I’m taking the day off from work today as a mental health day. With difficult things coming at me from all directions lately, I’ve decided to disconnect from the world and re-connect with God. When my boys were in school, I used to give them two mental health days each school year. They used them so wisely, planning very carefully when to use them, and usually saving them until the end of the year when their mind truly needed a break. I was so proud of them for using those two days as they were intended.
After I finished my time of quiet meditation, prayer, and Bible reading this morning, my mind traveled to my job. For most of my life, whenever things got tough, I was a “quitter”. That’s changing.
I work in a large company that has many women employees. I’m not sure what it is, but this has been, by far, the most difficult job I’ve ever had when it comes to relationships with others. The cattiness and pettiness are brutal, the gossip rampant, and sometimes it feels like I’m in a shark tank.
That being said, I have been at this job for seven years now and I have not quit, as has been my history. Not that I haven’t wanted to several times, but I have stuck it out. Many people would argue that life is too short to be miserable. And I fully agree with that sentiment. However, this is what I have learned by sticking it out:
* Others cannot make me miserable unless I allow them to. Joy comes from within me. That means I can find joy wherever I am and whoever is around me. If I allow others to make me angry or rob me of my joy, I’m giving them power over me. That can only happen if I allow it to.
* Looking back through the events that have led me to this job, I truly believe that God has placed me here to make a difference. To learn how to be happy and thankful despite circumstances and to practice persevering through hard times. It has made me stronger, more resilient, and more compassionate.
* Meditation is really such an easy thing to do, but so darn easy to forget in the midst of a struggle. Placing a reminder in front of me like a simple acronym that only I understand, reminds me to take time, even if all I have is a moment, to take a deep, slow breath, focusing on something I’m grateful for. Practicing meditation during all circumstances has made me much more proficient at it regardless of the noise and activity around me. It centers me, brings me back to God, and quiets my mind, making me more intact internally when externally things are nothing less than crazy.
* When those around me are talking about someone, not only do I not have to participate, but I don’t have to listen, or even pay attention. It’s okay to get up from my desk to make copies, get a cup of coffee, or even make a point of walking by the person being talked about and show compassion with a simple smile.
* When I’m on the receiving end of the gossip, and it reaches me, if I have done what is being said and it was wrong, I can take it as a reminder to not do it again and make amends if necessary. If I didn’t do it, then I have nothing to worry about. I can take the high road, knowing the rumor doesn’t have any foundation.
* I don’t have to please anyone other than God. Having struggled with being a people pleaser for most of my life, this has been huge. And I get constant practice at my job. Not only is it okay, but commendable, to do the unpopular thing if it means pleasing and serving only God.
* Not to take things personal. If someone is having a bad day, or women are whispering around me, it’s highly unlikely about me at all. Everything is not about me. And there is such freedom in remembering that!
I am grateful to work in a place where my immediate supervisor believes in mental health days. In working with victims all day, she understands the importance of taking care of ourselves. And that is something I’m so grateful for.
All is Grace.