In my last post, I was exclaiming what a good week I had. After years of wishing I could handle stressful situations better, I had made it a priority to go after real change. I was working hard to breathe through my stress. When I found myself getting upset, I purposefully chose to not contain the emotion, but to put it in the “don’t need” pile. This enabled me to work more efficiently to resolve the aggravating situation. Mostly, frustrations were with my computer or my lack of understanding how to get my new website to look the way I want it to look. I am not a computer genius, and I do not speak html code, so progress is sometimes slow and painful.
But that week, I was able to really not let things upset me for very long. Wahoo! New habits being made! It really felt great to be so unencumbered by unproductive and unfriendly emotions. I enjoyed my own company. Have you ever been in such a bad mood that you didn’t want to be you? Well, I can get like that. I certainly am not immune to overwhelm, or fluctuating hormones. I could blame it on PMS or even speculate I could be in perimenopause, but really, I think it is about the habits I have allowed myself to develop.
It is far easier to open your mouth (and vent) than it is to keep it closed. And for some reason, when the glass contains only half of what it could hold and you decide that it is actually half empty instead of half full, the tendency is to knock it over with your temper so that it is completely empty; and now your mood is justified. Talk about a bad habit.
They say that it takes 7 days to develop a new habit. That’s probably true. But I think I discovered a clause to that theory during this last week. My assumption was that my new habit of greater tolerance and patience would automatically replace the old habit of letting my frustration overtake my ability to be pleasant even in the face of stress and possible overwhelm. Turns out, that it is not a one for one replacement.
I am sorry to report that I have been quite the crab this week. All possible excuses aside, perhaps I need to focus as much on releasing old habits as I have on embracing new ones. Now I know that God made us all differently. Some people are naturally more forgiving and friendly, but we all have a point at which emotions overtake reason.
My goal was to exchange bad behavior for good behavior. I really didn’t look at the problem as me needing to increase my tolerance for frustrating situations. Is increasing tolerance part of the process of exchanging bad behavior for good behavior? I’m not sure. If I knew any saints, I would ask them. I would like to think that I don’t need all those steps to have a new habit replace an old one.
They say that love transcends all things and endures forever. Philosophers have been seeking pure love since the beginning of time. Volumes and volumes have been written about the definition of true love and where and how to find it. Let me just say, without going off on another tangent, that love is not just for the intensely brilliant over-thinkers. Love is immediately accessible when and where gratitude is expressed. Gratitude for humans results in emotional, temporal love. Gratitude for God is spiritual and eternal Love. It deserves a capital L because that is the kind of love that transcends all things– space, time, and human frailty.
So if I spend more time expressing gratitude towards God, then the spiritual Love that I feel will make the rest of my life less stressful. It won’t necessarily make it any better, but I think it will help me to choose the good habits over the bad ones. It will also remind me to express gratitude to those around me, which makes love (small l) available to them, too.
Journaling really can help one sort things out. Clearly, I was on the right track a couple of weeks ago, but this past week a little stormy weather derailed me. I was so comfortable with my progress that I left out gratitude; it’s like making bread without yeast, the intentions are good, but the results are flat.
So here is to a better next week for all of us! Did I mention how much I appreciate you?
John 3:16-17 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”