I had a rough week with my son last week because he was ill all week.
And then I had a rough week with him this week because he was so stressed about catching up all of the work that he had missed last week on top of his usual drowning in mountains of homework.
Or so I thought….
The stress was a vicious cycle because he would get stressed and then I would get frustrated with him. Then he would shout at me and I would shout (louder) at him. And back to square one.
Until I took a step backwards (with a friend’s help) and realised something big.
He was stressed about catching up and getting the work done. But not as stressed as I was about him getting it done. And about what his teachers were going to say (it didn’t help that I was already getting negative feedback from them). And about how my son was going to cope. And what would happen in the future if he fell behind in his Grade 5 maths….
Who’s stress was it?
All mine! Or mostly all mine.
It is an important lesson that we all need to learn and that I needed reminding of:
Sometimes when we externalise an issue (ie. we look at who is stressing us and who’s fault it is), we forget to look inwards.
We forget to take responsibility for our own feelings and emotions because it is just so much easier to blame someone else.
It is so much easier to say “this is not about me” than to take a good hard look at yourself and see what you can do to change.
It is a real challenge because you have to admit your own weaknesses – but as soon as you are able to do this, you are able to start taking the steps to changing your behaviour.
You are not going to change the world – or your kids, or your partner, or your manager.
But you are going to change you. Start with just focusing on what you can do now – in this moment. In my case, stressing how my son was going to graduate from high school when he is just working on getting to his 11th birthday is not helping with the stress of the moment.
And as difficult as it is to change yourself and the way that you deal with your stress, it does come with a certain peace that you are taking the control back.
You should be the one in control of your life!
You should manage the way that you deal with stress.
You are the boss of you!
And isn’t today a great day to start doing it?