What To Do When You’re “Over It” But It Isn’t Over
Are you “over it?”
“Enough is enough!” my client exclaimed, her frustration and determination both succinctly contained in those words.
It’s a reaction I think we can all relate to. Sometimes life feels like we’re Indiana Jones trapped in that underground room with the walls relentlessly pressing in. At first, we’re responsive. Reactive. We press forward using our hope like a torch lighting the way.
But sometimes life keeps pushing back. And the situation, far from being temporary, begins to feel endless. Even hopeless.
We get tired. Disappointment and aggravation rise as spirits fall. Our mind and body screams for us to tap out, but life isn’t listening.
So what can we do when we’re “over it,” but’s not yet over?
Be Mindful of Your Mindset
When we focus on the end, we neglect to be in the present.
When we label something as “bad,” we have tendency to overlook the good. Whatever you nurture, grows.
When we assign happiness and success to external things, we neglect to make the internal changes needed to do better once the external circumstances change.
Take time to recognize, remember and be grateful for the beautiful moments this period has had to offer. And think about how you can cultivate those in the months or years to come.
Be present and mindful in these ongoing moments. Practice letting go of expectations and nurturing acceptance.
Refrain from assigning any magical powers to a new situation. If you want different, be different.
Don’t Be a Casualty of a Victim Mindset
When life has you between an elephant and asphalt, it’s easy to throw a pity party and engage in the “why me!” wails. A victimhood mindset is tantalizing. It offers excuses and a respite from responsibility. It often feels good and frequently comes with a generous helping of sympathy and pity.
Yet ultimately, the siren song of victimhood isn’t worth the tradeoff. You’re allowing yourself to be kept in a position of helplessness. Those drawn to you may have a need to be needed and so they have a motivation to keep you needy. And you can become dependent upon the ministrations of others, forced to constantly up the victim’s cry to maintain support.
When we’re tired, everything feels overwhelming. Your situation may be ongoing, but that doesn’t mean that you have to allow it mental space 24 hours a day. Sometimes when we have this BIG thing in our lives, we feel like we have to honor it with our constant attentions.
What might it look like it if you simply decide to change the channel for a time? It probably won’t make this thing end any sooner, but it probably won’t make it any worse either. Be wary of falling into the trap of waiting to live, of waiting to happy, until it’s over.
This situation may be a big part of your life right now, but it’s not your whole life.
Unearth Your Agency
Part of your frustration comes from feeling like you have no control. And there probably is quite a bit going on that you cannot change.
But there are some things you can.
Become your own detective, approach with curiosity and be wary of accepting ideas too readily as facts. What aspects of your situation – or more likely, your response to the circumstances, can you control?
Uncover those areas where you have agency and take responsibility for altering those and navigating them towards the direction you’re going.
Mark the Incremental Improvements
If you ran a marathon and only noted the finish line, the race would feel endless and your progress would seem insignificant. If, however, you were aware of every passing mile marker, your headway towards the goal would be readily apparent.
Life is no different. Don’t simply wait for the current circumstances to be over, make an effort to notice the intermediate accomplishments and improvements, no matter how small. No celebration is too big.
Funnel Your Frustrations
Being “over it” is a compilation of exhaustion and frustration. Use the latter to fuel you out of the former. That anger has energy that can put to good use. Find somewhere to focus your attention and your efforts that is unrelated to your current situation.
Plant a garden. Restore your deck. Replace your brakes. Sign up for yoga teacher training. Start a book club. Initiate a neighborhood walking club. Train a puppy. Master coding. Or calculus. Or a new language.
The “what” matters little. It’s the effort and attention that will help to lift you from your annoyance and perception of being stuck.
One day, that thing that you’re wanting to end, will.
And in the meantime, get busy living.