** A little different post today.
Sometimes life can become pretty challenging. And the definition of what exactly is “challenging” varies from person to person. Maybe I’m really tired in the morning and for me, getting up is a “challenge.” Or if things don’t go as I planned or in the classroom I am dealing with a classroom management issue, I might feel like it is an insurmountable challenge each day.
We each have our own stressors and things that will tend to send us into a spiral, at least that’s how I feel sometimes. Have you ever had that feeling where you just feel so out of control, unable to make yourself move because you can’t make things happen like you want to? You get to that point where you feel hopeless and helpless and so many different emotions all wrapped up in one. It can be hard to pick yourself up depending on what it is that you’re dealing with. Trying to stay positive in the face of adversity, as my friend Mandy Froehlich has written in her book The Fire Within. There are things that we go through, experiences that are not the greatest, challenges we face or perhaps even ways that we’ve been treated or actions we have taken. Sometimes although they are negative and leave their mark, it is often that they propel us to do something greater, different that will make us better and stronger not just for ourselves, but more importantly, will help us to provide more opportunities and be better for those we serve.
Lately, I have felt kind of overwhelmed and been involved in conversations about the importance of keeping balance and finding time for yourself, and I know it’s not just me. Some days I feel like I hit a wall, and struggle to find the strength or motivation to just keep going or sometimes to even get started. There will always be a growing list of things that need to be done, of goals that we have set for ourselves, and there will never be enough time. Or will there be?
I hear students, colleagues, family, and friends complain that they didn’t have time, or there will not be enough time. I often feel this way too, but have learned from experience and read quotes which reflect the concept that “we make time for those things which matter to us.” It has to be true, but of course, it requires that we decide the importance of our tasks, which is never one of my strong points.
I need to keep perspective and sometimes that is really tough to do. And I try to remind students of this as well. No doubt that things can add up so quickly and they get to the point where you feel like there’s just no way out, no resolution that seems achievable. It can be a struggle, especially when you don’t know where to start and what’s even worse is that you realize that nobody can help you. Of course you have supporters in your corner for whatever it is that you’re going through, friends who will be there for you to listen and to give you the support you need. But when it comes down to it, there are just some things that only you can do. You are completely on your own, and knowing that is terrifying. Knowing that can cause a lot of fear and hopelessness. But we have to work through it, and it can be so difficult. At least that’s what I’ve been feeling lately and talking with friends and members of my PLN, actually less talking but more listening, I know that there are some really big problems and challenges that people are facing out there. Way bigger than the ones that I may be dealing with at the time and so it gives me pause and forces me to think before I talk and share what is going on with me.
I’ve been really trying to lean in and listen more to what is going on in the lives of others. Because educators are in the business of doing what’s best for kids, and what’s best for others, so I need to model this in my professional and personal lives.
I have learned to be more mindful of the needs of others and in the past, what may be the current complaint or challenge that I’m facing, rather than speak it, I lean in and listen to see what the challenges are that others may be facing. This allows me to refocus my energy on what I can do to help them rather than wasting my energy feeling helpless myself. It shouldn’t be about me. It’s not about me.
So if we can channel that energy that would otherwise be used feeling helpless or hopeless or sad or any variety of emotions, and rather use that emotion for the benefit of others, then I think we will hit the ground running. It’s all about perspective and even though we all live in our own space in this gigantic world, sometimes we need to just take a look around us and see how we can help someone else, rather than dwelling on our own “challenges.” We help ourselves by lifting others up.