Once upon a time, I made a conscious decision not to waste my energy worrying over 'that which I cannot change'. I suppose that it isn't as easy as that, but the more that life goes on ... the more that I think that perhaps that choice is working for me. In fact, I sometimes feel badly that I don't feel worse after hearing other people's woes and worries.
I seem to have an emotional separation that I can turn on and off at will. I don't carry other people's burdens within me yet it doesn't mean that I don't care.
Worrying is such a waste of energy. Do I worry? Yes.
If I have said or done something that doesn't sit well with me, I fret and stew over it until I take action to remedy my wrongs. My conscience will not rest until I make amends.
If there is something that I can do that I haven't done, I waste undue energy worrying about my strategies until I 'just do it'. There is nothing more exhausting to me than knowing that I must do something ... yet I haven't done it.
If I don't know what to do but feel that I should do something ... I make every attempt to simply 'show up'. Often, that is enough.
If I don't feel it is my place to 'show up' ... I write. A note or card or email or letter is sometimes the only thing one can do when you feel powerless over a situation. Whether it is a note to say 'I'm thinking of you at this time' ... or a newsletter to my daycare parents to address a concern ... or a blog to unleash some (what feel like) unjustified emotions over something that is out of my control ... or simply a completely unabridged, unedited spillage of words that will never see the light of day. I write. It brings perspective into whatever it is that is causing my unrest.
This way of 'dealing' has been evolving over many, many years. At one time when I was new into my daycare business, I was feeling that some parents were taking advantage of me. There was such a clarity of who was responsible for allowing that to happen at the time. I was in business for myself. I could make one of two choices. I could do nothing. If I did nothing, I could not expect things to change. Or ... I could address the issues at hand and take the reins of my life back into my own hands. Thus, began my Daycare Newsletters. I have maintained the mantra that if I do not choose to take action, I am fully responsible for the outcome ever since.
This mantra has trickled into my everyday life. I do what I can, when I can do it. Sometimes it isn't much. I may not always succeed, but if I give it my best shot I cut myself some slack and try to do better the next time.
I choose not to carry everyone's burden's on my shoulders. I will definitely walk with someone and ease the load, but I don't take ownership of someone else's problems. I can feel the pain, the heart ache and the sorrow of another. I know that I lessen my own loads by talking freely. I don't expect anyone to solve my problems or take them on as their own. But having the ability to talk freely with a friend eases my load. That is what I hope that I do for others.
I was telling a friend one day that I felt badly for my ability to hang up the phone and simply carry on with my life so easily. She assured me that it was that quality in me that allowed her to unleash her own thoughts so freely. "If I thought that you were going to take on my problems, do you think that I would be able to talk like this?!!?"
It was then, that realized how guarded that I have become when I talk with my mom. It is truly no wonder that Mom sometimes feels the need to read between the lines with me. Because I am not 100% honest with all of the details that I omit giving her. Sometimes? I simply don't know the answers.
In the meantime, I will continue to do what I am doing. It feels good. It feels right. As long as I can sleep at night, I know that I have done the best I can do. Trust me ... the way I can sleep??? I must be doing an awesome job!
It all boils down to the Serenity Prayer: "... the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference".