ripple effect

I was feeling pretty glum this morning. Actually, most of the weekend – which carried over to this morning. Not that life is bad or even hard right now. It’s going pretty smoothly. Peaceful, even. And for me, that’s the problem. I don’t do smooth well. There’s something in me that wants struggle. Seems to prefer it. I have this deep-seated perceived need for just a bit of chaos, so life feels “normal”.

It’s this foreboding sense that something must be wrong if nothing is wrong.

I’m sure this developed in my formative years. Historically, the way I handle calm is to self-sabotage. Cause a little trouble – for me! Of course, while it may start with me, it never ends there. The ripple effect of what is a slight and seemingly necessary bit of disturbance in my life can turn into a tidal wave, drawing others into the wake, even pulling them under. While I think I’m fine surfing on top of the chaos, they’re gasping for air and begging for a life line! And honestly, I’m not fine either.

Lately, I have been choosing not to cause chaos in the quiet times. But that can be…uncomfortable. I don’t know what to do with myself! I still find myself looking for excitement, for some emotional “hit”. So, that brings me back to this morning. Feeling meh.

Then my daughter called, sounding a bit distressed. She and her hubby live a few states away from us. We talk often on the phone, so it’s not unusual for her to call at any hour of the day. But I knew something was wrong as soon as she said “hi daddy”. She needed me! I panic a little when I get that kind of call. I always want to help, but also know I can’t get to her very quickly. It can be a disconcerting and dysregulating sort of feeling.

This time, I could help! Their garage door wasn’t working properly. She is in college, was about to be late for her first class of the day, and they had a quiz scheduled for today. I was able to walk her through how to get the door back on track and working again. A few minutes later, the issue was resolved and she was on her way to class!

My daughter called me for help! And, though it was just over the phone, my help was enough. What’s more, now she feels more capable and more empowered, should the same issue happen again. And just like that, I’m not so “meh” any more.

Had she not sought my help, I would still be sitting here struggling. I’m glad she gave me the opportunity. Even if I hadn’t been able to help, just knowing she asked me was a boost to my emotional outlook. It caused a beneficial ripple effect.

What about you? What’s your disposition toward tranquility? Got any stories of feeling on edge and then having the opportunity to help someone? How did that affect you? And why is it so hard, sometimes, to just ask for help?

5 thoughts on “ripple effect

  1. Emily Yvonne

    You and I are complete opposites in this area. Even the slightest amount of chaos dysregulates me. When I am pulled under by the undertow of someone else’s chaos it takes months, sometimes years, for me to recover. Even now I’m currently in a state of trying to breathe underwater. Maybe that’s why I don’t like swimming…I’ve experienced metaphorical drowning so many times in my life I have no desire to come close to the real thing.

    What is my disposition toward tranquility? Gratefulness!! Peace is the foundation of my life. Chaos cracks that foundation and the rest of my life begins to fall apart. I don’t even like the ticking of a wall clock as it disturbs silence. Stability in every aspect of life is my deepest desire.

    Helping others definitely helps regulate when I’m on edge. I relate with that for sure. I think that ties in with connection; feeling seen/valued/needed when someone asks for help or wants my opinion. Especially if the one in need is a child! Place a crying baby in my arms and all my personal problems melt away.

    Why is it hard to ask for help? I think it depends on the type of help I need. I ask for help all the time! I’m definitely not afraid of being needy in the general sense. But if it’s something a little more personal that involves a lot of vulnerability…that’s when I hit the breaks and try to fix it myself. Being known is scary, because, well, that undertow of chaos is often concealed in vulnerability.

    Maybe I just need to learn to swim. Literally AND metaphorically.


  2. ✿ Lovely Panda Mom ✿

    This is very interesting. I used to get that foreboding feeling, but not anymore. And that is so sweet that your daughter called you for help. I’m sure just knowing she can count on you is a good and secure feeling she carries with her every single day 😊 I love tranquility! I love boring. I love simple and ordinary and predictable 😁

    Liked by 1 person


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