Don't Sideline Yourself
Updated: an hour ago
I am just emerging from one of those weeks. Let me rephrase. I am just emerging from one of THOSE weeks. You know the ones. The weeks when you feel like all you are doing is putting out personal fires, scrambling to keep your head above water and not actually doing much of what you had planned at all. And while I want to be thankful that the week came to an end, I'm actually so disappointed that the week ended without feeling like anything meaningful actually happened. One of those weeks.
I've been dissecting the reasons for being sidelined. I wasn't sick. I wasn't recovering from vacation. I wasn't sad or disappointed because of family or friends. I spent a lot of time last week choosing to view, with rapt attention and detail, the political news of the week. There was a hearing on Capitol Hill regarding the alleged assault of a young woman by a young man who is now a grown man who is the leading candidate to be a Supreme Court Justice. Not your everyday news. I watch the political news all the time. Being a native of Washington, DC, I feel like political news is in my blood. I enjoy it. I love knowing the names and faces and legislation attributable to senators and representatives all over this land. I love that I vote on purpose and with purpose. In addition to terrible politics, we had a devastating hurricane, a deadly earthquake and a pending storm in the Pacific. And kids left in hot cars and shootings and general worldwide distress. Ok - not a great week for anyone, it seems. And I am a massive consumer of current events and the news, so I didn't really think the news from last week would be any different than what I already knew.
But I was very wrong. The news sidelined me. It made my life immeasurably more stressful. I didn't like the news cycle - I rarely do. It left me feeling unconvinced that my place here and the things I care about most are being held in high regard. The news made my life stressful.
Let me rephrase that.
I made my life immeasurably more stressful.
I sat on the proverbial sidelines of my own life because I was glued to a week of news that I couldn't turn off. And while I didn't choose the problems in the world, I chose to watch them unfold. I chose to read the details of stories and fall victim to "click-bait" and sensational image galleries. I chose to not discuss my disgust with anyone but to keep it inside. I chose to keep going back for more, not even realizing that my feelings of having a totally crappy week - I mean, being sidelined - were not the cause of my bad week but a symptom of my very own, self-directed actions. My week and all of the feelings about it belonged to me, not to the news.
So I did it to myself. I sidelined myself. That is actually pretty wonderful news. Because if I did it to myself, I'm in control. I can choose to do it differently this week, and keep myself off the sidelines and in the game of life. It is so easy to blame something else for how we are feeling and what we are doing. But nothing could be further from the truth. When I blame the news for my bad week I give too much power to something outside of my control. I allow something else to actually direct how I am going to live and function and feel.
CRAZY!!? How I live, how I function and how I feel are critical! Why would I ever give the power to control those things away.....to the news?
I can do better. I can at least TRY to do better. I don't want to be sidelined. And I most definitely don't want to be sidelined simply because I didn't maintain my own personal power to control how my week goes, and how my life goes. No news this week. In place of news, I can surely find things that will support my life and my functioning and my feelings in a more positive way. Hmmm....I wonder if reading the Chronicle would be fine....ok, you're right. Maybe not.