I was moaning on about not wanting to go to work. No, hang on, let me re-phrase that. Ahem. I was explaining to IT Teen why I was finding going back to work difficult. Fully aware that he sees it as moaning (and that it sounds like much the same thing to the untrained ear), I watched, eagerly, as it looked like he might give me some useful advice, rather than tell me off.
Head on one side he said, 'Instead of always looking for ways to escape why don't you change your mindset about what you have?'
After realising that he had played his usual double whammy of being right and also completely missing my angst, I considered this. I said,
'So, you mean I should try to cope with the life I have to live instead of running away?'
'Yes, that's what everybody does,' he replied.
I thought about this. Imagine, you stay where you are and deal with it, instead of haring off, the only clue you were ever there the spinning coffee cup on your desk. Who would have thought such a thing?
Yes, perhaps you detect sarcasm creeping in. I should say that this sarcasm is aimed at much at myself as IT. He is only saying what most people think. Even if they are sympathetic, you can bet they're wondering why you don't just deal with it. I've often wondered the same thing myself.
I'll say, 'Oh, come on Amanda, it's just a few hours and then you'll be home again. It's worth it to put food on the table/pay the car bill/de-flea the dog'. You know how it goes, trying to persuade yourself with real-life, important arguments when faced with a childish desire to disappear over the hills and far away.
What did strike me as important in IT's logic was the idea that you might be able to change your mindset to suit the situation. Not simply argue with yourself or make mental lists of why you need to do a thing, but actually change the way you think about it.
I've changed the way I think about other things; it's a part of growing older. I now know school can be a good place (sometimes), that I will not die in the drive-in car-wash (probably), that sloths are not creatures sent from the bowels of hell to (very slowly) take over the earthly realm. I've even learned that I don't need to change myself to be a real human being.
Can I change, or slightly tweak, my mindset to make the difficult parts of life easier? Is it very different from simple coping mechanisms? Is it even possible to change your mindset or are we stuck in what we are, just because our feelings keep us there?
I'm not sure but I would be interested to know if anyone has tried this and how successful it might have been. I sometimes think I've managed to alter my attitude to situations, but then it only takes a bad day, or a hateful word, and away I go again. Does this mean it's impossible to truly change your mind?
In the end, I am not sure if I want to change my mindset at all. I don't relish self-sabotaging, but I do now recognise a certain truth within it: if I have the desperate need to escape and be somewhere else, there is usually a good reason for it. Should I really be training myself to ignore those reasons?
Readers, over to you. Is it the mindset that we should aim for, as a way to avoid the meltdowns? Can we become people who go beyond coping in stressful situations? Can we (I hesitate) be in full control of ourselves?
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