Recently, I travelled to my hometown to visit my father who is in ill health. It was quite sad and stressful to see my father in his new state of being. It was just a little over a year ago that he was golfing 2-3 times a week. He was such an active man who relished the tackling of a good household project around his or his daughters’ houses, like installing hardwood floors, helping to assemble his grandchildren’s swing set or the redesign of landscaping.
How fleeting life is… and how quickly things can change. It made me reflect on the importance of living life to the fullest and not getting caught up in small stuff, and as the saying goes, it’s all small stuff. For example, I can remember always getting worked up that my Dad sometimes wore his shoes in my house. Now, how I wish he could travel and wear his shoes in my house.
Another learning experience for me was watching my eldest son and his Grandpa together, as they have always been like peas and carrots. This visit was no different than any other… discussing the first preschool year, the latest additions to his Thomas the train collection and his advancement to Little 2 swimming class.
But there was something else… the heartwarming act of seeing my soon to be five-year-old son stroke his Grandpa’s arm as if to calm and reassure him that everything will be ok. It made me realize how perceptive my little boy is regarding how his Grandpa is feeling and wanting to somehow make him feel better. That simple act of kindness meant a lot to my Dad, and even more to me as I realized how all my lectures about treating others with respect and thinking about how others might be feeling hasn’t fallen on deaf ears, even at his young age.
In thinking about how these experiences relate to stress management this came to mind. We all sweat the small stuff and then in hindsight determine that it really wasn’t that significant. And then I started to think about compassion… and an anonymous quote came to mind, “Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are.”
Many times our lack of compassion for one another is a direct reflection of lack of love and compassion for ourselves. If we make peace with ourselves and accept ourselves for the wonderful human beings that we are, then we will be able to open our hearts and minds to others.
Acting in compassion will help you to not sweat the small stuff, and in turn, keep your stress levels in check.
~ Love you Dad