7. Be not grumpy
Are you also annoyed by the fact that small little things get to you? You are looking for something it is not where it is supposed to be. Or the children leave all their stuff at the dining table. Or they have not put the cloths in the basket on laundry day. But why does this small stuff get you angry? Is it really that important? And why would it be okay to be unfriendly to somebody about it? All day in the work environment you try to be at your best behaviour. I call this the professional modus. At the same time at home you would like things to run smoothly. By the way, it doesn’t feel very smooth when you stumble over dirty socks. I guess that perfectionism is most of the time serving you well. The professional modus of always being composed, friendly, serious and hard-working is seen as a good trade and earns results that get complemented. But at what cost?
Let’s start with getting to the positive of this. It is one thing to say be NOT grumpy, but what am I going to be in stead? Be more patiënt, be more foregiving, be more enquiring? But if the situation is getting to you, what will change the situation? If those things didn’t happen, there would be no reason to get grumpy, right? Really?
One of the big lessons I learned is that if you are not happy with the situation, don’t wait for anybody else to change, or the circumstances to change. You can moan about it, because you are annoyed, feel like you are the only one that again needs to resolve this, or just because you feel too tired to lift your feet. The grumpiness pushes people away and you will only feel more lonely in your struggle. No, you are the one that needs to start the change.
What helped me enormously is getting more healthy and fit, see blogpost 5. When I started changing my habits I became more aware of what I was doing and this helped me reflect on why this happened. When I couldn’t find my gloves and was pretty sure my daughter took them without asking. In stead of saying: Can you gave me my gloves back!” I asked: ” Do you know where my gloves are?”. I am stil practicing this inquire style. It does feel beter to me, because I at least am not blaming someone for no reason. And it feels more like asking for help, which I do not do often enough. If I get stuck in a computer program, and I would normale try to resolve things ten times and get furious, I now would try three times, take a break before I get really annoyed and come back to it later with a fresh mind. Often I would find the solution quite quickly. But overall the biggest change was to just expres what my feelings were: “I am really hungry, tired or sad and that is why I don’t feel so well. Can you please help me fix this, or tidy it up, so …..” You find out that people do care for you and are more then willing to help, especially if you ask for it in a NICE way.
So what is the relation with the professional modus? I do think that during the work day, you hold in all kinds of emotions. If being composed and professional is important, you learn to deal with whatever comes your way. And in the type of work I had it can be very unpleasant things. Also work for me was a distraction. It felt good to be busy rather than being all sad and alone. Especially when my husband was ill and after he passed away. This seems all good and great as long as it lasts, but at home you can drop that ‘mask’ or the build up of emotions and tiredness is so much that you need to let off some steam. And then the stupid little things get you. And you are grumpy about nothing important.
With all the tension that had build up in my body over a long long period of time, this was off course not immediately gone after 6 weeks of sabbatical. And if I could not change the situation, or only partially influence it, one thing I could do is change the perspective on that situation. It was really hard to do it, when I was in the middle of it. I was sometimes able to talk to myself and say: ” Let go, it is not important.”. But especially now I notice that I try to at least park it and then see if it comes back up in my meditations. It may be that I felt that I had reacted the wrong way. And it would start with looking for acceptance about what is that is. Start with forgiving yourself for not being perfect. Often times a clue would come up about how to respond the next time or if there was a need to go back to that persoon to talk about it. The other thing was not to worry about the future and get worked up about it. Preparing for a lunchtalk ideas would come up about how it would go. I just focus on what I needed to do to prepare and focus on my breathing again. The good thing was that I started to notice that during this meditation I had a good clarity of mind and it started to get easier to see solutions and move on.
This is a journey, but I am committed to get closer to my feelings and strive for being a friendly, care, loving person, without compromising my integrity. Please come back to read how things develop.