So I'm back to taking classes, earning my Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. It's the most exhausting thing I've ever worked toward, and I can see why many people either don't undertake it, or drop out partway through. It is SO MUCH WORK. And I'm only taking one class right now. My academic advisor recently informed me that after the first couple quarters, students usually "juggle things around" so they can take two classes at a time. I'm not sure what he thinks I'm supposed to juggle, other than my sanity, but apparently things are going to get much busier before they get better.
Since I know now that insanity is in my near future (my husband would tell you it's already arrived), I am trying to learn as much about surviving this phase as I can, in the hopes that I will still have some shreds of mental clarity left at the end, given that my plans are to help other people with their own mental health. I wrote a post last fall on the lessons I was learning up to that point, titled Lessons From Graduate School. The past couple weeks, I've become aware of some new lessons I'm needing to learn. So without further ado, here's lessons from graduate school, part two:
Lesson one: Ask for what you need. My family keeps telling me they can't read my mind, and I'm beginning to think it's true. I never seem to get what I need unless I outright ask for it. As much as I wish they could just discern it, especially when it seems so obvious to me, that doesn't seem to be the way it works. So I'm starting to state what I need. Funnily enough, it works a lot better than mind-reading.
Lesson two: Do your best, but don't be a perfectionist. I can really put enormous pressure on myself. I do this thing where I envision the perfect scenario, and then I convince myself that nothing less than that ideal will suffice. It's an incredibly effective way to give myself a stroke, but isn't good for much else. When I catch myself trying to live up to a made-up impossible ideal, I am trying to remind myself that my best is good enough.
Lesson three: Set good boundaries. Oh, boy. The mother of all lessons for me. Good boundaries allow for freedom and security. Good boundaries create respect. Good boundaries keep me from losing my shit on a regular basis. And yet, I still have a lot to learn about setting boundaries. My boundaries tend to move if someone isn't happy with them, which technically makes them...not really boundaries. My mantra right now is "You don't have to be okay for me to be okay." It's helpful in all kinds of situations. Try it sometime. I bet you'll love it. It means that you can set the boundary, other people can not like it, and it's all still good. You just smile calmly and carry on. The other day, I even started laughing to myself at my daughter's freaking out and stomping off when I stood my ground on something.
I am re-learning these lessons every week. I hope you catch on to them faster than I am, but if not, it's okay. Life is not a race, and there are abundant opportunities to learn what you need to learn around every corner. So, what lessons are you currently learning?
I am so glad you are here! Welcome to my blog. This is your space, too. My name is Amy, and I am no stranger to the ups and downs of life. Join me as we search for beauty, authenticity, tell our truth, and hold space for each other in the messiness of life.