I am a perfectionist which came as a welcome challenge to my friend yoga. I almost heard her laugh as I walked in the room blind to the lessons that were yet to come. I love balance challenges. I honestly believed that if I could stand firm in my balance pose than I could take that balance out into the world and it would be my safety net as I go about this thing called life. The people who were unsteady used to distract me and I felt myself feeling agitated as someone’s foot moved toward my face or when the person in front of me would fall right over. It took me some time to realize that I had to stop blaming other people and find my solid balance regardless of what was going on around me. I have learned so many things on my mat but I think this one is probably the most valuable. It has been my compass leading me to my authentic self and offering me an unshakable confidence that has completely changed my life. You are equipped with so many blessing that don’t come and go. It is only when you find your center and trust in that center that you truly start to live.
Tough love. I’ve been raised with it and now I practice it on my own kids. I can’t help but ask myself, where do we draw the line? When do we reach the perfect amount of tough? I see tough all around me. Tough words, tougher actions and a very deep part of me quietly longs for gentleness. I’m tired of tough. Its exhausting trying to stay tough in a world that is already tough enough. We have an excess of toughness. We are fighters of things, everything. I don’t want to be tough anymore. Sometimes I forget that I don’t have to follow the rules. I can make my own. But how can I learn to soften when I spent years trying to toughen up? My intention and word for the month is soften. Time to soften that tense spot in the middle of my forehead. Time to soften my voice, my posture, my words, my thoughts, my heart. I’m done with tough for a while. I don’t want to beat people up, I want to be a soft place to fall. And you know what? I need the same as well. I don’t need people to tell me what I need to hear, I need support, compassion, understanding and love. I need someone to look past my flaws and mistakes and love me the way I am. I need someone to build me up not tear me down. Don’t we all need more of that? Being tough encourages tough so maybe the opposite is true as well. We are out of balance and it is time to tip the scale back in the other direction. We live in a place of extremes and I am desperately seeking real estate someplace in between.
Imagine if everyone in your life minded their business and took care of their own responsibilities. I know for myself, when all I have to do is worry about me, I am happy. I don’t mean that in a selfish way. I mean, when I am doing everything I need to do, including keeping myself in a good way by doing right by my mind, body and spirit, I am truly at peace. Negativity is like lint on a new pair of black pants. At first you only notice one or two specks but before you know it, you are completely covered. When you have to carry someone else’s load on top of your own, it starts to wear you down. You become so overwhelmed while the people who have dumped their responsibilities onto you sit back and take a few hours to themselves. That extra weight on your shoulders turns into anxiety, resentment and anger which replaces all happiness with negativity. It isn’t as simple as taking a lint roller and cleaning that stuff off. It means handing that lint roller over to the person who got it all over you in the first place to start to remove it piece by piece. Why is it some do all and the rest do none? Why can’t people pull their own weight so we could all have a little bit of peace? Maybe I will never know.
My new challenge is for YOU to take something off of somebody else’s hands. Offer out of the blue, to do something that makes life easier for someone around you. It could be as simple as holding open a door when somebody’s hands are full. Then pray they pay it forward.
Be the change!
I am overly ecstatic this morning. It’s no surprise I have had a horrible experience with middle school but last night I went to meet my sons teachers at the high school. The two schools could not have been more different. The first teacher expressed that she is not a fan of busy work or homework. The geometry teacher said there would be 5 problems of homework a night compared to 25-30 a night last year in algebra. If you follow my blog you know that my son, along with myself, would sit at the kitchen table doing work from the time he got home to the time he went to bed. It sounds like this year we may just find the balance we’ve been looking for all along. I am beyond excited for this new year to get going and I am ready to put the past few years out of my mind forever finally move forward. It is really all about balance and when everyone is on that page and you can rest comfortably in that sweet spot, life can be really wonderful.
Somethings been a little off lately. For weeks I haven’t been able to put my finger on what has been out of sorts. It’s no secret that woman love to wear clothes. We would probably change three times a day if it didn’t make us look absolutely crazy. The problem isn’t with the clothes though, the problem is with the hats. Woman juggle so many responsibilities. We have many roles for one small person and sometimes it leaves us drained and exhausted. We are always mom. Some days we are house cleaner, driver, tutor, advocate, cheerleader, educator, therapist and the list goes on and on. We are employees and wives and daughters and aunts. Just listing all the things we have to be is a hint as to why I feel so tired all the time. One thing I am very guilty of is forgetting to be a woman. At the end of the day I want someone to open my car door, hold my hand and tell me I’m beautiful. I want someone to look at me like I’m someone special and feel wanted and needed on a level that doesn’t require me to save someone or take care of something.
I’ve learned that as much as I strive for balance in my life, this is one balance I never seem to achieve. I can’t be everything to everyone all the time and sometimes it’s necessary to be that care free girl who is getting ready for a date on a Saturday night. So how do we lock all those other hats away and be that woman we were before we became a wife followed by the responsibilities that go hand in hand? How do we forget the bills and the appointments and the kids long enough to cut up the rug one weekend night? How do we become that young girl again excited about life and full of dreams? How do we do it? Someone tell me please.
Life is a balancing act. It has to be. It is up to each and everyone of us to know when to say when. Enough of this, time to move onto that. I grew up a perfectionist. I never believed I had an option to leave anything in my life unfinished or incomplete. There was never a choice for me, nothing to even think about. If there was something that needed to get done I was going to do it, period. I see now that people are pushed beyond their limits. School, work and responsibilities will demand and take until you are exhausted and have nothing left to give. I realize it’s time to reevaluate how to spend each moment of time. If there is more work in a day to finish than there is time to complete it then something has to give. You have a choice to kill yourself getting everything done or decide there is that critical point in the day where your time is yours to do as you choose. And really, is done ever completely done? Maybe it’s necessary to leave some things undone. As I write the words I cringe because it is against everything I’ve ever believed. I look at my husband and my kids who give all they have to get done what is expected of them to do. Like me, they are overwhelmed, stressed out and never afforded the time it takes to recover from one day to the next. Hard as it is, I believe it’s time to finish less and live more. If it means an assignment going unfinished or being handed in a day late than so be it. Health, especially mental health is more important than a crappy grade. So, I must spend the next few weeks undoing who I’ve become. It won’t be easy and I know the internal struggle it will bring but at the end of the day, my peace of mind and state of mind is more important than anything else. That goes for all of us living in this house. If demands are unreasonable, someone must have enough reason to know when to leave well enough alone. It’s a shame that the world has come to this. When something is pushed too hard, it breaks. I learned this lesson through my incessant need to vacuum all the time. We are not machines. We cannot trade out broken parts of who we are for brand new replacement parts. We must learn moderation and self preservation and never apologize for doing what is best for ourselves. Life will take so we must limit what we give. People will take, jobs will take, school will take as the daylight is ripped from underneath our feet. Give less. Rest more. Love more and be at peace.
If you do your share, you won’t have to keep score. Often times, we look at our partner and carry a mental list of what we think they are not doing. After all, we are all human and it’s pretty aggravating when someone is not pulling their share of the load. The more we complain, the less they do. The voices in our head will carry on dialogue that sounds something like this.
“He didn’t pick the clothes up off the floor so I won’t wash his clothes anymore. Why should I pick up his clothes when he is a grown adult?”
In the meantime, he is sitting on the couch thinking something like this.
“She leaves her glass on the table every night so why should I bother to pick up mine? Maybe if I leave mine on the table, she wil realize how annoying it is and finally pick up hers. If not, we will let them sit on the table until there’s no more room.”
Can you see how counterproductive this kind of thinking is? You cannot change your partner but not doing your share to prove a point will not lead to anywhere good. Neither will nagging or pointing fingers.
Everyone should do their share. Marriage is a partnership where two people are meant to work together as a team. If you’re not, then shame on you. And what’s worse, if you are not doing your share while pointing a finger at your partner for not doing his or her share, than that makes you a real jerk. Knock it off, pick up your clothes and put your dishes in the sink. Then go out on a nice date and remember why you fell in love in the first place or talk about why you don’t feel loving anymore.