whether I could heed my own advice.
I talk the talk on this blog. But could I walk the walk?
I decided to wait until now to write this blog, partly so I wouldn’t use up too much energy last night, but also so I could sleep on what happened and be more reflective than reactionary about it.
And the verdict is in. I did well!
Without going into details of ‘the situation’ it involved a summit with a couple of family members with whom my relationship has broken down for myriad reasons.
It would have been easy to get wound up, to turn the meet into an angry confrontation, and for the whole unfolding situation to inject stress and pain into my body.
Instead, I arrived at the meeting having calmly reminded myself of some basics: that my valuable internal battery needs protecting, that worry is pointless, that heightened emotions make me very unwell, and that I shouldn’t feel guilty about protecting myself.
And so, as I walked into the cafe where we met, I had resolved to be civil, to be firm but fair, and to be completely honest.
This meant personal questions I would have ordinarily felt awkward about asking in a public place didn’t feel awkward. It meant if something was on my mind and I wanted to ask it, I asked it. It meant if my answer didn’t feel like the words I thought they’d want to hear but were the truth, I just spoke them.
I didn’t worry about the consequence of any of this. Instead, I celebrated the joy of being completely honest (in a polite way), and knew that however the meeting ended, I hadn’t fudged what I was thinking or left things I wanted to say unsaid.
In terms of ‘the situation’, it proved to be unresolvable. But I was expecting that. It is a relationship breakdown bound up in so many complicated issues and factors. One short sit-down wasn’t going to fix it. But at least we both know how each other feels. That’s progress.
Walking away and heading home I felt calm. I felt content that I’d got my point across and that I’d challenged anything I felt inaccurate or unfair in the conversation.
I felt satisfied by my honesty. And I was pleased that I had ditched any worry or guilt about what others may think. That is just wasted energy that has a damaging physical effect on me.
It was my biggest test yet of a difficult situation and, a day on, I feel physically and mentally fine.
As I reflect on the past year and all the silly things I’ve worried about, and all the guilt I’ve carried about being unwell and unable to do things, I am able to smile knowing I’m making real progress in looking after ‘me’.
The more we can all remove the self-imposed harm we inflict on ourselves through silly thoughts and actions, the more we can focus on being the best we can be.