Another New Years post? I know, you’ve probably been reading a lot of them. 2019 seems like the year that self-care is going full-force. I’ve seen so many great articles on self-care but they all seem to have one thing in common: Your relationship with yourself.
This is all well and good, but I also need self-care in the form of caring for how I interact with others. Creating better interactions in your relationships will largely affect your mental health, so I don’t see why this can’t be a form of self-care as well.
So I came up with My 3 Words of 2019 that will help me when I find myself in a frustrating/overwhelming dialogue with others.
My current day job requires me to listen to people discuss some rather nebulous ideas. Sometimes my job is to translate what one person is saying so that the rest of the room understands. I like to think of this as “connecting wave lengths.” Similarly, I see this almost-there type of communication in so many conversations in my relationship, family, and friends circle.
Corey and I have been practicing this one for a couple of years now and we had no idea how big of a transformation it would be. Let me paint a real-life scene for you:
Jillian is driving the car, Corey is in the passenger seat. Jillian needs chapstick but doesn’t want to take her eyes off of the road. “Hey, could you get me my chapstick?” A frustrated groan comes from Corey. Jillian gets upset that Corey is pushing back against this simple favor, all the while Corey is fishing in 2 different bags on the floor of the car (each having a myriad of side pockets), lost in a world of receipts, sharpies, and half sets of earrings.
Cross-dissolve to a parallel universe where Jillian realizes that extra-communication does WONDERS for everyone’s happiness.
Jillian is driving the car, Corey is in the passenger seat. Jillian needs chapstick but doesn’t want to take her eyes off of the road. “Hey, could you get me my chapstick? It’s in my yellow bag in the inside small zipper pouch.” With all the knowledge necessary to complete the simple task, Corey acquires the chapstick, Jillian’s lips are moisturized, and the road trip continues!
Moral of the story: Take the extra 5 seconds to make sure what your saying covers the possible follow up questions. You will find that that amount of frustrated groans thrown your way (in all aspects of life) will decrease by at least half.
I could make Expectations a sub-word of Communication. I find that one of the biggest reasons that I come out of a situation feeling generally bummed, is that I go into it with completely fabricated expectations (and usually, these made-up expectations in my mind come about because of a lack of extra-communication).
My real life comparison for this is what I like to call Four-Star Restaurant vs. El Pollo Loco.
Have you ever made reservations for a fancy-ass restaurant, got all dressed up, ate amazing food, drank amazing drinks, sat in an amazingly designed space, and then went home and thought, “all of that was amazing…why don’t I feel amazing?”
Now think about this: have you ever had to randomly grab dinner at El Pollo Loco (or an equivalent restaurant) and left feeling happier than you walked in?
This is EXPECTATION, my friends. Remind yourself before going into anything (a movie, a family dinner, a meeting at work), that you shouldn’t start with expectations (that haven’t been communicated). You’ll be happier for it.
And the last Word for 2019, and probably the hardest for me, is setting boundaries. I am a people-pleaser on top of being an anxious over-thinker. That means that if I feel that I didn’t do everything I could for someone, even if they leave the situation feeling fine, I will spend weeks, months, and in some instances, years (!) making myself feel bad about it.
The truth is, we can’t have mental and emotional space for everyone. And for the most part, when you decline a request from someone, they just move on with their day. If they really harbor a grudge, that is very much their problem. Not yours.
So this year, no more of that (or at least, less). In the fantastic words of author, Jen Pastiloff:
View this post on Instagram
Wish me luck with my words of the year! What words do you want to focus on in 2019?