It’s been a difficult couple of weeks for no particular reason. I find myself trying to blame a random bad mood or irritation on something outside my control, but at the end of the day it always comes back to me. As a therapist, I frequently told my clients that they were stronger than their thoughts and moods and that they could choose to rise above or let their moods control them. If only I would take my own advice…
We have lost 2 team members this week for various personal reasons, and it’s left our group feeling a bunch of different emotions. I don’t blame them for leaving, I don’t think poorly of them for leaving. I will definitely miss them, because these people are family now. I can’t imagine how hard it was for them to make the decision to return to the states, and I admire the strength of character it shows to do so. They have left a small hole in our group that won’t be easily filled.
After training ended yesterday, we took time to address how the group felt about losing two team members and other misunderstandings that had taken place during the week. So many emotions were written across the faces of my teammates, and everyone honestly looked worn out. One of the staff members reminded us that the Olympic Games are starting this week, and he reminded us of the US women’s gymnastics team. He had seen a program about the process of trying out for the team, all the hours of work, sacrifice, frustration, blood, sweat, tears. He reminded us that these women work incredibly hard to achieve a goal of greatness, not only by USA standards but world standards. He told us that although we are not competing in the Olympics, we are going through our own growing pains. Growth hurts. As we change and grow and become more accustomed to the culture, the work load, the responsibility of representing a larger organization and our government, the rules and regulations that come with this, we have to give up the right to some comforts, independence, the right to be right for the sake of being right, and it hurts. It is very difficult to be continuously held to a higher standard, and yet I find when I look at my teammates that we are slowly rising to the occasion. There are tears, there are frustrated words, there are restless nights and lost appetites. But at the end of the day, we become a little more flexible, a little more patient, a little more empathetic, and a little more ready to do this job we have been preparing to do.
I’m learning that they have high expectations of us because we have the potential to meet them and because we honestly don’t expect any less of ourselves. It may seem that some days we follow them kicking and screaming, yet we still follow because we know that the sacrifice is worthwhile. Eventually the growing pains will lessen and we will look back and realize we are not who we used to be and it will have been worth all the time, tears, and effort.