Knowing What Works for You

One of the things I realized last year was that one of the keys to happiness and living a peaceful life was getting to know myself as well as I could. When I discovered my scrappy “voice” two years ago, scrapbooking became considerably more fun for me. I felt like I’d found my little corner and I was finally at home. And over the next year I realized more and more that life is similar. If I can figure out how I work and what I like and what I dislike in more areas of my life, I can be a lot more clear about my path, my intentions, my friends, my relationships, my choices, etc.

So I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Whenever I do or feel something, I try to step back and be more aware so that I can see if it’s one of the pieces of the puzzle that defines who I am. Journaling every morning helps me with that journey quite a bit.

This morning, as I journaled, I realized that I was feeling off. Not really upset but just off. There was an underlying level of anxiety and I didn’t like it. As I dug in deeper, I realized that it was because I felt like I still had a lot of items on my todo list for work. Some of these items were not clearly defined for me so I didn’t know their scope, making it even harder for me to have them undone.

I’ve learned over time that having things undone is not a comfortable place for me. Neither is lack of clarity. I tend to prefer clear deliverables with deadlines. And I will always, always, always deliver under the deadline. This is important to me. So because I know it’s important to me, I tend to get anxious when I have things due. All I can think about is getting them done. And this morning’s anxiety was of this kind.

So I did what I know works best for me. I sat down and got a bunch of stuff done. This helped clarify the scope of some of my items and eliminated others from my list. And guess what? Anxiety went away. Even though I didn’t actually finish the list or even clarify all the items, I still felt much better because I made solid progress and that’s what I needed.

The trick is to know what works for you.

In this case, I just needed to sit and get stuff done. There are cases where I need to sit and journal. Or get up and take a walk. When I am really really upset emotionally, I often need to take a nap so I can “reboot” and look at things with fresh eyes. If I am really really angry, I need to take a break and play with my kids so the joy and gratitude comes back and I can remember what matters most. If I am conflicted and super-frustrated emotionally, I tend to journal so I can sort out my feelings/thoughts on paper. There are cases where I just call a friend because I know I can’t resolve it on my own or just need to hear myself say it out loud.

There’s no right or wrong thing to do here. The trick is to know what works for you.

I don’t always get it right, of course. Sometimes, even when I know what I should do, I don’t do it. I whine. I wallow. I live in self-pity. I let it get out of hand. I scream. I do all these things, too. But more and more, I am trying to pay attention to what works for me so that I can have it in my arsenal of things to try when the need arises. I think the more aware I am of their existence and use, the more likely I am to look for them when the time is right.

Or so I hope.

ps: If you’ve sent me an email or left a comment in the last few days, I am deeply sorry that I haven’t replied yet. I’ve been desperately catching up on a long list of tasks and I have class tonight and a lot of work all week. So just please know that I will reply as soon as I can and I am not ignoring you in any way and also that you words are really important to me (which is why I am not just rushing with a precut reply.) I truly appreciate your patience with me.

9 comments to Knowing What Works for You

  • Karen your posts of late have struck a chord within me. I’m looking at important areas of my life in a different and better way. Thank you for sharing yourself…your experience speaks to myself and I’m sure to others as well and impacts me positively. I really appreciate your thoughts and you!!!

  • Angie Menegay

    Typing this on an iPhone, so please pardon the spelling. Love how introspective you are and thanks for sharing your experiences. I’m sure lots of us can resonate with you, and can use some of your tips!

  • I love reading your posts, they so speak to me on so many levels. I’ve been having that conversation with myself for most of the year. I create a bunch of things I must do for my work alongside the ‘life’ stuff and then get all frustrated, annoyed, stressed at myself for not keeping up. I love lists so made another which detailed what needed to be done for each task and this breaking it down made me see how even snatched 10 mins could be useful. Identifying my emotions was another task but enabled me to put some remedies in place. I find the lessons learnt on the ‘Soul Restoration 1’ class really useful, and sometimes amazed at how complicated we (I)can make things. I aim to spend more time seeing what works for me and not get side tracked by the needs of others who are used to me being all and everything to them…(I’m hanging up my ‘wonder woman’ outfit for a while:)

    • karenika

      I too find the lessons from SR1 so useful. I should go back to it and review them again. The wonder woman outfit is so so overrated! 🙂

  • This is *so* true. I’ve been in a weird funk lately, as well, and last night I was sort of holding myself back from doing anything and everything because I felt so uneasy, and finally I just pulled out some liquid inks and made a mess. It wasn’t high art, but at least I kept the creative momentum going and it felt good. It was familiar and I knew what to do- nothing to puzzle out or analyze. I think the same thing needs to apply to other areas of life, as well. Thanks for the reminder today that the familiar is always a good place to begin when stuck.

  • I am also learning things like this. For instance, if I am really down, I know I need to have music on in the house (I’m here alone most days). If I am trying to get cleaning done, it needs to be country music – lol! Your list is so varied – as you discovered the different “cures” for each emotion, did you write them down to remember them? I have memory issues, just wondering how you managed to get it all down? Thanks!

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