Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Unresolution

     This is the time of year where gym memberships soar, exercise equipment is advertised, and promises are made. In the next few months gyms will experience a decline in use after the initial surge, the treadmill will become a new place to hang clothes, and many of us will begin to feel disheartened.
     The New Year is a wonderful time to look ahead but may I suggest a different approach that I'll call an unresolution. A few small changes that can make you feel good, but when you slip you will not be disheartened. I encourage you to try the following:

1. Accept a compliment. There are two small words that are mostly unused when one is given a compliment." Thank you." Who taught us that it is polite to tear down a compliment when given? For example when you are told you did a task well like, cooking, painting, or some other sort of labor why do we respond with words like "It's not that good or it was easy anyone could do it." If we are given a kind remark about our appearance we often answer with "Oh no I look a mess." For the New Year practice saying "thank you." You are honoring the giver of the compliment and not tearing yourself down.  If you feel yourself starting to answer back negatively say instead "That was so nice of you to say." It feels good to say it and honors the compliment giver.

2.  Say what you mean. This is especially priceless in interactions with the opposite sex. I must admit women often have a hard time with this. If you hear yourself saying it's fine when it is not, you are guilty. In conversations with friends talking about their husbands I often tell them that the crystal ball is broken. They will then ask "well why doesn't he know?" To which I respond "because he failed the mind-reading course." How is a person supposed to know what you want if you don't tell them? Sometimes there are things that are hard to say but said with kindness can really strengthen a relationship. I can think of three female friends who all told me things that were tough to say and I know for me it just made me love them more. They cared enough to be honest with me. My husband tells me he loves that when he asks me if I mind if he does something without me and I tell him I don't mind, that he never has to worry if he will live to regret it.  There have been a few occasions that I was honest and told him I was looking forward to spending time together or I felt especially needy. This was when we moved away from family and friends and he understood. If I had not said what I meant I would have been left alone feeling resentful. Who wins in that game? Most of us have a lot going on in our own lives so if you feel upset by something someone has said, want more help around the house, or anything else that gets your knickers in a knot, just say so. Most people are not in tuned to your innermost thoughts.

3.  Let it go. We all have some crazy area in our life that we want to be perfect. Each of us has our own sense of perfection. We tend to collide with others when they do not share the same view point. I will share one of my crazies that I had to let go. I had what I considered to be the perfect linen closet. It made sense, was in order, and brought me comfort. When I had guests over I would tell them where everything was if they needed extra and was quite proud that it was easy to find what you needed. I had live in nannies for my daughter and explained the whole process to them. If anyone put anything away (husband, nanny) and it was folded differently I would redo it and get annoyed. Fast forward to second husband and giving kids responsibilities for their laundry. What was I saying by going behind everyone and refolding their towels and sheets? I was undoing all that they were doing.  What did that perfect linen closet say about me? Not much except that I was nuts. It didn't make my marriage better or my kids better behaved. It did, however, stress me out and show my family that yes indeed I was a lunatic. This is a silly example but we all have things that we want to be just so. Life is not perfect so it is my suggestion that if it's not something that can really change the quality of your life. Let it go. I now look at the tuck and roll method that my husband favors for the fitted sheets and laugh. I have no real "system" any longer for the linen closet but allow myself a crazy indulgence when I open the door to it. I look at the mess, close my eyes and breath in the wonderful scent of those fresh linens. I really do this and I know they are clean and that's all that matters.

   I hope this New Year brings you much happiness and that you will try one or all of these things. Be gentle with yourself and others. Happy New Year friends!