As the meeting went on, past the scheduled ending time, I felt my stomach clutch into a knot. Knowing my man was waiting for me and yet wanting to stay until the end of the meeting, I found myself feeling tense and uncomfortable.
I knew he would be upset and I find myself bending over backwards to keep that from happening. I felt pressure in my throat. Wait a minute here. Haven’t I felt like this before? Only a thousand times. Wait another minute, how old am I? Thirteen?
I can’t remember the first time I felt the fear that somehow I was “in trouble,” that something bad was going to happen and I couldn’t stop it. But this was that same feeling. And I am fifty-five years old, for Pete’s sake.
Okay, regroup. My wonderful man loves me. He may be inconvenienced and he might even really be annoyed, but the truth is, I don’t “know for sure” that he is upset with me. Actually, it is my own thoughts that are upsetting me.
I took a couple of deep breaths and purposely picked some different thoughts. I interrupted the hamster wheel fearful thinking with:
“He is an adult and he can figure out what to do with himself while he is waiting for me.”
“I want to stay at the meeting. I am having fun and even though it is running a little long, I am having a spectacular time and that is great.”
“I am not responsible for his feelings.”
“Everything is going to be okay.”
“He is not like the boyfriends in my past. He loves me, adores me really, and he will get over his disappointment about my schedule.”
Out of the blue, a solution popped into my head. I grabbed my cell phone and texted him my favorite transitional statement for those awkward times:
“It sure is lucky I’m cute, isn’t it?”
Smiling as I sent it off to him, I felt relieved. I am changing. Sure I have thought habits from back in the day that still show up from time to time but at least I am recognizing them and choosing different ones. I know for sure that when I am calm and confident I am more likely to come up with a bit of humor to bridge the gap and get us back into good rapport.
Sipping our wine at dinner after the meeting finally ended, I enjoyed his warm attention and conversation. Had I not relieved my own anxiety, I would have projected an entirely different mood and he would have felt my fear instead of my love. I am changing and step by step I am learning to leave my past in the past … where it belongs!