Hello! I’m sorry I came on here and dropped a big marriage bomb and then disappeared. It was strictly circumstantial because of work travel and not anything to worry about, but thank you to those of you who reached out with concern.
Actually, things are going really well right now. Thanks to some work with our marriage counselor, I was able to learn some things about myself and how I handle change, stress, and conflict. Turns out, when it comes to the “fight or flight” response, I’m a fighter! Who knew?! Only, when I am stressed or anxious or unsettled, often my “fight” mode quite literally becomes FIGHTING mode. I’ve been reading up on myself, actually. Researching my personality type and digging deeper into the person God created me to be and I’ve learned a few things about myself.
- Most of my anger comes from insecurity. That doesn’t mean that I don’t ever get justifiably angry. It just means that when I am insecure about something (oh, I don’t know, like, quitting my job and starting something completely out of my wheelhouse…), I tend to get angry. When I don’t feel confident about something (oh, I don’t know, like, doing a job I don’t feel like I’m very good at doing…), I tend to get angry. Or when I’m not sure if someone is happy with me (oh, I don’t know, like, my husband wanting us to start marriage counseling…), I tend to get angry. Throw in some actual, real life frustrations (oh, I don’t know, like, balancing a family while trying to care for sick loved ones) and you have one unhappy, unbalance Katie. If you’re the Bible readin’ kind, the book that has helped me through this is Beth Moore’s, “So Long, Insecurity.”
- Feeling insecure is not a permanent state of existence. Just because I’m insecure about something today doesn’t mean I can’t become more secure about it tomorrow. True, I quit my job and started building a company with a team of people who makes me feel extremely unqualified because they are all so much more qualified. But I don’t have to live in that existence of ignorance or uncertainty. I can, like, read stuff. I can learn stuff. Or (and this has been my favorite solution) I can stick to what I know and do best and leave the things I don’t know or do best to the leaders on our team who DO know and do best. We have a team for a reason and I am just learning how to let go and trust in others abilities and visions. I stick to what I am good at, like knowing teachers and the education industry and education technology and students and how an effective classroom should run, and I can just observe and support all other areas of the company where people far more qualified than me are doing kick ass jobs.
- Letting go of control is scary at first, but it feels amazing. I can’t tell you how much lighter I have felt since letting go. I don’t feel so incompetent because the majority of my days are spent doing things I’m actually good at instead of flubbering around in areas where I still struggle. And I’m getting along much better with people. I’m less snappy and more cooperative. I notice this not just at work, but also with areas of my life like the PTA or even our home life when I let go of control of how I want things to be done in favor of Chris’s way of doing something. One of the things he said to me during our counseling sessions was that I talked to him like he was a child sometimes. And that makes sense because 90% of my day was spent teaching children and raising my own children. So, it was really just another form of bringing my day job home with me when I would instruct Chris how to do something instead of talking with him about something. But I have been able to identify that tone I can get in all areas of my life and not just my marriage. And when it comes down to it, that’s a control issue.
- Listening is powerful. Letting go has led to much more listening. And listening has led to a lot more learning. In order to give someone control, I have to actually stop and hear them, understand them. Listening means asking more questions than giving more answers. But it has also meant listening to more than just people. I have been focusing on listening and speaking with God, but that is a journey I have followed all my life and not one I am really having to make changes with right now. The listening I have learned the most from is listening to myself. It started with a meditation app called “Simple Habit” that has been the most successful tool in helping me sleep properly in YEARS (I use the free version, but am seriously considering paying the $100 for the full app). I am a terrible sleeper. Mostly it comes from my anxiety. But even without anxiety issues flaring, I am just not a good sleeper. I sleep light, I wake up often, and I don’t sleep for more than a few hours at a time. At my peak of sleep issues, I struggle several times a year with bouts of insomnia and they are just the worst. But with this app, I have started meditating and I have never slept better. I don’t even take my prescribed sleeping medication anymore. I’ve learned that the difference between prayer and meditations is that through prayer, I am listening to God. But through meditation, I listen to myself. I focus on my body and my breathing. I focus on what is distracting me or weighing on me. And in just acknowledging what those things are blowing around in my mind, I feel better and more in control. Less insecure. I’ve actually started meditating throughout my day, y’all! I wake up and do a morning mindfulness meditation and then I have a few others I use throughout the day for energy or focus or stress.
- I have figured out how to work from home. I always had a picture in my head of what working from home looked like. It looked like working a little and then pausing to do something around the house. And then working some more and then pausing to go to the gym. And then working some more and then pausing to bake homemade pumpkin bread to feed my sweet children when they came home from school. But you know what? That’s really a bullshit view of working from home. At least for me. I got so much advice on breaking up my work day, but it turns out that I don’t like working that way. I really like sitting down and working for hours at a time. I usually start working early, around 6am, and get some things done before I get dressed and take the kids to work. Then, I come home and work straight through in my office until lunch. I go downstairs and eat in the kitchen, to give myself a little breather, but then I come right back up and hunker down until I have to pick the kids up at 3. I come home and work until about 5:30 while they do homework and play, and around 5:30 all of our extra-curriculars start. The exchange for working straight through my days is that I can be more flexible when I need to be. Friday afternoons, I drive an hour away to have lunch with my mom now – every week, just the two of us, and I love it! And last Friday, I didn’t work almost all day because I was working at the kids school for the PTA. I don’t do those things often, but when I do them, I don’t feel like I’m not pulling my weight or getting things done at work because I have been zeroed in almost all week long.
- I try new things when something isn’t working out. I have always been a bit of a “do or die” person. Once I commit to something, I’m in it. Ride or die. Forever and ever, amen. But as I have been trying to figure out my new normal in this stage of my life, I’m learning that if I don’t like the way something is being done, I don’t have to keep going in that same direction. Working from home is another great example. I have never been able to work with sound around me. I can’t concentrate with background noise, so I have always worked in silence. But being at home by myself all day in silence was really starting to be weird. So, I tried something new. I started watching TV while I work. And the weirdest part is that I”m not even much of a TV person! But having stupid Bravo reality shows on in the background while I work gives me noise and human voices around and that actually has made a difference (I just finished Vanderpump Rules and am staring Real Housewives of Beverly Hills because I have an unhealthy obsession with Lisa Vanderpump). I never would have thought it would work for me because I LIKE silence and DON’T like TV, but my BFF, Christina, suggested it as something she uses because she works from home. And since I’m in this whole listening phase of life, I listened and tried it out and IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM!
So, that’s my update. I’m doing good. Really good. I feel more like myself and I’m much happier than I have been in a long time. Thanks for hanging in there with me while I worked through the past few months. I feel like I’m taking my first deep breaths (Inhale…1…2…3…Exhale…1..2..3…4.. – thanks meditation!) in a long time and it feels so good.
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