I’ve asked you in the past — how do you gain a sense of perspective in a situation that is spiraling or stressful? I love the rubric of asking myself how long the situation will matter: Will this matter in a day? A week? A year? More recently, I have also found it helpful to take a minute to imagine myself explaining the situation to a friend. What would I emphasize or de-emphasize? At what point would I contextualize the matter in relation to my friend’s life and goings-on?
There is a specific scenario I have in mind that predicates this point: a few years ago, I bored my friend to sleep by detailing the ins and outs of the preschool application process one evening over wine. I cringe when I think back on it. It was new terrain for me, I was going through it alone (no close friends were enrolling their children at that time!), and I was determined to make the right decision and so I was being vulnerable, but still. I should have known better than to drone on about it to a girlfriend who was struggling to have children herself, and who might think sending a two-year-old to a private pre-school in Manhattan was borderline insane to begin with. A few years later, she made a comment in passing that let me know I had indeed gone off the deep end. It was a good lesson, and one I have learned in other permutations dozens of other times over the past few years. These experiences of over-sharing and over-self-indulgence have on the one hand made me much more sensitive to cue-taking and on the other hand — for better or worse — left me a bit more withholding as a general proposition. But mainly, they have established markers that help me “drive within the lines” in the sense that I now have a better sense for when I am exhausting a topic, and I more intuitively visualize the relationship between whatever is weighing on my heart and whatever is weighing on theirs. I know better when to pull on the reins.
And so I find that imagining a conversation with a friend on a given topic helps me resituate myself. I don’t do this to undermine my own feelings, or to downplay whatever is on my mind at a given point — but more to float above for a few minutes, to perch somewhere outside my meandering knot of thoughts.
I have leaned on this prompt a fair amount lately, as I work through the stresses of finding a home, leaving New York, setting up in the DC area. Somehow, imagining myself talking through whatever is draining me on a particular day inevitably reminds me of the fantastic opportunity we have in front of us, and I find myself saying (in imagined exchange with a friend): “But it’s all leading to the right place. We’ll get through it.”
What about you? How do you find a perch above an emotional fracas?
+On choosing English as a major — so many interesting comments on this one.
+I feel like a lot of us are into this dress shape for summer — works with bump!
+Adorable blockprint cosmetics bags at a fantastic price.
+Great longline sportsbras — have been hearing such good things about this brand!
+This pendant light is just so good — note the dimensions! Big enough to work in a formal dining room.
+Outnet has a surprisingly good cache of discounted Zimmermann pieces, like this pretty lilac top.
+I have several expecting mom friends who swore by this loose-fit sweatshirt during pregnancy, but totally works sans bump too! Love it in the stripe!
+Cute summer trousers. Imagining wearing these over a swimsuit or with high heels and white silk blouse!
+Hello! These croc-effect slides are SO chic for the price!
+A great crib at a great price. Just love this look.
+How great are these bib and bento box sets for littles?!