You know that thing that drives you nuts about your partner? And it is not all that important, but every time he or she does it, you think, “Seriously, why would you do that? Do you not THINK about things?”
Yeah, I don’t know about that thing at all, but I’ve heard that such a thing (or seven) exists, usually, and that sometimes couples get into the same squabble over and over again. But it is not just that we replay unproductive conversations in our relationships. Sometimes (many times) people get into it with themselves about the same thing over and over again. We treat ourselves like we do our taken for granted partners and say to ourselves, “Do you not THINK about things?” THe berating. Sometimes it never ends.
Unless you decide that it should. Unless you’ve had enough and make a different choice. Unless you let it go.
A few months ago, in aware, we were talking about relationship wellness and what we can do to make our relationships with others healthier and, thus, us happier.
One of the participants said she had recently heard a podcast where a professional shared that it can be so profound to just choose gratitude in your relationships.
You walk into the house and there are dirty dishes in the sink. Rather than go to the dark place (Seriously, she can’t load the dishwasher? Has he ever taken out the recycling?), shift your thinking to the good stuff. What can you be grateful for right now instead of just being annoyed?
And it is the same thing for your relationship with yourself. You are inclined to say something like, “There you go again, doing it wrong.” But what if you just didn’t. What if you just heard that voice gearing up and said, “Stop.”
You look in the mirror and a laundry list of complaints comes over you (My skin sucks. My hair sucks. I suck.). And, well, with all that negativity, the undertone of your day is set. What if you shifted your thinking? What if, instead, you chose to be grateful to your body and your self instead?
When you want to feel better about yourself, choose to feel better about yourself.
It sounds too easy. Impossible. Naive. And, yet, I decided not too long ago that I just was going to get over all the little things that BF does differently from me because, seriously, all that does for us is give a us a little undercurrent of tension for a moment and does it really friggin’ matter if I would have put different shoes on Happy because I would have thought about this and that from the day and just known that X shoes would have been better. No, it doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter at all. If BF is willing to dress Happy, then I need to take myself out of the equation; I need to give up control. And so across the board, for all these little things that I just would have done differently, I am keeping my pie hole shut and practicing gratitude. And you know? I like not having the little undercurrent at a particular moment much more than I like the idea of being “right”. I like being in flow.
This decision I made about choosing love, about practicing gratitude, about letting the small little things go echoes another decision I made in my early twenties.
I could choose to keep feeling badly about my body- skin color, eye color, hair color, hair texture, weight, height, style, boobs- or I could stop and devote that energy and concern to something else.
I chose to focus my energy on something else. And everything changed.
Now, it is not like choosing love– for others and for myself- and choosing acceptance- for others and for myself- happened over night and without incidence.
But I made it a point to understand that love and acceptance were what I wanted and that my actions sometimes reflected the exact opposite of what I wanted. And I didn’t want my actions to be incongruent with my desires any longer.
Deciding, you see, is a powerful start. It doesn’t do all the work, but it prepares you to do the work because your desire has been named.
So, right now, make a decision and claim it. Heck, make a few decisions.
I have decided…
I have decided…
I have decided…
“I have decided” acknowledges the journey and process that we all must undertake to get the things (experiences, joys, etc.) we most want, while also acknowledging the power we have to make it happen.
And then, everyday, come back to that decision, especially when the little voice inside your head wants to snark at yourself or others.
Then practice them.
And they will come.
What have you decided? Why have you made that decision? How will you gently lead yourself back to that decision over and over again?