There is a certain heaviness that comes with the thought that nothing is going to change.
That heaviness can be paralyzing.
If nothing changes, can we keep doing what we are doing?
And if the answer to that is no, where does that leave you?
The truth is, when I started doing this work of changing a painful experience in my life, it had nothing to do with my job.
My misery focused around the unexpected loss of an extremely important relationship. My world was rocked; I felt totally off balance. I didn’t really know how to live my life with the void that was left.
And I was miserable...
for a really long time.
I literally couldn’t see how my life could ever be the same, what my future would look like, how it could be fixed when the relationship wasn’t coming back.
How could I feel better when the reality of my situation wasn’t going to change?
Out of desperation, I started reading everything I could on feeling better. I had already dipped my toe into the self-help world with “fun” topics like productivity and habit change but this was much more important.
I had no way to change the situation, I could only change how I felt. Honestly, if I could even move from miserable to neutral it would be a huge improvement.
So I got to work. I listened to podcasts, I read tons of books, I did the worksheets over and over.
It wasn’t instantaneous and it wasn’t linear, but ultimately the pain started to dissipate. I learned how to observe my thoughts instead of identifying with them. I learned how to pick new thoughts and practice them over and over until they became the default. I learned how to heal my hurt with compassion for myself and for the other person. I learned how to think in new ways. I learned strategies to calm my nervous system.
I learned how to be happy again.
Now, looking back, I am so proud of myself that I looked for a way to move forward from this whole horrible experience.
You may be wondering what this has to do with working as a nurse.
Once I learned these tools, I started using them in all the areas of my personal life. I started applying them to big goals and small goals, relationships and home maintenance.
And they worked great. It was like I found the golden ticket.
Why it took me a year to even consider applying these strategies at work I have no idea.
I remember the day so clearly. I was at work, thinking miserable thoughts about a situation with a coworker (who wasn’t going to change), when a lightbulb went off.
I could use the strategies that I used in the loss of the earlier relationship to help heal my thoughts about this coworker. It didn’t mean this person had to change. It didn’t mean I had to approve of (or even like) how they were acting.
I COULD FEEL BETTER EITHER WAY.
And the floodgates opened.
It took me a full month of daily practice to help ingrain new thoughts about this person. It took reminders on my desk about how I wanted to think. It took 30 days to build a new muscle that allowed me to not be triggered (or to recover quickly).
30 days to change my whole experience of working with this person.
Here’s the real kicker, fixing that one thorn in my side opened up so much mental space at work. It allowed me to stop ruminating. It allowed me to focus on why I was there and what I wanted to accomplish. It took away a HUGE distraction.
It allowed me to get back to enjoy the nursing part of the work I do.
The moral of the story?
I know it feels like there is no way to be happy if a situation is horrible.
I know it feels like things can’t change unless you change your job.
It feels this way because you haven’t ever had an experience that allows you to believe otherwise. I’ve had the experience which is why I know you can too.
What if it IS possible? Can you allow yourself a little seed of belief, a little seed of hope?
I didn’t think it was possible but desperation motivated me to try and I’m so glad I did.
So what is the take away for today, the strategy to get the ball rolling?
Simple, just ask yourself over and over (post-it on the med cart is optional): What if I CAN feel better here?
…and let the games begin.
If the idea of reading all the books and listening to all the podcasts feels like something you would never do, no worries. This is why I do the work I do, to make it easier for nurses to create a whole new reality at work. I have streamlined the process into a tried and true, 6 week program to love the job you can’t afford to leave. Desperation isn’t a character flaw, it’s a sign that you want something more. Schedule a complimentary consult here.