Let me start with admitting that I recently lost my mind on a parking lot attendant … you know, the gatekeeper at a parking garage.
It’s not a proud moment by any means, especially since the guy was just doing his job.
In my hurry to get out of the house that morning, I had forgotten my parking pass and, despite the two of us having the daily routine for months of me showing my pass and him letting me in, he refused to open the gate.
Could he have let me in?
Yes, which is what was driving me crazy.
But he wasn’t having it and was standing on policy, which he was certainly entitled to do (and perhaps reprimanded in the past because he hadn’t).
Nonetheless, I started arguing with him and realized half-way through yelling at him that, wow, I was really getting worked-up and my anger actually has nothing to do with this man.
The realization came rushing …
… I was upset about things totally unrelated that I hadn’t bothered to deal with – and the poor parking attendant was bearing the brunt of my shit storm – negative energy that he was likely going to end up passing on to someone else.
After my spectacle, I just sat in my car and did some quiet deep breathing. I needed this time-out.
I was a little embarrassed, a little confused, and a little surprised at myself. How had I allowed my day to get the best of me like that?
Worst of all, it was only 9:30 in the morning!
Yea, it was one of those mornings. But still, somewhere in the few hours I had been awake, I lost control and really needed to have checked-in with myself before getting carried away.
I knew what I was supposed to do! But if it were that easy I wouldn’t find myself bitching-out undeserving parking lot attendants.
It’s so much easier said than done.
What does “one of those mornings” mean anyway?
For me, it’s when I’m trying to do too many things at once, and knowingly doing none of them well. Yet I continue to do it, in part because our culture thrives on pushing a task-oriented lifestyle on us:
“What?! You’re only doing one thing at a time? What a waste.”
We’ve learned to value ourselves based on what and how much we “do.”
We’ve been programmed to understand in our culture, somehow it’s never enough.
And if we’re spending a lot of time flustered and angry and overwhelmed – and often not even recognizing it until we’ve crashed and burned, then what is it we’re “doing” that puts us in that state?
Sometimes I’ve noticed half-way through the day that I’m randomly clenching my jaw and my shoulders are raised tight up toward my ears. I didn’t think I was stressed, but clearly, amidst my meetings, calendar reminders and email notifications, I start feeling pressured.
And that’s when things start to unravel.
Some days, I can’t catch myself from falling. BUT THERE ARE TIMES WHEN I CAN – AND DO. Only thing – it requires honesty and being able to admit when I’m losing control of my day.
Personally, I’ll admit that I have to catch myself several times a day. But there’s no shame in self-awareness, only strength!
Reminding You Reminds Me
Remember when I sat in the car and did some quiet breathing? That’s the ticket.
It’s all about breathing. It’s all about stopping everything I’m multi-tasking and managing in my life to take a deep, slow, belly-filled breath, holding it a few seconds to feel it swirling inside, and then slowly releasing it.
And then doing it all over again.
So I say this to you to remind myself:
When it all comes tumbling down, step away from what you’re doing, or don’t. But do stop what you’re doing and take 30 seconds to look inward. 30 seconds.
The stopping … the breathing, means we’re hitting reset. We’re giving ourselves a second chance.
And we all deserve one of those.
Photo Credit: Home page slider & images this page: JD Hancock