It was the perfect summer-like weekend with mild temperatures in the mid 70’s. I had the unique opportunity to spend time with my three beautiful daughters. Yet, it was bittersweet, as yesterday we sent two back off to school. I feel deeply grateful for this “surprise” gift of time we were given.
When the world shut down a few months ago and my girls were ushered back to the safety of our home, there was an incredible amount of stress as we all adjusted to working and going to school from home. For a while, it seemed we trudged from one day to the next in all of the uncertainty. I found myself saying, “We just need to get through this. We will get through this.” Then, after one particularly grueling day after my girls and I had gotten in another silly fight, I realized something.
There is nothing wrong with an attitude of perseverance, except sometimes a mindset of “powering through” may cause you to miss out on some of the beautiful opportunities in the midst of challenges. I made the mindset shift to look for the opportunities. Then I realized that I had the special gift of having my college girls back in our home at a time when I would usually go several months without seeing them in person.
Instead of “get through” choose “be thankful through.”
I asked myself, what if, instead of trying to “get through” I would choose to “be thankful through” this time, and make the most out of it?
This mindset shift made a huge difference. Instead of dwelling on all of the challenges, I opened my eyes to the gifts right in front of me; our two daughters, home with us. We had many meals together, conversations – light ones and deep ones, worked together, and played together. Yes, we fought a bit (no one in my family has a problem expressing their opinion), said we were sorry, and made up. We laughed, cried, lifted each other up, and challenged each other. In the end, our love and bond grew deeper than ever before.
In the heavy darkness of these times, sometimes it is hard to see the light. Have you found yourself at times like me just trying to “get through?” Instead of this approach, shift your mindset to ask, “How can I learn and grow?” “How can I take this time to improve, to enhance my own learning, and to deepen my relationships with others.”
Love the ones you’re with.
It is common in times of struggle for stress to run high and tensions to build. When this happens it is easy to take out your stress on those closest to you. Ever had a bad day at work and come home and find yourself getting into an argument about nothing with your spouse? Now with many working from home it is even harder to separate work life from home life.
How can you better love the ones you’re with? Here are 10 ways:
- Be grateful for them.
- Tell them how much they mean to you. Words matter.
- Treat them with kindness and respect.
- Show affection. Hugs mean so much more in this time of social distancing.
- Give them a break. Everyone is going to have a hard day so show some grace.
- Spend time together. Play, exercise, or just sit and talk.
- Be present. Put away distractions and give your full attention.
- Be quick to apologize and forgive.
- Challenge them to be their best selves – to use their unique gifts.
- Be their biggest fan. Always encourage and support them.
Remember your loved ones for who they are – the ones you love. Make your most important relationships a top priority, and watch the positive things that unfold.