I’ve spent a good part of the past few years overhauling my emotional and spiritual life. It’s been awesome. Challenging for sure, but I’m so much happier today than I was a few years ago.
As I’ve stood back and looked at my life, I’ve noticed how many times I talk about being overwhelmed and how often I try to rein that in. Unsuccessfully.
And I’ve also noticed how so many of us belong to a Culture of Overwhelm. We’re so used to being overwhelmed that we may think it’s the way life is supposed to be. OR, we think that it’s a GOOD thing to be overwhelmed, like all the cool kids are overwhelmed so if I want to be cool and hang with the In Crowd, I need to be overwhelmed too.
I was at a meeting recently and we went around and shared what’s going on with our businesses. Everyone talked about doing this and that and the other and how overwhelming it was. I was having a great day and didn’t feel overwhelmed and, I have to say, I felt left out and not good enough, and like something was wrong that I wasn’t looking at closely enough. I mentioned this to some friends later in the day and they were excited for me – “Wow! Enjoy it!”
Who am I if I’m not overwhelmed?
But, at the time, I couldn’t let that be okay because it seemed like I should be overwhelmed like everyone else. Who am I if I’m not overwhelmed? I ended up sabotaging myself. Everything again became a dance between feeling overwhelmed and finding activities to calm myself down. Unfortunately, those activities are things like: playing computer solitaire, hanging out on Facebook, and watching TV – sometimes all at once. (How is that a solution for overwhelm??!!)
What about you?
I invite you to think about your own life. Where has overwhelm become the norm for you? How often do we parents fall for “catastrophic thinking”? You might say to yourself, “If I don’t push my child, he/she won’t get into a good college and then won’t have a happy life!” (I don’t even need the answer to this question. I know you second guess yourself more than you’re comfortable with. It’s pretty common.)
You know that saying, “Don’t work harder, work smarter”? It’s sort of the same thing with parenting. Not that you’re not smart. Parents of ADHD kids are plenty smart. I’ve met a lot of you and you’ve got “the stuff.” And it’s possible to be very smart and yet not know what to do about your own kids. It happens to the best of us. I have found, in my practice, that many parents I speak to are actually doing TOO MUCH for their ADHD children.
And why wouldn’t you? You’re their champion and their cop. You’re their comfort and their kick in the pants. Parents of ADHD children have a lot of roles to fulfill and not enough time in the day to do it all. The truth is that your child doesn’t have to achieve greatness in school to achieve greatness in life. There is a place in the world for your inventor, your artist, your big-spirited, big-hearted angel.
If I’m not overwhelmed, how will I fill the time?!
Sit back and watch more, listen more. Do things to make your life easier. If your child is in danger, if a health or safety issue arises, by all means, draw your metaphorical sword and slay that “dragon.” If not, spend your time enjoying your child rather than focusing on the chores or homework that hasn’t been done. Listen to your child instead of telling him or her what to do. Share your heart with your child – not your worries, but your deep love.
What if things are okay, right now, just the way they are? After all, we only have a limited number of hours in the day. Do we really want to spend a chunk of them stressed out?
Take a look at where you put your attention. Are you a news junky? There’s a lot of scary stuff out there – is that what you want to fill your life with? Do you surround yourself with depressing friends, or do your friends uplift you? What is your life worth to you? How many of today’s 24 hours do you want to spend in worry, anxiety, fear, discouragement, and overwhelm?
Anxious parents very often raise anxious kids. Take care of your wonderful self and you’ll be taking such good care of your wonderful children!
I’d love to hear from you – Just scroll down to the Comments box and start writing. I’m listening.
Copyright 2017 Yafa Luria/Margit Crane All Rights Reserved
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