Updated: Feb 11, 2021
The other day my therapist said to me: "No, it's not your job, you don't have to be responsible for everyone and everything." Smotherin' Suckatash, she gets me.
I have a natural inclination to help others but in times of stress it turns into micromanaging everyone and everything. You know when you were a kid and your friend wrapped a blanket around your head and pinned you down? You screamed and thrashed, but they just kept on holding you down and wouldn't let you out...Yeah, I HATED that. Well, I'm now that friend metaphorically speaking. Dang it!
The worst part is, I've created an awareness around this and felt like I had made progress. But, when my therapist said that, I realized I had just transferred my neurosis to a new subject. It's like I'm not micromanaging my family so much, great, only now this. Change is hard and our brains (tricky buggers) are programmed to make things easy on us so we can focus on survival stuff. In this case my brain decided that it's much easier to try to change external things (people, circumstances, etc.) than it is to create change internally. Duh, because changing myself is hard flipping work. There is literally nothing glorious about looking at and owning your stuff, period.
THIS is why mindfulness is so incredibly important. If we don't spend time every.single.day. cultivating our thoughts, then we're likely to get stuck in unhelpful or even harmful thought patterns. As stress and uncertainty arises we'll fall back to our default settings (anger, control, binge eating, excessive drinking; etc) which will likely create more difficulty for ourselves. On the other hand, if we spend time daily cultivating self awareness, practicing mindfulness and working to create new thought patterns, then we can begin to choose new ways of handling ourselves. We can be intentional with our actions...we won't waste precious time and energy trying to change things outside of our control. And we'll give the people in our lives the dignity to do what they deem is best for themselves; regardless of how dumb it might actually be (I kid, I kid, whaaaat?!).
Perhaps not ironically, I haven't been meditating every day and my journaling has been more business oriented. I felt my anxiety rising but allowed myself to fall prey to the excuse "I don't have the time." There's a saying I once read, "when you don't have time to meditate, meditate more." In other words, the more you feel stressed, the more you need to slow down. And the more wild your thoughts are running, the more time you need to spend addressing them. This is essential because our thoughts become our feelings, our feelings become our behaviors, and our behaviors determine our outcomes.
Now, I'm going to be honest. I'm not quite ready to let this situation I'm currently micromanaging go, but I know that I have to. My heart races when I think about loosening my vice grip, but it's the only way to keep architecting the best version of me. And lord knows my future, healed self will be so.much.better. for me AND all of you who I so lovingly smother. You're welcome ;)
Thanks for reading,
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; accepting hardship as a way to peace..." -Serenity Prayer