This past Christmas was really special for me. Breaking my ankle at one of the busiest times of the year was definitely not my plan. In the beginning I was feeling miserable and guilty and a huge sense of impotence fulfilled me. I could not move freely, I could not do my normal work, I could not help… However, I quickly realized that I was presenting myself as a victim, and that the decision to change my attitude only depended on me. Then I started accepting the situation and trying to look at it through other eyes and from a different perspective.
First, I tried to take the focus off me. I tried to look for ways to continue doing my work from my new situation. You can still do a lot of things with a broken leg! Everything slows down and that is a big advantage. I valued the present more. I could care about others, giving them my full attention and my time. I did not have to run or do a thousand things at the same moment. I could be there just for them. I was doing small services, not very important or essential, but meaningful for other people. I was fulfilling my mission in a new way for me because I was managing other types of domestic concerns, which is also a part of homemaking.
Most of the time, at least for me, it is much easier to be the one helping out. Not working made me feel uncomfortable and then I realized why. On a daily basis, I was giving more importance to the feeling of happiness for being useful (and sometimes quite “essential”) than the happiness of making other people’s lives easier. I found that this attitude was not the one I want to have towards my work. So I decided that there are some things that have to change in me. And this was a wonderful opportunity to get started. I had before me a formidable challenge: to compose a new poem from this unexpected and unwilled situation. “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. And that is what I tried.
Learn from others
When circumstances force you to stop, you also change roles. You are no longer the one serving but the one who has to be served. You are no longer the one in control but you have to delegate and see how others manage to get things done without your help and accept that things can take other paths. Some events will be different than you had planned but everything will be ok. Inventiveness and creativity grow to a great extent when we face challenges. Sometimes we need these to develop lateral thinking!
Ask for help
Simon Sinek states that “to overcome our challenges, all that is required is the courage to ask for help”. In our society we are sometimes conditioned to believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness. We want to be independent. Now I understand that asking for help can be a “win-win”, especially at home where we do not have to hide our weaknesses because we are loved and accepted as we are. When we ask for help we can build stronger relationships with our family and friends, learn from each other and grow on the inside. We become more generous and humble.
I definitely do not want people to miss the Leti I was during those weeks. It was not an easy journey and I had to start once again but I tried to make the best “lemonade” I could and I am happy for that. Now, after two months have passed since that accident, I have to remind myself every day that I see better when I look from a different perspective, that I can learn a lot from others and that asking for help makes me stronger.