The incessant whining and self-pity was totally annoying. Snap out of it! Stop complaining, please!
Unfortunately, the chatter in my head was hard to escape!
You’re probably thinking: Here she goes again… another lesson learned from a total knee replacement.
Really, I promise – this will be one of the last – maybe.
Then came the next stage of my rehab and progress: “What happens when I don’t get what I want…?” and it doesn’t have anything to do with my friends or the support they’ve given me. My friends have been, and continue to be, amazing in helping me.
They’re not the problem… I am.
You see, I was told that I won’t “feel normal” for 9 – 12 months and it’s only been 2. And I’m tired of it. Now it’s as much a mind-game to stay positive and focused as it is to do my exercises to build strength and flexibility.
I remind myself it’s not like dealing with cancer or lupus or MS. And I realize it’s temporary.
So, buck up! Quit being so annoying .
But here’s the deal: I have a new awareness, a new appreciation for gratitude, patience and grace. And it’s all about re-setting expectations. And, I’ve come to realize that this approach isn’t just for me.
Several of my clients have experienced caring for an ailing parent, reorganizations that have left a great deal of uncertainty, dealing with ulcers, and divorce.
Yet somehow, so many people, myself included, think that we can slog through major life changes, trying to maintain the same expectations of ourselves that we’ve had for years. Any and all of these changes can be emotionally, physically or mentally exhausting.
You Are Not a Wimp
It’s time to re-set your expectation button when you’re mentally exhausted, emotionally depleted and/or physically compromised. You are not a wimp. You are not a slacker. And you’re not getting old. Well, maybe some of us are getting old and we need more time to re-charge. But regardless, even my clients in their 30’s and 40’s are quietly confessing they are tapped out trying to take care of parents, kids, spouses, bosses, staff and clients. Then they wonder why they’ve been knocked out by that nasty flu for weeks, or are experiencing migraines or massive digestive issues.
The First Step
The first step in re-setting the expectation button is realizing you’re human. You’re not Superman or Wonder Woman. You are a mere mortal. You’re not perfect and people don’t expect you to be perfect, even though they may act like it’s a total inconvenience when you’re not.
2nd Step: Get Out of B.E.D. (Blame, Excuses and Denial)
The second step in re-setting your expectation button is to not blame anyone or anything for feeling exhausted or depleted, especially yourself. That’s just what you’re experiencing now, so deal with it: NOW.
Try With a Little Help From Your Friends
The third step is to ask for specific help, with gratitude. See blog on asking for help.
Honor Your Own Pace
The last step is to recognize that adapting to major changes can and will take time. Just like I had to mentally re-set my “feeling normal” timeframe to another 6-9 months, each person needs to be in tune with their own rhythm and pace and adapt accordingly. Some of my friends had a hard time hearing that from me because they’re used to me being competitive, positive and voicing that annoying can-do attitude. They worried that I’d lost my edge. They’d say: “Hey! The New Normal is 3 months not 6 or 9! You’re amazing! Don’t give up or give in to other people’s norms! ”
And that’s why I love them and appreciate them. Yet I still need to honor my own pace, my own mental, emotional and physical stamina, even if it doesn’t fit their expectations or mine.
Give yourself, and your friends experiencing major changes, the gift of grace. The gift of compassion. The gifts of patience and gratitude. We know when we’re being slackers and when we can be more accountable to take better care of ourselves.
Honor yourself by re-setting your expectation button, until you’re ready to re-set it again.
Marty Stanley, Certified Speaking Professional, is a certified life and business coach who helps people and organizations deal with and manage change. For more information and help in re-setting expectations: 816-695-5453, firstname.lastname@example.org
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