I was called; “Spunky!” and “Wonderfully sarcastic” in our monthly staff meeting today by different people. These are two adjectives that aren’t typically used when referring to me. My anxiety has spiked the last couple of weeks and one of the lessons I’ve learned in therapy is when my anxiousness and worry are at their peaks the chinks and cracks in my socially acceptable, presentable, self are revealed.
Similar to a kettle of water letting off steam my anxiety shows itself as excitable and irritable. I mask it in spunkiness (hyperactivity) and sarcastic remarks (combative). As soon as I left the meeting today I could tell what was happening and went somewhere to walk around and burn off the pent-up energy.
One of the questions I’ve been taught to ask clients is; “What’s happening?” instead of; “Why are you this way?” The inquiry gives insight into a person’s internal world instead of focusing on the external. It also allows for a suspension of judgment and diagnosis allowing the specialist and the client to see beyond the symptoms.
Instead of labeling someone as difficult, challenging, a troublemaker, or disgruntled we need an understanding of who they are not just what they do.
Several weeks ago, just before a staff meeting, I noticed a “Stink Bug” on some papers I was holding. “Look!” I exclaimed. My supervisor came over quickly and said; “Don’t kill it!” Gently she cupped her hands around this angular, brown, strange looking, unattractive, insect and took it outside, free from harm. We then went on with our meeting.
I’ve thought about this several times since it happened and am still impressed with her kindness and compassion over a bug whose very name carries with it a stigma of not being worth saving, even likable.
This past year has been one of name calling, caustic labeling, attacking others for different beliefs, lifestyles, and choices. From top to bottom, left to right, and most in between, we can’t seem to resist, accusing, judging, and shoving our brothers and sisters into boxes and slamming the lid shut.
Perhaps this New Year we can resolve to label less and love more.
One of the presents Beth received at her family’s Christmas celebration was a light that afixes to the rim of a toilet and illuminates the bowl with different colors. Everything in the bowl is also seen in a whole new light.
An expression I heard often growing up was; “Let’s put a little light on the subject!” In other words look more closely at a situation, problem, study from different angles, understand what you’re dealing with and you’re halfway to solving it.
However, not everything is solvable. There are some issues, challenges, and difficulties, that look the same no matter how much light you put on them or what color.
Wisdom is knowing what needs greater attention and what should simply be flushed out of our lives.
I will light candles this Christmas
Candles of joy, despite all the sadness,
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch.
Candles of courage where fear is ever present,
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens.
Candles of love to inspire all my living.
Candles that will burn all the year long.