like a wisp of paper in a thunderstorm

The past week, and especially this past weekend have been very busy for me.  On top of all the regular stuff that I have trouble staying on top of, there has been lots of extra stuff to do.  When I haven’t carved out time to center myself, read, exercise, rest, or get quiet time to myself I start to feel anxious, emotional, exhausted, and unsettled.  Everything feels wrong to me and I have a hard time deciding what is important or not.  I have a hard time figuring out if I should or shouldn’t be upset about a particular event.  This actually happened this weekend, and after three days I finally talked about it with Brad, since it had to do with him.  You would think that a normal person would know… either I am upset, or I am not.  It’s not been that easy for me because I have a hard time trusting myself and my feelings.  I am so much better than I was… but give me a crazy week, some kind of virus, and no down time with lots of expectations of myself and I might revert back to my crazy ways.  I am holding on this time (trying to anyway), and I keep telling myself  “Ally, you don’t feel well.  It will get better and you’ll be able to see things clearer then.  Don’t overreact and upset yourself needlessly”.  And then I think “But shouldn’t I just deal with this now?  Either talk about it or let it go, don’t just let it sit there”.  And so I did talk about it, nicely, and it helped. 

And this leads me to mission statement point #5 – Don’t be blown about by every wind.  It’s actually a title of a chapter in a book I am reading, or rather re-reading.  I’ve been thinking a lot about trying not to overreact to things.  Not everything is a big deal and I don’t need to make an issue out of something that isn’t.  It’s not helpful to make mountains out of mole hills (although, I admit moles can be very annoying.)  I’m not saying they shouldn’t be addressed, but this is more about the way I handle those parts of life.  Trying to not be so reactionary.  I don’t need to forfeit my peace to every incident that blows my way. 

I became more aware a couple of years ago that my emotional sensitivity was both helpful and harmful.  I can usually read people in my environment well, I can be empathetic, I can be compassionate.  But I also tend to absorb people’s emotions in a way that is not beneficial to me.   In the past I would let myself be emotionally jerked around and it is a stressful way to live. 

My favorite passage from this chapter is:

“When we react we forfeit our personal, God-given power to think, feel, and behave in our best interests.  We allow others to determine when we will be happy; when we will be peaceful; when we will be upset; and what we will say, do, think, and feel.  We forfeit our right to feel peaceful at the whim of our environments.  We are like a wisp of paper in a thunderstorm, blown about by every wind.”

– Melody Beattie

I’ve never really enjoyed drama.  I didn’t participate in high school girl drama, I didn’t participate in workplace drama, and I really don’t like to see it in my personal relationships.   Why then do I allow so much of it to exist inside my mind?  Well, I am just learning now… how to stop.    It’s probably going to be a long journey.

The books suggestions on how to stop destructive reacting (in my own words)

1.  Be aware of when you are reacting

2. Don’t make decisions until you feel balanced, do what ever you need to do to restore a sense of peace first

3. Examine what happened – either on your own or talk to someone who can help you

4. Take care of yourself, and also take care of what you need to do

So there it is folks, that’s number 5.  I don’t know how many more there will be, I’ll have to see how it goes.  I have to say though that since I started this project, these points have been incredibly helpful.  When I didn’t want to keep going, I was able to focus on what I had decided was important to me.  They are often in my mind, but even more so when life is hard.  There are only five, but I think there is an awful lot packed into those five and I will probably spend a very long time working on them.


13 thoughts on “like a wisp of paper in a thunderstorm

  1. I strongly recognise the bit about absorbing other people’s emotional energy. There’s some really good stuff in this posting which I’m sure many of us could benefit from adopting. The book sounds fascinating, and definitely one I’d like to read if you can give me the title and author.

    love and hugs xxx

    • Ally says:

      hi elle, I’d be happy to tell you…. The book is by Melody Beattie, she’s written a few books on codependancy. The title of the book is Codependancy No More. It’s been a life saver the past two years. I’ve learned SO much from it.

  2. Mick says:

    One of the most important attributes of leadership is the ability to keep from reacting. It has taken me a long time to learn this, even after I knew it.

    • Ally says:

      Mick, It’s a tough skill, isn’t it? Especially when it’s something that comes so naturally. I suspect it will take me some time develop that ability too.

  3. Sara says:

    Ally, you’re working on some really important life stuff! I am familiar with Melody Beattie, and yes, she has some really helpful concepts to share. I think what you’re doing is awesome, and it’s great how it played out between you and Brad!

  4. moise says:

    Every word you wrote is sooo true, this is something Daddy’s been trying to get mouse to see…

    Big hugs,

  5. mouse says:

    Aaaaaaarrrg! Can’t believe mouse misspelled her own name….stupid autocorrect!

  6. Kady says:

    Thank you for sharing, Ally. It encouraged me to focus on what’s important and to act, not re-act to issues in life.


  7. Audra says:

    Ally~ such a great post! I am still working on not reacting! It is especially hard with my family! I have had situations when I was completely right and flipped them to me being in the wrong simply because of my flip out reaction! Ugh.

    Thanks for this great reminder! 🙂

  8. Ally, I like hearing your conversation with yourself about whether or not to say anything. I find myself having a lot of those same kinds of conversations. It’s as though we have to assess each and every time we want to react b/c each situation can be different. We have to consider our own emotions, our own reactionary patterns and so many things about the other person(s) involved too. It sounds like you’re really getting to know yourself and it’s getting easier to make these kinds of decisions. I like that you decided to say something. Most times I think that’s the best, but it can make such a difference “how” we say things. Thanks for sharing all of these words of wisdom. *Hugs*

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