There is a person living in my home with me this summer. I’m not naming names. But, maybe this person is home from college. Maybe this is the first time this person is home from college. Maybe there is a lot of adjusting going on, for both me and this person who is home from college.

This person and I love each other deeply. Truly. Fiercely.

This person and I argue a lot.

That’s not to say that this person and I don’t also have hilariously fun times together. But we also argue a lot. Both can be true.

This person has a lot of behaviors that… well, let’s just say, they require a lot of patience in order to deal with them. A lot. A LOT. Like, bodhisattva levels of patience. Guns & Roses levels of patience. Patience is not my strong suit. Not by a long shot.

I have spent a lot of time this summer (1) pointing out this person’s challenging behaviors to them, a.k.a. calling them out on their sh*t, and (2) apologizing for my own reactions to this person’s behavior, and pledging to work on it and do better. It’s a super fun cycle. You should try it! Just kidding. Don’t try it. It’s damaging to your mental and physical health.

But here’s the thing: I’m the problem. It’s me.

That’s not to say that this person’s challenging behavior doesn’t exist. It exists. Oh, does it exist. And I believe that part of my job as a parent is to prepare this person to be out in the world as a functioning adult, with a job and responsibilities and relationships, interacting with people who aren’t going to put up with this stuff.

But the conflict, the anger, the arguing: a lot of that is on me. My reactivity. And I’ve recently realized (actually, I’m only on the cusp of realizing; I have a lot more work to do) that I’m not just angry at this person. I have a lot of anger. Years of anger. A jillion categories and aisles of anger. A Costco full of anger. Much of my reactivity is about all of that other anger.

In our homes and personal relationships, the circumstances and behaviors might not be OK. But our reactions — which could be grounded in our misplaced/unprocessed anger or mistrust or evasiveness or fear or whatever — also are not OK, and also need to be called out. It can be addressed through whatever wellness practice works for us: therapy, meditation, exercise, journaling, deep breathing, art… There are as many options and aisles in my wellness superstore as in my anger superstore.

In our workplaces, the circumstances might not be fair, or equitable, or healthy. And that needs to be called out and addressed. It’s not OK for workplaces to say to their employees “Well, sure this situation or circumstance is unfair or unhealthy, but it’s really on on you to do something about it. You’re the problem. Your reaction to it is the problem.” NOPE. That’s not what I’m saying. To put it bluntly: there are things going on in workplaces that are just messed up and wrong. What I’m starting to figure out is that with wellness practices, we can gain the clarity to envision solutions, whether those are interpersonal or systemic solutions.

There are major power dynamics at play in workplaces, and not everyone has the freedom to make a systemic change at their organization or leave a workplace that is unhealthy. But everyone has the power to find ways of gaining a little more clarity and calm. Once you gain that, everything gets easier, even if it’s a teeny tiny bit easier. It’s the first (of many) steps.

If you are looking for me this summer, I might be crocheting, or journaling, or going for a long walk, or meditating. If you don’t see me doing those things, and I look like I’m about to (once again) blow my top, please feel free to remind me that I’ve got tons of options for finding clarity. Join me on my walk. And show me — and anyone else around you who might be struggling in ways you are unaware of — a little grace.


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