If you dwell in the mud, you will get muddy.
When I get stuck in a yucky situation, sometimes it's very hard for me to make myself get out of the mud. When something happens that isn't fair or right, I tend to take it very personally even if it wasn't directly aimed at me. It all goes back to another one of my modes of operation--I want people to try to treat me the way I'm going to try treat them.
I'm going to try to be nice. I'm going to try to be respectful when I disagree. I'm going to try to take your situation and make sense of it. I'm going to try to be transparent. I'm going to try to be authentic and real with you, and that often includes a little sarcasm. I'm going to try to meet you halfway.
And then I'm going to need some time away from you because introverts need to reunite alone with themselves every single day.
So when I feel like the other person has not given the same effort, I find myself extremely frustrated because I want the people of the world to at least try to be nice, and authentic, and real. But, I'm having to learn my ideals and expectations are not always the same for everyone else.
We usually have three options when faced with something: 1. Allow the person or situation to frustrate us and remain covered in the mud and feel gross over and over again. 2. Sit in the puddle, but choose to not let it bother us. 3. Get out of the puddle.
Sometimes we are put in puddles that we didn't choose, and that is not fun, healthy, or fair. Sometimes these puddles are not created by humans--like health issues, life, and aging parents. But most of the time our puddles are results of choices we've made, or choices made for us by others. When we return to the mud again and again we are giving ourselves (and others) permission to put us in the puddle. At that point we need to decide if the mud is going to bother us or not.
I've spent a good portion of this year in the mud. People deeply hurt my feelings. Situations stressed me out and made feel helpless. I put up walls and defense mechanisms. I chose to be angry about my half-empty glass. I wanted to wreck some people for being so ridiculous. I allowed myself to be overwhelmed when life turned hectic.
But that's not who I want to be, so it's time to stop worrying about the mud and do my best to get out of the puddle. I approached this school year (because for teachers, we mentally start a new year in August instead of January) with the decision that I was going to be better. Not perfect, just better. I was going to choose to do the best I could each day, be prepared, and just roll with what came my way. I was going to stop assuming the worst about people and situations and remind myself that we are all just sitting in the mud together sometimes.
It's not rocket science and I'm sure most people do this already, but this mind shift has done wonders for my broken heart and stressed out mind. Choosing to approach the school year with excitement instead of dread. Cheering on others in their success rather than allowing it to negate my importance and skills. Voicing my concerns and troubles to a few trusted people instead of stuffing them in and allowing them to fester. Appreciating those little moments of awesome throughout the day and giving them the attention they deserve. Sitting in certain puddles and smiling through the yuck. Allowing myself to avoid certain puddles and choosing to get up and leave other ones when I had done all I was able to do in situations. Clearly this is not a perfect process, and I still have my moments (like last weekend) when I'm bathing in the mud and not handling it well.
But if I want to be better, then I need to be better.