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A few weeks ago I had a hard day consisting of the normal school drop offs, running errands, cooking meals and what not. I once heard Brene Brown say that she is equally as ambitious about her personal life as she is about her professional life. Well, that is me!
My school drop offs consist of singing songs to my children, meals are home cooked (for the most part), we practice no media six days a week. So you can only imagine how exhausted I felt by the end of the day. After finally putting the kids to sleep, I started thinking about all the things I still had to get done for work - and by the way, it's 9:00pm now.
As I walk downstairs to eat some dinner (yes, I haven't even eaten yet!), I overhear Dean talking on the phone and laughing. All of a sudden I am livid and I can feel my heart beating faster and faster. He senses this shift in me and asks what's wrong, to which I respond with a passive aggressive "Nothing" as I avoid eye contact, grab my food and head upstairs to eat in privacy.
I have been working on my mental health for a while now so I have learned to recognize when I have been triggered. One of my favorite self-regulating tools is journaling. So, I pulled out my journal and started writing everything down. And it was then that I realized I wasn't actually mad at Dean. Dean just finished a 12+ hour work day and he absolutely deserved to unwind and enjoy a conversation on the phone.
You know who I was mad at?
Let me explain: I grew up in a world that glamorizes productivity and achievement. Not sleeping is considered sexy. Resting is not valued. Sound familiar?
Well, it's no wonder that I got triggered when I saw Dean having some fun and relaxing. It is not because he was doing anything wrong. It is because I actually wanted to do what he is doing. I wanted to unwind and do nothing. Without guilt. Without resistance. Without the addicting itch to get something done.
So, when I realized this, I automatically started feeling grateful. Grateful for my journal, for this moment, for this realization. And I felt myself getting calmer. And you know what I did?
I didn't do any work. Instead, I did one of my favorite forms of self-care - I read a book. And it was the most productive thing I did that week.
Had I not had a tough day, or been triggered by Dean, I would have never unpacked my discomfort with rest and relaxation.
Now that I can see it, I can heal it.
I am grateful for giving myself the permission to slow down every single day. And I am committed to seeking gratitude at my hardest moments because that is when the magic happens.
My Outer-Self: B.S. from USC in Industrial & Systems Engineering, owner of Amna Dance, Co-founder of Hatch Brighter and You Matter Too.