Monday, October 28, 2013

getting rid of the "shoulds"


 I'm realizing that one of the benefits of running is that it is a time when I am doing something that feels good and productive (exercise! yay!) AND doesn't require a lot of brainpower, so I can let my thoughts wander. Which means I get the time and space to work and think through things that I otherwise wouldn't have the time or freedom for. It turns out this can be amazingly important.

I've been in a funk lately, just feeling tired and grumpy and getting irritated at the house and the boys and everything. And worst of all, getting irritated at myself for it, which is actively unhelpful in trying to snap out of this sort of a mood. Then this morning I went for a run that helped me think through why I've been feeling crappy, and then I spent some time hanging out with a dear friend who listened to me gripe and then he said some smart things in reply, and I realized that the biggest issue I'm dealing with (or one of them) is that I've been "should"-ing all over myself. Or, perhaps more accurately, "should not"-ing.

I should not feel this tired.
I should not be this irritated.
I should not be losing my patience and snapping at the boys this much.
I should feel refreshed after that awesome trip I just took. on and so forth.

This is not a good pattern. And it's really, really dumb to try to talk yourself out of things like feeling tired. That's not how these things work. So, the first step is to cut out the "shoulds" and just allow myself to feel whatever I'm feeling (this article also really hit home). Focusing on this today, letting myself be more patient with myself as well as with my kids, feels like it made a big difference.

The second step is realizing that I may be feeling emotionally drained because I'm not replenishing my cup, so to speak. So, I'm gonna try to work on that.

Sort-of related: I haven't done a "my wild things" photo post in a while-- first I was out of town, then I'd just gotten back into town and didn't get my stuff together to post in time, and this week, well, part of letting go of the "shoulds" is knowing when something like a photo challenge helps spark creativity and when it feels like another stressor on the to-do list. I want to get back into it for next week, but this was just not a good week for it. And that's ok.

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