When Calm is Out of Our Comfort Zone
By Deborah Blackwell
How many times have we heard that life is about how we respond to it? Some people are able to flow through life’s challenges lighthearted, relaxed, and easy going, while others are more worried, excitable, and high strung.
Whatever our tendencies, control over our reactor factor depends on how much of it is part of our innate personality, and how much is a result of our environment.
Nature or nurture, everybody has their limits of what they can and can’t tolerate in their personal world.
Some of the descriptive words used by those close to me are usually the same – perfectionist…impatient…animated—a good friend even nicknamed me The Tempest. Definition of tempest? A violent, windy storm. I’m not proud, but will admit there have been some situations where I tended toward a more tempest-like personality. Who doesn’t have those moments?
I prefer my husband’s term of endearment, Princessa. While there’s not an official definition for Princessa, it likens to someone who has a little “princess” in her personality — kind…brave…confident, a woman who carries herself with dignity and poise. I’ll take that. But here’s the catch. A princess reacts calmly, every time.
I’d love to be more calm when something unexpected and difficult blows my way. But sometimes it feels impossible. Like the day we moved into our new home and I opened the dishwasher. It was green, moldy, and melting in its own smelly slime. How did that happen?
Intellectually, I knew it didn’t matter, we could rectify the unsanitary mess. But I didn’t respond like a princess, instead I pulled a Tempest.
I laughed later that day when I got a voicemail from a friend who said, “Hi, just reminding you that you don’t have to do everything in one day. It takes time to settle in. Stay calm.”
The irony is, being able to “stay calm no matter what” has been described as a superpower, and since some days it’s just not that easy, we can be ok with slipping up.
Hence the need to remember that life is about how we respond to it, even outside our comfort zone. For some of us, Princess-patience takes practice, but nothing is out of reach.
Making order out of chaos starts on the inside. So does acknowledging our weak spots, accepting them, and trying to do the best we can.
Which to me, is the best first response.