What I Learned from a 4am Freak-Out

Have you ever had those middle of the night freak-outs? You know, when you wake up (usually in the wee small hours of the morning) thinking about a troubling situation or a work problem. And you’re absolutely panicked about this issue?

I found myself in that situation recently. I woke up at 4 am on July 4 with several things on my mind and I couldn’t sleep with all these thoughts running through my brain. In an attempt to get them out of my mind and onto paper, I got out of bed and made a list of the things gnawing at me. Then I climbed back in bed, tried telling myself that things always seem way worse at 4 am, and just try to go back to sleep. I guess it worked because I ended up sleeping in until 9:15 am.

While looking at the list the next morning, I noticed that three out of four of the situations bothering me had a similar theme. I felt as if I was being walked over or talked down to. Since I’m a believer in the adage, “You teach people how to treat you,” I had to look at myself and see what kind of vibes I was sending out in the world.

I don’t think I was directly telling people to walk over me. But I do believe I need to be better about speaking up when something bothers me, even in the slightest. I need to work on being more direct with people. Part of this is my personality. I tend to under-react in the moment, and then later realize that what happened – or what was said – was completely uncool. Then I get mad and it festers in me. Hence waking up at 4 am stressed out. So perhaps trying to be more direct and honest in the beginning is something I really need to strive toward. And maybe by being more direct, people will see that self-respect and act respectfully in return.

This issue is more prevelant in my personal life than my professional one. I’ve never had a problem speaking my mind at work. And I am happy that I’ve had amazing clients in my freelance realm that have been respectful and open to my ideas and personality.

So I guess if I can make a mid-year resolution or goal, I will aim to be more direct and address troublesome situations when they occur. By doing this, hopefully I’ll feel stronger and I’ll won’t be awake to read 4 am on my clock again.

Have you had situations like this? Are there particular things that wake you up at 4 am?

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