We all have stress. It’s as common and as natural as breathing. Don’t get misunderstand me, I didn’t mean that it wasn’t uncomfortable and at times, down right painful but so is childbirth yet it’s still a part of our lives. Stress is nothing new, though it’s been given a proper name just in the past 100 years. The types of stress we have dealt with have changed over the decades, most of us not having to worry about hunting for our food to survive or skinning enough animals to keep us warm during the freezing winter nights. The stresses we deal with have evolved and changed, adapting to our ever altering lives. We will never be without it yet can we learn how to properly deal with it or allow it to rule, possibly ruin our lives?
I am a very optimistic, very open, very loving person. Though I didn’t used to be. In my twenties, I was a very self-centered, very selfish and driven person. Everything I did or participated in was for my benefit, one way or another. My stresses back then were how fast, how far I could climb up the career ladder and having the best toys, the best vehicles, the best horses, the best of everything. I hit a brick wall when after receiving a prestigious award, was told by the owner of the dealership I worked at, off to the side of course, that I would never become the manager because I was a woman. My stress then morphed into what am I going to do with my career now, when I have invested so many years in this industry, only to find the ceiling for my advancement was lower than it was for my male counterparts.
Fast forward to my thirties. I took a hiatus from my career and accepted a temporary job at my sister’s company to get perspective. I moved my father out of his retirement apartment and in with me. I began searching for peace and stress free enjoyment. I met Steve. Those who know him know that he is completely opposite of me. I am very type A personality, a go getter, a planner, excessively controlling. He is laid back, everything always works out, it will still be there when I finally decide to deal with it, what’s the hurry, type personality. To coin the phrase, he was my ying to my yang. He taught me how to relax, to take joy in the world around me, the people around me and if you were quiet long enough you could see things change and grow, to blossom into beautiful things. It was because of him that I began to believe that I might be a good mom.
Flash forward one more time. Here I am in my forties with two beautiful girls, still married to my Steve, building a new career. I still have a drive to climb the career ladder and I still have stresses, just read a couple of negative reviews that I have received recently, but I have learned to surround myself with beautiful and calming friends. I know I am going to run into those who judge and criticize because as we ALL know we can’t please everyone but I’m learning how to defuse this new stress, how to turn my head and focus on something else that is blooming and changing. In this world of negativity, I choose to post only positive reviews. If I can’t “fill someone’s bucket”, as my 8 year-old would say, then I choose not to say anything at all. There are professional reviewers out there that know how to correct and properly review an author’s book without being insulting and crass. They know how stressful being a professional writer is and to their own credit, act professionally too.
As we start heading into our summer months look at the stresses you have, see which ones you can set aside, which ones you have to address, which ones you can just let go. See if there is someone who’s bucket you can fill. Not only are you creating a joyous feeling that helps counteract stress for someone else but it’s been proven that it can eliminate or ease the tension in your own life. We all have stresses and will until the end of our days but it’s how we handle it that matters. Go fill someone’s bucket. Life is meant to be fun, enjoy the journey!