As much as I enjoy being an adult, sometimes, I just want to curl up in a ball, grab my stuffed animal, and get lost in a book for hours like I did as a kid. I want to get lost in another world rather than be in my reality. Let’s be honest, being an adult can be tough, especially being a professional working one.
Lately, my job has been extremely stressful. I knew the stress would come one day, so that doesn’t bother me. But, what bothers me is what it can do to me and how it impacts me. When I am stressed, whether it be at my job or any event, etc., my stress can cause me to not enjoy what I do. It can cause me to not be my normal, fairly outgoing, yet introverted self.
On those days, it can be hard to go to work ready to be productive and pleasant. It can be difficult to not throw in the towel for even a brief moment. Most importantly, it can be extremely difficult to be emotionally present and focused.
I have a rather expressive face, so when I am having a rough day, it’s obvious. It was quite the chore to work through those kinds of shifts when I worked at McDonald’s. At McDonald’s, and really any fast food chain, it is all about smiles and friendlessness. Your front to customers was more important than your feelings, needs, or life situation.
I was reminded of all this and more at an appointment recently. I could tell the health professional was having a rough day. I’ve seen her regularly enough to pick up on her typical body behaviors to know that day, in particular, wasn’t great. It wasn’t obvious, but I am quick to pick up on those types of cues.
I know what it is like to have to muster up even an ounce of professional demeanor for what could be an excruciatingly long day ahead.
To say the least, my heart broke for her and I barely know her. My heart broke for her because I wanted to ask if she was okay. I wanted to ask if she was having a rough day.
But, I couldn’t, so I didn’t. And it’s been bugging me ever since.
As I get older, I learn more about the depth and complexity of people, emotions, and trials. I learn more about getting through one day at a time, even if it takes all you’ve got.
But, it’s even more difficult when you throw your job into the mix. There’s this tension inside of oneself that is hard to explain. There’s the tension of needing to be there but also just wanting to walk away from it all.
How do you be present for the patient, clients, students, customers, etc., but also wrestle with life? I don’t have it quite figured out. To be honest, the highly emotional person in me probably never will figure out that part of life. And I am truly okay with that.
I’d rather wear my heart on my sleeve and showcase my emotions all over my face rather than silently suffer. I’d rather be honest that I am struggling, even a little bit than be unreal, even if it means I struggle for days on end, especially as someone who battles depression.
So, I still find my heart breaking for the health professional. I know because of our relationship all I can do is pray for her. I can pray for God to bring peace in her life. I can pray for God to be with her, even if I don’t know what’s going on.
Most importantly, I can be thankful for that small glimmer of hope I found in her tough day. Her tough day showed me I am not alone. Her tough day showed me that every working professional will go through bad days at their job, no matter how much he or she enjoys it. Her tough day showed me it is okay to show people you are hurting without spilling your guts or losing your cool.
My call to you is this: Please observe others. Please treat those who serve you or care for you as if you are in their position. It can be challenging to constantly appease to a job that demands never-ending smiles or conversation when that’s the last thing a working professional wants to do.
And if you are a working professional who can identify with this, don’t feel pressure to constantly be happy and upbeat. Don’t beat yourself up over manmade ideals and pressures. You are human after all.
Instead, find a comfortable balance that works for you. Find a comfortable balance between being professional but also being honest with the reality that you are a human with feelings and difficulties just like everyone else, including those you encounter.
For me, that usually means showing it in my face, but not talking about it with others unless I am truly open to confiding in them. But, then again, that is only if they ask what’s wrong. I am not typically someone who likes to volunteer information unless I truly feel the Lord calling me to be vulnerable and open. Regardless, I understand not everyone has colleagues they can confide in. Besides, there are days I just simply don’t want to talk about it.
Furthermore, it means finding small ways to have conversations with others without being pushy. It means even just texting my husband that I am having a rough day, so he can be thinking of me and praying for me throughout the day.
Most importantly, it means taking my day one small task at a time. Before I know it, it will be over and I can hopefully find the time to simply unwind and aim for a better tomorrow.