|Chemo #10. More of my videos here.|
A friend who has both a daughter and husband with cancer asked me this morning how I feel when people complain to me about their comparatively insignificant life trials and tribulations. It's a good and interesting question, and we took it on together, deciding that the truth is, for both of us, it depends.
Whether it's cancer or a hangnail, we all have issues that deserve our attention, and we all have moments (some of us more than others) when we truly don't have the bandwidth to deal with anyone else but ourselves.
I imagine our capacity to deal with emotional stress like a water balloon - the balloon is the container, the level of liquid inside reflects the amount of undischarged stress we're carrying around. Sometimes there's relatively little stress and the balloon is thick and flexible. We have slack; we can take a lot of poking without getting upset. But other times, when the balloon is full and taut, the tiniest little pin prick will cause the balloon's contents to come spurting out.
A part of healthy self-maintenance is intentionally emptying the balloon at regular intervals. The best way I know is to talk about it (with someone who has slack for listening, of course.) We don't have to depend on a crisis to come along and poke a hole in our armor, or to excuse us for taking up space with our emotions, nor do we need to pick a fight. Though perhaps a water balloon fight would be a fun way of doing it... Something to consider as the weather warms up!