Nothing Will Go Away Until It Teaches Us What We Need To Know

Running away from my problems used to be my favorite coping mechanism.

I can still fall prey to this old bad habit; I’ll hope people who bother me will disappear, or I will leave situations when I’m uncomfortable.  However, every time I do this the same people pop back up, and the same situations manifest in a different way… over and over again.

It’s a fact.

I could write about endless examples, but there’s one I have in mind which was so bitterly uncomfortable that I’m still surprised I got through it.  When I had a difficult roommate, I obviously thought the solution was to move.  To run away.  Despite receiving the silent treatment for weeks, I didn’t leave- and get this:

I was kind.

I still said “excuse me” when we would pass each other in the hallway, and I still tried to be considerate despite her obvious distaste for me.  Although I really had no idea what I had done wrong, I didn’t cower or run away- but I did later learn she had been secretly drinking.

It wasn’t even me that was the problem.

Old Kristin would have run away to avoid the feelings of rejection, discomfort, and anger- but New Kristin dealt with the situation, stuck to her guns, and now has a much better living situation because she stuck with it.

Completing things you started can be difficult- especially for someone like me who hates to be uncomfortable.  If you were to ask me in an interview today if I am a “team player,” I would probably stop lying and tell them I work best independently.  The truth is, I’m not a team player- I’m one of those kids who got frustrated in school and did the entire project themselves.  As a control freak and type-A person, I kept trying to do everything myself, over and over again, and do it MY way.

But those bad roommates will keep coming along, and so will team assignments.  It’s up to you to choose how to handle them today.

Maybe I do work best independently, and I look forward to the day I don’t have roommates anymore.  Nevertheless, as long as I remain teachable and willing to put down my ego and learn to live life differently than I used to, I’ll be just fine.

Isolating Feels Good Until It Doesn’t

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been in major loner isolation mode.

At first, it felt good.  It was nice to go home after work and relax.  I liked saying no to invitations.

It seemed like self-care to go on long walks with no one to answer to.  I enjoyed getting a morning croissant by myself and eating it alone in the park.

Then, people start wondering what’s wrong.  They start worrying about you.  But nothing’s wrong; you’re just enjoying your own time.

But are you?

Even now, sometimes I am still scared to connect with people.

There’s a fine line between isolation and spending quality time by yourself.  For me, I just realized it may be becoming a problem when I feel anxiety about responding to people who care about me.

But lately, I’ve just needed a break.  To reset.  To recharge.  To decompress.

But now that I’ve recharged, I feel a little bit empty.

That discontent feeling I now have is a sign that I need more balance.  My alone time is important to me, but connecting with others is important too.  Sometimes I forget that it isn’t all about me, either- sometimes other people need help.  They care about me.  They miss me.

Sometimes it’s still hard for me to accept that.

For years it seemed easier to try to do everything on my own, so letting other people in is a big change for me.  It’s uncomfortable.  But, I’m working on it.

This week, my goal is to break out of my shell a bit more- and maybe even go get a croissant with another person.

When You Aren’t Feeling Grateful

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Gratitude is a huge part of my daily life.  There isn’t a moment I don’t notice something- anything- that brings me joy or makes me feel grounded.

Sometimes that isn’t enough, though.

Sometimes you just feel agitated.

Maybe your roommate left passive aggressive notes in the bathroom, or maybe someone pushed past you on the train.  There are endless reasons for you to roll your eyes at the people in your life, society norms, or just the mere thought of human existence (it can’t just be me, right?).  We all have those days; and that’s okay.

That’s when you need to practice self love.

Don’t beat yourself up for your bad mood- give yourself a break.  Be kind to yourself when you’re irritable.  Do something extra special- even if it’s just stopping for your favorite latte.  These little things add up- and soon you’ll forget about the other little things that brought you down.

Whether it’s a phone call from a friend or a beautiful bouquet of flowers, remember- it’s the little things in life that bring the most joy.

Even when you’re not feeling upbeat or grateful, those simple pleasures will bring you back.

💕