Each week we change the words/quote/saying that we are displaying on the noticeboard in our kitchen; these are the words we try to live by individually and as a family that week. Some weeks may focus on lifting our mood, others may be about motivation or attitude to life; something that speaks to us on some level and that we can directly apply to our lives. Changing the words each week stops them from becoming just another thing you walk past without really seeing, it keeps things fresh and stops them losing their power. This series is where I share those words with you in the hope they may help you and your family too. If you a new to the series and want to learn more, you can read the first post here, or check out the Words To Live By tab in the top menu.
What do you do when life throws you a curveball (or several)? Do you fight against it or go with the flow?
Your answer may depend on your understanding of the phrase ‘go with the flow’. Some people associate it with giving in and letting life just happen rather than creating the life you want, but that isn’t what it means at all. It’s about working with life, rather than against it.
No matter how much you plan and prepare in life, things will always come up at the last minute to change things. Your kid may get sick, or the tube go on strike on a day you have a big presentation or meeting. Your flight might get cancelled or delayed as you are setting off on holiday. It may rain on your wedding day. None of these things can be changed, but how you react to them can.
You could get angry, frustrated, upset. You could make a big fuss and call anyone you can to complain about the situation and demand they fix it somehow. You could become despondent and feel like the whole world is out to get you. Or, you could go with the flow.
Accept that things happen and work with it instead of against it. One of my favourite pictures from my wedding is one where you can see the big black boots sticking out under my dress. It had been raining all morning and attempting the sodden and muddy grass in my high heels would have been a very bad idea. Instead of fighting against the fact it was raining at my wedding and letting it ruin the day I went with it and we had the most magical day.
If your child is sick and you have to miss an important meeting, there’s no use fighting against it, it won’t get you anywhere other than you being stressed and your already sick child feeling guilty. Do what you can in terms of work, whether its rescheduling, arranging a conference call, or just arranging to meet up with someone who did attend on your return so that they can catch you up. Then make the most of this extra time with your child. Snuggle up under a blanket and watch a film. Some of my favourite memories are from these kinds of days with my mum.
When you go with the flow, you’re not giving in, you are working with the situation. You do what you can with what you have. Not only will you be calmer, you’re more likely to see opportunities that may arise as part of the situation. As bloggers every situation can be mined for blog post ideas (What to do when x happens), but there are other opportunities too.
A few years back our return flight from holiday was cancelled due to a problem with the plane and we were all ferried to an airport hotel for the night and most of the following day. A lot of people hung around the hotel, making frantic phone calls, complaining to anyone who would listen. Not surprisingly that didn’t get the plane fixed any sooner, it just got them and everyone around then stressed and angry. We chose to go with the flow, headed out and explored the local area, found a bar to watch the football in and had a pretty good time.
I’m more than aware there are plenty of instances when the crap being thrown at you can’t be turned to your advantage, such as the death of a loved one or a miscarriage. But even in those circumstances fighting against it won’t change the fact that it has happened. By working with life, instead of against it, you can grieve and you can accept or ask for help. You can still get angry, but accept that anger is also a part of life. Allow yourself to feel all these things rather than fighting against them and bottling them up inside. Believe me when I say that is not the way the to go.
Going with the flow can work in all areas of your life. Think of all the times you have needed to do something and no matter how you tried you just couldn’t get it, but then further down the line you did it with ease. The first time you were probably trying to force it too much. What about all those times you were looking for something or trying to remember something but try as hard as you can it eludes you. Then later, when you are more relaxed and not even thinking about it, you remember what it was or stumble across what you were earlier looking for. You had got back into the natural flowI know this happens to me with my writing. Sometimes I can sit down and have a list of all the things I want to say but no matter how long I sit there it just doesn’t seem to work or come together properly. It’s because I’m trying to force it. In those cases I have found that by doing a quick free-write (writing down every single thought that comes into your head, even if it’s ‘I don’t know what to write’ over and over, for a set amount of time like 5-10 minutes), really helps free up my mind and my thoughts and allows me to get into the flow. When I come back to my writing it spills out of me.
The next time life throws you a curveball, go with the flow. Sometimes, those things that we think are terrible turn out to be opportunities in disguise.
In the spirit of going with the flow, the Words To Live By series is taking a break for the next two weeks and will return on Mon 6th March (sign up below so you don’t miss it’s return). Next week is half term for us (I know it’s this week for a lot of the country but we seem to be out of sync), then my Hubby should be returning from Sea at the end of the month so I am lightening the workload to spend more time with him too. I will still be posting other things throughout those weeks but this series takes up a big bulk of my time so I’m giving myself some breathing room to fit in other activities.
If you want more help going with the flow this week you can grab the free workbook below x