Do you ever feel really frustrated by a situation and with the people who are part of it? Of course you do. It happens whenever there’s as a gap between what we think we need and what we perceive is happening.
Frustration + Anxiety = Stress
As I write this on Sunday, we are in the midst of moving the contents of four rooms – big, heavy furniture, pictures, rugs, knick-knacks, and lots of books – in what at times feels like a grand game of musical chairs. I’m not sure everything will have a seat when the music stops.
Keep in mind we both work at home, so all of this disruption affects both of us around the clock. Talk about frustration! Talk about anxiety!
There was a time when speaking up about my needs in this kind of situation would have meant to me that I was being selfish. So I would have stayed silent. Looking back on those times, I realize my actions did a lot of speaking for me.
Fortunately, I’ve learned to follow a four-step process that involves a lot of speaking and only a few actions. When we speak what we feel, we often are rewarded with actions that close that gap and eliminate the frustration, anxiety and stress.
First, understand I’m a tasks-first person living with a relationships-first person. Yes, opposites attract. Why we’re doing this at all is a very long story. Suffice it to say we had only intended to make room for some new bookcases, a desk and a chair. But here we are.
By my reckoning, if we had stayed on task, the bulk of it would have been done yesterday afternoon. That was important because I had planned to get a lot of other tasks done this weekend. I wanted the moving done so I could get these other things done as well.
Brad had planned to accomplish some tasks as well, but mostly he counts on our weekends as time for us to reconnect. We haven’t had much of that lately with everything that’s been going on.
So, instead of ordering in and moving furniture Friday night, we had a delicious home-cooked dinner, our first in weeks, although not in the dining room since getting to the table and chairs was out of the question. Then we watched a movie. Saturday, we went to the theatre with a friend and enjoyed a long dinner out afterward. This morning I made us a favorite breakfast.
Now, having reconnected, later this afternoon we will move most of the rest of the stuff. At a set time tonight, we will stop so that we have a bit more time together. When the work week starts, we’ll be more or less situated in our new spaces, and we will be re-energized.
How did we journey to this compromise?
By following a four-step process that works whether we are at work with our team or at home with our family.
- We begin when we tell our own truth, sharing how we perceive the situation and how we feel about it.
- Next, we ask the others involved if they are experiencing the same situation and feel the same way about it. Specifically, we must ask whether they too may need something different from the current situation and what ideas they may have for changes.
- We need to be open to understanding their experience. They may be experiencing the same thing but be feeling differently about it because they interpret it differently, or they may share our feelings but for different reasons.
- Finally, together we work to arrive at a solution that meets our own needs and show willingness to compromise in how our needs are met.
When we are willing to ask for what we need, and are willing to learn from and adapt to whatever response we get, we often get exactly what we need, if not what we thought we wanted.
We are not being selfish when we do this, in fact, quite the opposite. The truth is, our partners, our co-workers, our boss cannot know how we feel or what we need if we do not share our feelings with them. When we speak up about what’s on our mind, we’re speaking our own truth. We’re showing respect for ourselves. When we ask for feedback, we’re being open with them. We’re showing respect for others. When we regularly engage with them about what is on our minds and seek to learn their thoughts and feelings, we are rewarded with relationships that are built on honesty and respect.
Life Is Honest, Open and True: Many situations cause us stress because there’s a gap between what we need and what we think we can have. I want to be someone who honors her own needs as much as she honors the needs of others. I want to get the work done, but not by sacrificing my relationships. What about you?
Related Posts: Openness