When I started thinking about the storms and boats, I visualized the type of boat I might like to be on right now. There were several I DID NOT want to be on during our current “storm”…the SS Minnow, the Titanic, the Hindenburg, etc. But, I do love the ship that America’s sweetheart, Shirley Temple sang about…the Good Ship lollipop.
Our BBS Good Ship Lollipop crew is weathering this storm, TOGETHER. Without my trusty crew, our ship would surely sink. Here are a few thoughts on how YOU can make it to the port of your choice…
What you can NOT control: The virus…the behavior of others…the opinions and beliefs of others.
What you CAN control: You…and your reaction to the behavior, opinions, and beliefs of others.
The only thing you actually control is YOU…your own actions and reactions…your own thoughts…your own behavior, opinions, and beliefs…and your own mindset.
Think about it…you have had a long journey to become you. You’ve had experiences…good and bad. You’ve had influential people that helped mold you. You’ve read books, watched movies, and had all manner of life experiences.
You have invested a LIFETIME into becoming you.
Have you ever met anyone that believed and felt EXACTLY like you do about EVERYTHING? I haven’t…and I don’t ever want to. We ALL have differences…which is what I have found to be one of the most beautiful things about life. And, I have come to believe that how we act and react to our differences reveals a lot about our character.
I’ve seen friendships lost over something as trivial as differing opinions about a sports team or a style of decorating. And, I’ve seen friendship groups that had been together and supportive of one another for years, blown apart by a 7 minute conversation about politics…it was tragic and senseless, and I vowed that I would never let that happen again within any group that I was a part of.
None of us have ever experienced this before. There are so many voices shouting so many different things to us on tv, via the internet, and over social media. And they’re just getting louder and meaner and scarier…and if you’re not with us, you’re against us…and if you’re against us, we hate you…and…omg…STOP IT!
I have a confession to make…I asked Big Spoon to take the facebook app off my phone. Yes, for real. I’m not leaving facebook…I just came to realize how much of my anxiety was coming from the battle raging there. It wasn’t constructive…it wasn’t helpful…and it was damaging me.
Do you know what heals me? Sunshine…deep breaths of fresh air…walking with a friend…helping someone that needs something I can provide…falling asleep with my head on Big Spoon’s chest…seeing that I’m making a positive impact on someone…bringing people together…skates that light up…beagles…handwritten notes…helping my son make thanksgiving dinner, in April…dance-off’s with my parents…laughing hysterically at my bloopers while trying to film for the BBS website…the unconditional love and support that I’ve felt from so many of YOU…and many, many more things…
I don’t control the content on facebook…I do control my time. I’m not going to spend any of my time on things that divide us…I’m going to spend my time on things that bring us together. And, when we’re together, you will, too (or we won’t be spending time together). We all know that this time is “uncertain” and “unprecedented” …and it’s putting a spotlight on all of the things we do not control. Which means it’s the perfect time to focus on the things we can control.
Spending precious energy telling people why they’re behavior, opinions, beliefs, and/or actions are wrong…and that they should behave, think, believe, and act like YOU tell them to…is a recipe for frustration (and conflict).
How would you feel if someone told YOU that? Would you want to punch them in the face? Yeah…me, too….
So, please remember my rules prohibiting discussions of politics or religion at our gatherings…and read this “borrowed” segment from Melissa Urban, creator of the Whole30 Program:
Embrace what you can control.
There is a LONG list of things you can’t control right now, but there is one thing you can always control—how you choose to respond.. It’s not easy, and you may not even like me saying it, but you can always choose to be grateful… or even happy. Mindset is everything, and choosing happiness is a skill you can strengthen with practice.
Same Storm, Different Boats.
Someone who looks unstressed, unbothered, and uncaring (“why aren’t you taking this seriously?”) may be barely holding it together, faking composure so they don’t fall apart. The person wearing the mask outside at the park (“overreact much?”) may be pregnant, immuno-compromised, or caring for someone sick at home. We can’t possibly know everything happening in other people’s lives… and it’s not really our business anyway.
You can’t control how other people behave, but you can set boundaries around your own health and safety with neighbors, family and friends. “I understand you are choosing to socialize right now. For my own peace of mind, my family is choosing to continue to shelter-in-place, so we won’t be able to spend time with you yet.” This is not punitive, it’s a boundary set for the good of the relationship.
Continue to Give Other Humans a Longer Rope.
Everyone is struggling with the uncertainty and stress of this time, and that we can’t possibly know other people’s circumstances, challenges, or motivations. I believe that people are making difficult decisions that may not make sense to me, but obviously make sense to them. Let’s continue to find compassion… and if needed, get the heck off social media or turn off the news for the rest of the day.
Yours in Peace, Love, Happiness, and Beagles, Christy
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