When the load gets too heavy, be kind to yourself

Asking yourself what went well today can bring great relief during times of great stress

Let us begin…

Appreciating the gifts of abundance, honouring the process of stress and our own capabilities each day can create a strong societal ecology in our homes, businesses and communities. Strong enough to weather change.

The Great Change of 2008

In the year 2008 the dynamic of the world changed. It was the first time in history that people in the city outnumbered people in the country on this planet. The world became a series of cities located near the sea.

Centralized food service and globalized trade fed those cities. It looked grand and as though it could endure until this year, when the world felt the weight of separation, disaster, economic depression and uncertainty.

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We also learned that centralized food systems did not keep shelves stocked and that the infrastructure needed fixing. We learned that globalization was not the answer. There is fear.

Naomi Klein wrote, “Politics hates a vacuum, if someone does not fill it with hope, they will fill it with fear.” Overcoming fear in a stressful day can be tough but let us consider another way to ease through this time.

Rather than filling the vacuum or any other part of our day with fear of what is going on or the things that went wrong let us ask, ‘What went right today?’

Starting the day with a quiet moment is always a great way to begin. Getting up a little early and thinking about what you are capable of that day may seem limiting but that was from a previous world of ‘must do.’

Today, start with what you feel capable of doing. If you are short on energy, patience, money, time, support or glad feelings, then simply honour those realities as part of your day. And begin.

At the end of that day which was created in liberty — because you did not expect yourself to save the world, the farm or your marriage — think about all that went right.

Perhaps sorting the bulls went off without a hitch or the children actually did finish their tasks. Perhaps the computer was off all day, leaving a young couple time to just be. Or the neighbour returned that item you were searching for. Perhaps it was just beautiful in its simplicity and the conversations were meaningful.

A successful Australian once reminded me that we need the “head space” to be creative and to survive tough situations on the farm and ranch. With the business of ‘must have’ and ‘must do’ put on slow mode, there is more time to think and reflect.

A short time alone each day gives us the space to reflect on the abundance in our lives and on what went right during the day. The shift in attitude does not sugar-coat reality. Things will still go wrong, sometimes very wrong. But the focus on what went right leaves us with positive energy. Simple steps still cover the trail and lead us to where we need to go. Simple appreciation keeps the heart and the mind from closing in.

Honouring the process

Some will feel the ‘weight of the world on their shoulders’ while others will cheerfully greet the day and all that it has to offer. Regardless of where you are in your own life, simply honour the process of worry, grieving, confusion, sorrow, fear, impatience, self-pity, exhaustion, frustration or whatever the day brings.

Treating yourself kindly and with dignity clarifies what works for you.

There are days when circling the round pen is all that can be done and others when a creative marketing strategy just rolls out seamlessly. Getting to the point of expressing what works for you and having your family and team do the same is really important.

A staff member may not be able to cope with a broken piece of equipment and saving their dignity by stepping in is important. A child may need to melt down and allowing them the space to do this may be helpful. A spouse may need to cry — supporting them through that is an honourable act. A young adult may need to start a new job away from home and encouraging their excellence can be liberating for everyone concerned.

Leadership defined

Even though the workload has not changed or lessened, we can liberate ourselves from the weight of it through leadership in our living and business space. Leadership is one act of courage and kindness at a time, and is what knits the ecology of our being together.

It is really important to start by being kind to ourselves and acknowledging where we are at in the moment and then transferring that into what we are capable of that day. Taking stock of our abundance gives us a realistic view of all that is possible. There is good in every day and it is important to reflect on this and share it. Ask yourself, ‘What went well today?’

Honouring the process of being the best we can be and holding sacred the dignity of all others who travel their own path through times of stress is leadership defined. This we can do.

About the author

AF Columnist

Brenda Schoepp

Brenda Schoepp works as an international mentor and motivational speaker. She can be contacted through her website at www.brendaschoepp.com. All rights reserved.

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