written by Amber Fuller, LMFT, Owner and Clinic director of Fuller Living Counseling
I’m feeling emotionally tired and overloaded with the quarantine and mental health blogs. They are all valid and valuable of course. The PTSD that ensues from this pandemic from every corner of the topic, to creating a new normal. I think I’ve read about every idea under the sun and just need to read and write about something different. So, in an effort to take a break from the topic of quarantine for a little bit, I’d like to chat about Easter.
Easter is over, I know. It came and went this year. Do you want to know a secret? Our Easter was absolutely fantastic. We woke up later in the day, had a nice big breakfast, ordered in lunch, watched cartoons with our kids, played Jenga, and had many laughs. From what I’ve heard, my experience on Easter was a normal experience for most, and I have a theory about why this is.
EXPECTATIONS WERE GONE! You know what I’m talking about. No cleaning of the house, no fancy dinner with pressure to perform, no forced conversation, since we were all in quarantine. Spending Easter this way was absolutely marvelous. Do you want to know another secret? This is how EVERY EASTER could be. In fact, this is how EVERY DAY could be! At some point in our lives we created ideas as to what we “should” be doing and how we “should” be living, and where our value “should” come from. They are all mistaken beliefs. Want to know somebody’s mistaken beliefs, watch the way they handle the holidays. The fact is that we inherently have value and worth and it doesn’t come from how clean our house is during the holidays or how fresh the Turkey is on Thanksgiving. People truly don’t care about these things from the outside looking in. People who love YOU and care about YOU just want to experience YOU when they’re around you. Sit down, stop sweeping the floor, and show up to the conversation with your vulnerable thoughts and ideas. Let people see you and experience you, not just your turkey dinner. When you do this, not only will people feel connected to you, but you’ll likely experience a decrease in feelings of loneliness, because you’ll actually be connecting with people.
To continue this topic of expectations, I’m going to swing full circle back to the beginning of this post. People are struggling right now with unrealistic expectations. It’s nice to be put in a place where you have an excuse to quarantine and not do the ritualistic things that come with Easter, but what if you have an excuse every day to rid yourself of the unrealistic expectations you place on yourself? The next time you find yourself creating a task list ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this something I want to be doing for me?
- Am I finding my value and purpose in this task in an unhealthy way?
- Will I experience feelings of resentment after I complete this task?
- Do I feel like I’m “performing” by doing this?
- Is this my natural talent, or am I striving in unhealthy ways?
Asking yourself these questions can be extremely beneficial, especially during this pandemic. Take homeschooling your kids for a second:
- Do I want to do this for me, or am I doing this out of fear that my children will get behind or I’ll be seen as a bad parent?
- Do I find my value in my title of “mom” or do I recognize that my value isn’t found in being a mom?
- Am I feeling resentful towards the teachers or the school? Then something probably needs to change if I am.
- Am I being my authentic self right now in homeschooling my kids, or am I trying to gain approval?
- Am I striving hardcore right now to home-school? Ease up on the pedal there mama’ and lower the expectations.
On a final note, I want to say that you have value, worth, purpose, and belonging simply because you do. I’d also like to add that you have NO MORE OR LESS value than the president of the united states, the pastor of your church, the CEO of the company you work for, or the friend with a high number of likes to their posts. Don’t let the world trick you into thinking that your value lies in what you do or how many people like you or show up to your Easter get together. You are valuable simply because you are!
(I recognize that we are in the middle of a pandemic and it’s hard on people’s physical bodies, emotions, and relationships, and this blog is not meant to negate this in any way)