Sunday morning, I slapped my tie against the kitchen counter.
The first three attempts to tie my tie before going to work had resulted in a tie that was marginally too short. Even after paying close attention the third time. And so, in my frustration at the tie, I slapped the end of the tie against the counter. I took a breath. I started again, slowly, carefully.
This time, it was marginally too long, but well within the bounds of acceptable tie length.
I left it.
What I know, of course, is that I was fatigued from standing at bedside while a person died on Friday, and a couple other difficult situations on Friday night and Saturday. And I knew that I was anticipating a challenging day on Sunday as good friends would face their own loss.
So it’s not surprising that something was going to face my frustration. I’m grateful that it was my inanimate, innocent, insignificant tie. Grateful that it wasn’t another person. Grateful that I was able to recognize what was happening, after decades of not always being aware. I am learning to offer myself what I offer to others, that in some situations it is to be expected to not have enough margin for even minor irritations.
When we have been facing, for example, death and illness and sleep loss and disruption, we are likely to struggle with some simple tasks. And we have to give ourselves permission to be frustrated. And we are best when we find ways to release that frustration that don’t include other people.
It’s possible that your tie is always well-behaved, and that your heart is always well-ordered, and that your frustration with yourself is always non-existent.
But if you are human, like me, feel free to acknowledge that you are human.
And you can borrow the end of my tie.