What Stress?

Okay, I’ve been stressed lately. In fact, I can’t remember a time in the last three years or so when I have not been stressed. It has almost been a constant in my life, so much that for all of my trying to restore some balance and get myself together, not much has changed.

Until last week.

I’m not sure what happened. Well, I kind of know what happened, but the fact that it made things so much…easier so quickly has kind of thrown me off. I mean, I’ve been able to breathe and relax, and I’ve actually enjoyed my job for the first time in a long time. Well, despite all of the parts of my job that were stressing me out before, but I don’t seem to be as stressed by them now. So what happened?

Well, first I kind of got real with myself. What has been my major problem in every situation where I have felt the most stress? Or, as a podcast I listened to asked me, what has been my relationship to power? This was a powerful question for me because I come from a major background of feeling powerless, and that has seemed to carry over into my adult life in less-than-healthy ways. Namely, if I’m not in a position where I am in control, or can control a situation, then I feel threatened and I do everything I can to put myself in a position where I can control the situation. It has affected my relationships with countless people, coworkers, and has caused me to leave several different jobs. So I had to try to reframe my relationship with power and redefine where I get my power. I have seen that my power comes from two different sources: balance and connection. Rather than fighting to be in control of a situation, I can use my power to bring balance to a situation, which is a much different type of power with a much different total outcome. Power to control leads to a power imbalance, with one person or entity on top and another one on the bottom. This type of power has led to all sorts of social injustices all over our world, and this is not the type of power that I want to wield. However, it is just what I have been doing. However, using power to bring balance to a situation does just that: it balances the scales so that everyone can enjoy input and can feel worthy.

Just this one admission and adjustment has done so much to help me see where and how I have been in a power struggle and how much of my energy it has been taking. It has also shown me the bigger place where that energy is needed: connection.

I work all day in a place where connections should be made all the time. But when you are stressed out and involved in a power struggle that is zapping all of your energy, it is hard to build connections with anyone. So when I came out of that place of power struggle and began to try to use my power to create balance, I also began to build the connections that I have always been so passionate about building. That led me to enjoying my job, one of the most stressful teaching jobs I have ever had, for the first time in forever.

So that’s how it happened. But wait, there’s more!

I have been involved in trying to start a school. I’m using those words rather broadly, as I haven’t done anything definitive to start a school. The thought of the whole process has been so overwhelming to me that I have really done nothing to actually get anything off the ground. But when I came into this realization about my power, balance, and connection, I remembered my business doing professional development workshops and my huge plans to create a school under the umbrella of that business. And all of the workshops that I did during the time I had the business were about….(drumroll please)…

Balance and Connection. Broadly speaking.

Hello! I was happy doing those workshops, and I haven’t been happy since I folded that business. Maybe because I folded it due to someone’s words about what I should be doing, and my inability to figure out a major problem related to the business, I began to feel threatened and went into power struggle mode. I’m not sure. I may never know. But one thing is certain, I am going to start that business up again. I even figured out a hopeful solution to that problem.

I think everyone’s source of power is different. In one podcast I listened to, different from the first one, the lady said that hers was love. I’m sure there are others, and they are probably related to values that people hold in their lives that cause them to act in certain ways. So I guess it is very important to figure out your values and how you are manifesting those values in your life. I know that figuring that out for me has changed my own interactions so much.

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