It usually starts with the little things. Making the choice to say, “Why do I ALWAYS have to be the one to tell you to start dinner!!”, instead of: “hey babe, mind starting to prep dinner”.
And right after, I remember….”hmmm, ‘always’ & ‘never’ statements are rarely a good idea.”
And….I don’t want to apologize.
Even though I know that wasn’t nice. It just feels annoying. Like too much effort and work.
I don’t know about you, but we all have that person we either know or follow on social media that is just living a fabulous life. They are endlessly positive, always seeing the silver lining & full of gratitude and joy. Even in crappy situations. They are your role model – what you ::want:: your life to be like (p.s. healthy comparison that moves you forward isn’t a bad thing…but that is for another post!)
In my own self improvement journey, I am happy to say, I have times where I feel like that person! Even if crappy things happen, I’ll see the silver lining.
But then….I have a bad day (or week). I get pissy & irritable. I respond reactively. I say or do things I KNOW are not in line with fostering healthy relationships. And what makes it SO annoying is being SO freaking aware that I am doing it.
In these moments, it feels like this “new”, self improved me just makes things worse – because I am now knowingly sabotaging things!!! AND even worse….don’t care, or even feel powerless to get out of it.
So in the mentioned scenario….what is REALLY happening is that I am frustrated as shit that I “screwed up” and all my self improvement efforts aren’t paying off. Cause after all, what self improved person would be so snarky!?
And ::insert role model here:: would definitely never do that. (And then proceed to beat self up for not being more like so & so).
But here is the big secret that no one freaking tells you: Even our role models screw up.
It was actually a lot of listening to Brene Brown (if you haven’t listened to her – absolutely go watch her TED talks now!) share her stories about her own shame that if finally dawned on me. If a friggin’ shame RESEARCHER – the very person who has educated this entire world on shame, still has shame….. Then DUH, obviously I am going to as well!
And this applies to every emotion. Bad days are ineveitable. Or irrationally lash out on our loved ones. We will probably wallow in self pity for a bit too long. Or have bouts of road rage here and there.
The difference is – what do they do about it?
I don’t know about your role models, but mine suck it up, figure out the next best step…and DO it. They also self-reflect and understand where the breakdown happened & take steps to decrease the likelihood of it happening again.
So now, even when I am pissy, annoyed & frustrated…and don’t want to apologize.
I ask myself – ‘what can I do from here to get the outcome I truly want?”
The “truly” part is key. Because being right or getting revenge isn’t REALLY what I want (even if it briefly feels like it). In the above case, my long term outcome is a deep, lasting connection with my husband.
And in the moment, I am often not thrilled with the answer of my next best step. I argue in my head a bit – but ultimately remind myself that I am human, and it is OKAY that these things happen.
And then….in that scenario above: I begrudgingly apologized. I admitted it wasn’t true. There are plenty of times where my husband makes dinner without prompting (and even if there weren’t, yelling about it isn’t the place to have a rational conversation).
And guess what? Everything instantly felt a million times better.
Do I do this every time? No. But I am working on it. The key is to hold onto that feeling, so I can get to that conclusion that much sooner the next time.
So next time you find yourself in a less than ideal scenario – remind yourself, ‘even my role models screw up’ & then ask yourself what they would do. Because when we realize NOBODY is perfect, and it really is all about the next step (or the next one) it takes some serious pressure off!