I've come to the conclusion that it's okay to be "not fine."
When people ask me how I'm doing lately, I don't rattle off a list of complaints and observations, sad feelings and grievances - as a matter of fact, I just might say, "I'm okay." However, I admit that within myself things are NOT fine and try to work through the feelings that creates.
I don't need to share with others all of the time. It's good to vent to a friend and I don't discount that. But, I've learned that I'd better vent with myself and acknowledge my feelings or I, like a balloon with too much air, will POP.
Embrace the good and the not so good in your life. Don't run from it or try to bury it.
By doing this; by saying to myself that I am NOT fine right now, I can work through my feelings more easily.
How do I do it? It's taken me while to figure it out and I don't have all the answers. But, 'self allowance' is very important.
I'm not advocating DWELLING in your problems. I'm suggesting that you allow yourself to FEEL. The world isn't always sunshine and smiles and if you try to force yourself into that very high, unrealistic expectation, you'll eventually POP!
I've done it, so I know.
You've got to let some air out of your balloon.
Give the air to God.
So, I acknowledge and embrace these parts of myself right now. I allow myself to feel hurt and cry. I turn to God for help and guidance and I ask for more strength.
Here are some examples:
My heart is ripped apart over the fact that my fiance's Dad has just been diagnosed with cancer. I HATE being in the hospital seeing him suffer. I DETEST the fear that I feel and see and smell. I want to fall apart when I see the pain in my fiance eyes. I am NOT okay with this. It hurts, and it hurts a lot. I cannot always be the pillar of strength I have expected myself to be. I lose it sometimes and I am finally saying to myself that it's okay to do that. I ask God to help me. I need His strength so that I can be strong.
If I don't, my balloon will pop.
I can't always 'be there' without replenishing my resources. I don't have unlimited strength. I need time alone to embrace myself and my needs. I have to re-charge my batteries so that I CAN be there for others. I cannot do it alone. I am not meant to be the 'Energizer Bunny' because I am human.
It DOES get to me when I see a patient in a hospital being mistreated and I DO CARE and I WILL do something about it no matter what anyone else says. Example: I saw a man being wheeled by one nurse, while the other tagged behind with his I.V. The nurse with the I.V. stopped and the other kept going. Obviously this resulted in a lot of discomfort for the patient as the lines got tangled around his neck. He had to say, "Hey, what are you doing?" The nurses laughed. I had to let air out of my balloon. It was wrong. I couldn't keep still and silently watch this. The man's pillow fell to the floor and the nurses were too busy laughing to realize the patient was struggling to get comfortable. Finally, one of them saw the pillow and plunked it BESIDE his head, not under it. They didn't CARE and that bothered me. My balloon was filling fast. How did I let some air out? I took action. I did what I knew was right in my gut. I walked up behind the man and said, while grabbing his pillow, "Do you need help with this?"
"Yes," he replied.
Big deal. I put the pillow under his head and he was comfortable. He doesn’t know whether I was a nurse or a stranger. It doesn't matter. He felt better and so did I. I helped, BUT why didn't the nurses?
I won't settle for that anymore. I can't save the world, but I can do my part.
That's letting air out of my balloon, too.
I've learned that when life gets too heavy, it doesn't mean you're WEAK if you admit it. It took a long time for me to get there. Tears don't equate to weakness. They are God's way of allowing you to cleanse your soul. I always had this crazy idea that if you can't handle things, you're weak. That's bologna.
That's what God is for.
So, let air out of your balloon. Cry if you have to. Help if you feel it's needed but are afraid of doing it. Voice a complaint if you have one. Allow yourself to 'be'. Let yourself know that you need to recharge once in a while and accept the fact that it's okay to let the injustices you see bother you. More importantly, do something about them if you can. Accept that you get tired and need to nurture yourself, too. If you're running around caring for others, know that it's draining and that there's only so much you can take before your balloon starts to fill too much. Don't punish yourself for needing rest. REST. Let go of the guilt. Guilt fills balloons very quickly.
If a balloon has the right amount of air in it, it's beautiful, light, floating, colorful and vibrant. Just like you.
© Ellen M. DuBois
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