Getting Through the Storm

storm clouds

I’ve been thinking lately about how chronic illness affects people and was going to do an article about it. This is not about that though.

I realized when I first started thinking about this topic that the first two things that popped into my head were how all-consuming it can be and how people deserve compassion. Then I realized that these two things are not exclusive to people with chronic illness. They are, in fact, common to everybody and something that we should think about and be aware of when dealing with our own situations and when dealing with other people in any circumstance.

Think about it: everybody that we encounter throughout our day, from the cashier at the coffee shop to the person on the other end of the phone that we speak with, all have individual lives with problems of their own that they deal with.

  • New mothers are dealing with life-changing issues while being sleep-deprived.
  • Many of us have problems at work, either person- or issue-related that may be troubling.
  • Lots of people have financial problems that they are trying to resolve.
  • There are so many people with health issues ranging from acute and immediate to chronic and debilitating.

All of these, and so many more, are problems that keep us awake at night. We all have some type of problem that we’re working on. Some are obviously more critical than others and they may come and go, but the one thing we have in common is that we all have to get through something. We all have problems that require our attention.

Additionally, people all handle problems differently. What one person considers minimal, somebody else may interpret (and react to) as a monumental problem. Stress also affects each of us differently and would affect our reactions and behavior. Our individual history may also affect our situation. Who is to say that one problem is worse than somebody else’s? There is absolutely no grading scale on problems, reactions, or situations.

There are a lot of factors that can influence how our problems affect our situation. The one thing we have in common is that we all have problems that worry us, can sometimes consume us, and that can affect how we live, how we think, and how we act. Since we know this, we should also have more in common with each other: compassion and understanding for ourselves and for each other.

For ourselves, it’s important that we cut ourselves some slack. Many times, we tend to be harder on ourselves than on other people. We expect a lot from ourselves. Allow yourself the time and patience to heal, to grieve, or to work toward resolution of the problem that you’re dealing with.

When dealing with other people, no matter who they are, be generous with your time, compassion, and patience. They, too, are going through situations and problems that we are unaware of, situations that are consuming their time, attention, and patience.

I’m not trying to be negative in saying that we all have problems, but it’s a reality in our fast-paced world that we’re all stressed and experience negative thoughts or experiences. I would like to think that, by taking the time to remember that everybody else we talk to or interact with has similar experiences, we might be a bit more kind or thoughtful to each other. If we could do this, it might just make somebody’s life a little bit easier and, after all, how much more positive could that be?

Driving Me Crazy!


I don’t know what kind of driver you are, but I like to think of myself as a regular driver.  I keep pace with everybody around me (ok, maybe a little bit faster but not crazy), change lanes when I’m supposed to, use my turn signal, and try to be considerate.  Now, I don’t know why those concepts are so difficult to grasp, but there sure are a lot of drivers that don’t seem to understand driving etiquette.  They drive me crazy and I try really really hard to be patient with these idiots on the road, but I can’t.  No matter what I do, I experience road anxiety.  What is road anxiety?  It’s my version of road rage, but with normal people reactions rather than violent ones.  I have bursts of anxiety, fright, anger, revenge, and (major) irritation.  I try to remember to be gracious when I drive and give people the benefit of the doubt.  Usually it doesn’t work. Continue reading “Driving Me Crazy!”

Holidays and Great Expectations

xmas tree

Hmmm, do these two things ever go together?  I think they can, but I don’t think it’s necessarily the best way to go into a holiday.  We all do the best that we can through this holiday season but, when we set unrealistic expectations of either ourselves or others, it’s a setup for failure.  We all joke about that family get-together that includes the crazy uncle, the forgetful aunt, or the parents that are disappointed in us.  Unfortunately, this happens more often than less.  Most of us are versions of that family.  We may have disagreements and things can be awkward or irritating.  The picture-perfect family gathered around a fireplace and singing Christmas carols is extremely rare and, when we try to force this into our lives in an effort to make our holiday idyllic, we’re likely to be disappointed.   We don’t have to be, though!  Don’t try to be something that you’re not.  Do more of what makes you (and your family) happy and don’t worry about how it “should be”.

I don’t think we should try to meet expectations that aren’t realistic for ourselves.  We should each do what’s best for our OWN families and friends.  It’s what makes us happy, what brings us together, how we feel about each other that’s important.  It’s not the dinner, the gifts, the presentation or decorations.  It’s the joy that we are looking for.  Bearing in mind that none of us are perfect, it’s reasonable to assume that nobody else that shows up is perfect either.  Does that mean that your holiday gathering won’t be perfect?  Nope.  The perfection comes in the love, the heartfelt good wishes and acceptance that we have for each other.  Of course we’re all stressed out, tired from the running and trying to get everything done and, for a lot of us, work pressures, health, or weather problems on top of it.  We’re going to be a bit on edge, easily irritated and may not be in the best frame of mind in the exact moment we need to be.  Let’s try to be patient with each other.  There are things that matter (like caring, forgiveness, love) and things that don’t (irritation, intolerance, rudeness).  We have a choice on how we want to let these things affect us, not just on the holiday itself, but every other day as well.  Sometimes we need to overlook those things that aren’t perfect.  If the food is overcooked, you don’t approve of somebody’s clothing or the life choices a family member makes, it’s okay.  If everybody is there to share their day with each other, that’s what counts.  The rest will all make good stories in the years to come.  We should choose to look for the things that make us happy and not get upset about things that aren’t important.  THAT’S what it means to enjoy the holiday.  I hope yours is all that you wish for!



Do You Have the Patience to Be Patient?

It’s said that being patient is a virtue. Is it really or is it just a good idea?  According to Wikipedia:  A virtue is a trait or quality deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being.

 I’m not sure that morals have anything to do with being patient, but everyone around me seems to be striving to attain this trait.  It’s supposed to be healthy, lengthen your lifespan, make you an easier person to be around, and help your heart.  So I figured I should try to be virtuous … and patient.

I’ve tried and I’ve tried to be patient over the years, but have never quite succeeded.  When I was young, I wanted to be old.  When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be in high school.  When I was in high school, I wanted to hurry up, get married, and be an adult.   Finally, I wanted my babies to hurry up and grow out of each phase and into the next…until they did.  You get the idea. Continue reading “Do You Have the Patience to Be Patient?”