(HeHe's article is published for Birch Baby HERE in its entirety.)
When someone says something is bigger than you, a natural instinct is to be bigger than whatever is bigger than you, right? Wrong. That will only lead to a vicious and very unhealthy cycle. However, there are a few things you can do. I wish I could say, "take this magic pill and all your troubles will go away." (*cue my wanting to save the whole world complex*) I don't have a special pill, but I do have a few words of advice about what I've learned to do.
- Remind Yourself. Constantly remind yourself of what you have learned and why this is bigger than you. Whether that look like, "They are not a good person and no matter how nice I am to them, they won't change," or "This person needs more help than I can provide them and they aren't open to speaking with anyone new," or maybe even a little self-preservation of "I just can't continue to support this person because it is so negative and it is affecting my personal life/relationships."
- Do Some Soul Searching. When something doesn't sit right with us, it is important to search within yourself to understand why. It is important to understand your own triggers and your own boundaries when working with other people. Understanding this about yourself can help you be aware of when someone is getting close to crossing those lines, advocate for yourself and set your limits and expectations.
- Talk About It. Find someone you can trust and someone who understands and talk. Talk it through with that person. It's helpful if that person will challenge your thoughts to help you consider other viewpoints and angles. Some people want to talk about things once and they feel better, while others may want to continue to verbally process all the things so it may take a few conversations. Remember, there is a difference between coping and talking versus dwelling.
- Plan For The Future. What did you learn from this encounter? Take a bit to reflect. Self-reflection will help you learn things about yourself. Behavioral reflection will allow you to look at both parties' behaviors to learn something; plus this may give you an insight into where the other person might be coming from. Emotional reflection will help you evaluate your emotions going into the situation, during the situation, and what emotion the situation elicited from you afterward. You can also try to think about the other person's possible emotions. Through this time of reflection, you can think of ways that, if you had to have this conversation (or one similar) again, you would be better prepared to stay in control.
Whatever is going on in your life--especially in your pregnancy or on your journey to conceiving--take a pause to really think, "Is this bigger than me?" This time in your life is full of learning opportunities.
Having a child is just the beginning of a long journey of "a-ha moments" that help you realize things about yourself such as your boundaries, your weaknesses, your breaking points, your achievements, and your triumphs.
You will learn what you need to survive vs. what you need to be happy. You will learn what exhaustion really feels like, but you will always, somehow, find the energy to keep going.You will be amazed at yourself and your child, but also at your partner.
One of my darling friends said it best, recently. She said, "This year has been a year of pure happiness, pure exhaustion, pure amazement, pure anxiety, and most importantly pure love." It will also be filled with those moments that are bigger than you and that's okay.