Recently I was talking to a friend who was having a very bad day. Bad luck, karma, or whatever you want to call it, was simply making things difficult. As I was talking to her about it all, she half-heartedly interjected and said “it could be worse.”
Her statement hit me as it does when most people say it. I personally believe that the more we try to rationalize the pain, frustration, or stress of any given situation we are minimizing our ability to truly deal with disappointment and authentic emotions that come with it. Most of the time when I hear that phrase it is followed with something like “I should just be grateful ____ didn’t happen” or “I’m trying to see the bright side of things…”
Yes, any situation could be worsened, but that doesn’t minimize the true feelings of the ones we live every day. I believe when we face our real feelings, accept that a situation really is frustrating, then we can see the situation how it is and move on.
It is a process that hasn’t come easily to me, but one that I have been working towards lately. When I face my real feelings, accept them as they are, I process them and move forward. It’s empowering, especially in motherhood when disappointments, tantrums, accidents happen on a regular basis.
Now as a mother I have ample opportunities to practice this same concept, one in which I don’t always do perfectly. This past week for example, I have been dealing with extra sensitivities with my son. His sensory needs seem to be intensified, along with his sensory aversions. Everything makes him mad. Everything results in a meltdown. It has been a rough two days dealing with his heightened sensitivities and inconsolable demeanor. Could it be worse? Sure! BUT that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is really hard to deal with. It’s really frustrating and takes a lot of patience, which sometimes I simply don’t have inside of me.
As mothers we tend to have the need to want to put our best foot forward, especially in public. When our kids throw tantrums, fits, in public we can go away feeling defeated, upset, or at a loss. While I don’t think moms need to feel as though they need to live up to a perfect standard, I do think it is OK to accept the situation as one that was less than perfect, analyze it and move on. By brushing it aside and saying “it could be worse” the situation certainly isn’t resolved, on the flip side being afraid of it isn’t the solution either. It’s a tough balance that requires a lot of energy, a lot of mistakes, and a lot of patience with ourselves and our kids.
Lean Into The Struggle
Yes, it could be worse but that won’t make it any better. What will make it better is facing the fact that this really sucks and it’s OK to be upset about it. My friend Neghar Foononi talks frequently about “leaning into the struggle” which I see now is the way to actually work THROUGH it, rather than brushing it aside as if it were never a problem in the first place. So, these past few days I have allowed myself to feel frustrated that my son is hypersensitive to everything and screams more than I care to hear. Because I have allowed myself to feel that, I don’t feel consumed in trying to make it better or happier. It sucks, it’s temporary, and we will get through it.
Life is imperfect, kids are imperfect, and we as adults are imperfect too. The more I embrace that reality, the less I hold on to false hopes of perfection.
How have you been able to embrace imperfection lately? My friend Angie talked about her journey to embracing imperfection in this guest post a few months back, one in which I still reflect on often. I would love to hear how you have dealt with this in your own life.