It was election night. 2020 election night, nonetheless. One for the history books. Our nation was divided and tensions were high as all of America waited for the results. I personally had vowed not to absorb myself into the election. I had voted, in a very educated fashion and I had done my part. Now, I just needed to know what lie ahead, and manage it. Until then, I wanted to do everything to maintain my peace.
My husband had a different scenario in mind. He likes numbers, so he wanted to watch all the results. He wanted to be witness to the drama unfolding. Sometimes I think God just sits upstairs and laughs at how he puts opposite personalities together to see how they can get along. :)
In any case, it took me about 15 minutes, if that, before all the speculations and drama was simply enough for my wee little brain. I'm not sure if that means I am simply unstable, or what, but in any case, I recognized my limitations and decided to go read quietly in our bedroom.
I didn't last long reading, as my brain was already wired and it was hard to concentrate. So, I gave in to the sleep monster that visited early that evening. I have no regrets. Sometimes it's the only way for me to disengage adequately. Sometimes, no matter how much I try to get present, meditate or breathe, my monkey mind has simply taken over and I need to call it. I give up! You win! Wave the white flag!!!
When I woke up, it was 1:44 a.m. and my husband was just coming to bed. I had slept so deeply from 10 p.m. on that as soon as I was awake, I was AWAKE! Immediately I felt irritation at my husband who had disturbed my sleep and ended my peace. I felt the attack thoughts circulating as I wanted to blame him not only for this disturbance, but also for why I went to bed so early in the first place. I lay there stewing and blaming. "He came to bed way too late, and now I will never get back to sleep, all because he had to watch that train wreck on TV." As if on queue, then he started snoring.
For his safety and mine, I decided to get out of bed and use this time for good. I used the next 2 hours to journal, meditate, and yes some of it in overthinking and worrying, before I finally returned back to bed for another go at sleeping.
I did return to bed in a better place, but only after reframing the situation and painting a different picture of the outcome. I had a choice to make. I could either A) blame my husband and toss and turn in bed for 2 hours, worrying over things I had no business worrying about, playing the "oh woe is me" victim card I am all to familiar with, or B) Get up, try to process my feelings and work thru them, spend some quiet time seeking answers and then try to return to sleep later. I obviously chose B, which was not my normal choice, in a situation where sleep escapes me, but sometimes God uses these exact moments to get things thru our big fat skulls.
One thing that was very obvious to me during the entire process though was where my "go-to" fell. I desperately wanted to blame someone for this circumstance I found myself in, in this case my husband. This time though, I decided to reframe my words and see things thru a different perspective. Instead of using my "victim words," such as "You did this and as a result I couldn't return to sleep (or "I suffered" in other words), I went with "victor words," "I woke at 1:45 am, (it's really irrelevant why) and instead of suffering, I chose to use the quiet time to expand and reflect. Hmm, did I just grow a little? Someone go get the measuring stick and check my height! :)
I know it's such a simple scenario, but it's powerful when we start to think how our language actually frames our perception. When I got up, since I had reframed it from a victorious angle, I didn't feel the need to shame my husband into feeling bad for coming to bed so late. In fact, I didn't say a word about it. I let it go. I also noticed that because I wasn't sitting in this place of blame, ready to guilt my husband, that I didn't feel as tired all day for not being as rested. That simple reframing of my words changed my perspective - mind, body and even soul, not to mention it stopped me from framing my husband's day negatively. Who wants to start their day being blamed for making someone else sleep poorly?
So, next time it's 2 a.m. and your husband is snoring, and you can't fall back asleep, how about getting up and painting a picture? And, while you are at it, frame it. It's your choice if you want to paint a dark and negative picture, surrounded by a frame of victimizing words and attack or blame; or if you paint a light and airy picture instead, surrounded with words of victory, positivity and love, for yourself and for others.
Angela Miller is an an RN and Professional Life Coach passionately pursuing her purpose to help others remember who they are and how to become their best self, emotionally and physically. For more information, visit www.soaringforward.com.