Overcoming Overwhelm

It has happened countless times. She stands there in the doorway, befuddled and paralyzed.  It isn't clear to her what to do or even what the first step should be. She wishes she could just walk away...deal with this another day. She is a nine year old girl, and she has just been told by her mother to GO CLEAN HER ROOM.

How is she any different from any of us? We all have stood in front of a mess of one kind or another, mouth agape, feeling overwhelmed, feeling defeated before we have even started.

I remember being that young girl, and I was reminded of it just recently with my own daughter.

It is of comfort to me that most things in life that seem problematic or complicated, are really very simple at their core. You just have to seek out that basic element, boil the thing down to its very essence.

For instance, have you ever heard the theory that married couples really have only ONE argument during all the years they are married? Oh sure, the words used each time will be different, and the TOPIC may change...but supposedly you are arguing about the same damn thing every time. How much easier would life be if we could only figure out the real message behind the annoyance with leaving the toilet seat up?!?

I know that on that afternoon when my daughter had been charged with PUTTING IT ALL AWAY, the mound of mixed up clothes, papers, toys, hair thingees, and shoes had been shifted around and kicked about for quite awhile before I came to check on her--without any noticeable progress being made.

I jumped in, and we worked together. We boiled it down to the most simple tasks:

"Grab all the books! Let's get all the ones that are on the floor...any more we missed? There's another one. Now let's put this stack back on the shelf." We didn't lose our focus until all the books had been dealt with.

We then piled all the clothes together on the bed. We very quickly sorted out the dirty from the clean, and the pile of dirty was happily shoved in the hamper.

By now she was visibly energized since the room was looking better by each passing second. The mixed up mess had been broken into manageable categories.  We had a system, and the thing that seemed impossible was quickly being dealt with. It felt like it could be done. And it was!

So, the next time each of us is faced with a daunting project, we must remember it really is simple. Start with a basic task and see that part through. The accomplishment will bolster your will to take the next step, and then the next....

What did Mary Poppins say? :"Well begun is half done!"

Now, go get started!