Thursday, September 25, 2014

A little lesson about Maslov

I went to pick up Henry yesterday and one of his teachers asked, "Have you had a good day?"  Without thinking, I looked at her, sighed and said, "I've had a pretty interesting week."  And it wasn't until later last night that I had a chance to really think about it.

I've had a few very vague blog posts recently where I mention that I had a rough day or that I was particularly stressed.  And without really talking about work, those types of posts are annoying after a while (in my opinion).

The truth is that, yes, I have a stressful job.  And the more my experience grows, the more stressful it will become.  I design buildings.  We represent our clients at public hearings and have to deal with angry neighbors.  I had a contractor call me the other day and yell at me because he didn't like my design.  Literally yelled at me.

And I find that stressful.

But then I think back a few years...

Looking at Facebook or blog posts doesn't send me into a crying fit over the half dozen pregnancy and birth announcements that happen daily.

I'm not worried about whether or not I have cancer.  Or if that newly diagnosed cancer has spread to my bones, lungs, liver, or brain.

No close relative is dying from a terminal illness.

Really, when I look back over what we have gone through in the last few years, it is easy to laugh off getting yelled at by a contractor.  That's kind of the only silver lining cancer sometimes offers: it kicks your priorities into order.

But is that really a healthy perspective?  Life is stressful and there are different kinds of stress.  For me, if it isn't related to death, it seems like it shouldn't be a big deal.  And sometimes I have a hard time with other people's stress and how that might be affecting them.  Sometimes I think get some real problems.

But they are real problems.

I started to think about it in terms of Maslov's Hierarchy of Needs:

Most life stresses deal with the top 3 levels.  I was definitely on the second level for a good year.  And it's really hard to get past it.  But doesn't mean that any of the other levels are less important.  We are all just trying to get to the top of the pyramid.

Almost all of the time, everyone has something going on in their life that is challenging.  And just because it may not seems like as big of a deal to me based on what I've been through, doesn't mean that it isn't a HUGE deal to them.

Since I have realized that my perception is SO off (comparing everything to death is a little weird), I need to just do my best to be as kind as possible to everyone.  It isn't necessarily something that comes naturally to me (I tend to just mind my own business), but I'm working on it.  Being kind doesn't require my judgement on what someone else is going through, and that's definitely a good thing.

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