Once upon a very long time ago there lived a young, single mom who believed that her place in the world was driven by her relationship with, well, the world: her kids . . . her boss . . . strangers she passed on the street. If you haven’t guessed yet, that young, single mom was me. Or I. Because Word is telling me that I’m being grammatically incorrect.
I was also incorrect about the part where being right with the rest of the world gave me a nice place in it. It’s safe to say that everything in this paragraph is wrong, wrong, wrong.
There’s no denying that relationships – no matter who they’re with – take work if they’re going to be of any good to us. And by “work”, I mean that we need to do certain things consistently, like listen, encourage and forgive.
And while these things are all important – in a paramount kind of way – whether our kids, boss and even strangers on the street are happy with us at any given moment DOES NOT dictate our place in the world.
No sirree, Bob.
PS. If your name is “Bob”, I’m not singling you out here.
The true foundation of our place in this world is our relationship with . . .
*Insert stringed instrument score from Psycho’s shower scene*
Having a good relationship with ourselves requires a consistency in the same stuff we give to others:
Listening to ourselves
There’s a little voice that exists inside all of us that knows things. I’m not talking about the incessant ramblings of the hamster who likes to fill our minds with thoughts about tomorrow’s grocery list at 2 a.m. I’m talking about that soft knowing voice that exists in our solar plexus and that tells us important things like how maybe that first date with the person who became the father of your first child should have been your last date with him. (I may or may not be speaking hypothetically here.)
How many times have you sat with a friend over lunch and listened with an open, non-judgmental heart to her latest crisis? “I’m so miserable at work that it’s taking over my life!” She says as you both browse the menu.
PS. This time I really am speaking hypothetically.
“Why don’t you look for something else? What’s the worst that can happen?” You ask her.
And while your friend may have arrived feeling like everything is wrong with her world, you soon realize that you’re both giggling over a shared piece of chocolate cake as she unburdens herself with stories about her boss – also known as the anti-christ. Suddenly a light goes off in her head and she blurts out, “OMG! I should apply at XYZ company!” Why? Because you’ve encouraged her and now she feels hopeful.
So your teens come home from school and you greet them with a warm, motherly smile. What do you get in return? The tail end of the argument they’ve been having the entire two block walk from the bus stop. They both walk by you as though you’re invisible and end their bickering with simultaneous bedroom door slamming.
“Yes. My day was great. Up until now,” you say to the dogs who look just as confused as you do.
You continue to make dinner (or in my case, try hard not to ruin dinner) and then call out to your teens to come to the table. And while your definition of the dinner table may be something along the lines of “family time”, you soon realize that you’re actually sitting right smack in the middle of a court case between Teen #1 (defendant) and Teen #2 (plaintiff). Something to do with embarrassing each other at school in front of cute friends. Or something. Apparently you are no longer privy to the goings on of their daily lives. Because apparently you’ve never been a teenager and won’t “get it”. Apparently.
The meal – not as tasty as you had envisioned but clearly every one is too busy arguing to notice anyway – continues its mock courtroom scenario until all of your left-over energy is spent trying to get said defendant and plaintiff to SHUT THE FRONT DOOR.
PS. Cuss word alternative compliments of my friend, Mary Poppins. (Thanks, Mary Poppins!)
Despite all this, the day ends with you forgiving said defendant and plaintiff who have resumed their roles as your teenagers. And the day ends with you reminding them of how much you love them.
Pretty common scenario, right? Teens act like jerks who believe that the world revolves around them and yet you still forgive and love them?
BUT . . .
How many times have we ourselves acted in semi-similar ways and yet we still cringe when we think of those times years later?
Okay. I’ll go first.
Like that time I told my ex-boyfriend to shut his mouth while he talks to me because I didn’t want to hear about his frustration about traffic anymore.
PS. This is NOT why he’s my ex.
Or that time when I had too much to drink and puked all over my ex-boyfriend’s car.
PS. Yes, same ex.
My point? He forgave me and yet I still cringe at these memories.
We listen to our kids. We encourage our friends. And we forgive our exes. Yet, we have a hard time – or FORGET? – to show ourselves the same respect.
Our relationship with ourselves really is the most important relationship we can have. Time to put some work into it, don’t you think?
And to help in that department, I’ve created a little quiz to see how well you know yourself. Think of it as The Newly Wed Show, only with yourself.
PS. I’ve already taken it. And failed. But you know what? I FORGIVE myself.
How many hours of sleep do you NEED a night for a productive next day?
All dressed or vegetarian?
When you have to make a decision that will impact your life, do you also consider how it will affect YOU?
Do you usually follow your heart or your head?
What is the quirkiest thing about you?
Do you ever lie to yourself? (Be honest.)
Do you still live with past regrets?
If so, when do you think you’ll be able to let go of them? Hint: How about now?
Which would you prefer, to spend the evening reading or watching TV?
What are three things that you love about yourself?
What are three things about yourself that YOU think need some work? And are they really THAT bad?
PS. I told you there are a lot of PSs in this post.
To read more by Mona Andrei check out her blog at Moxie-Dude.com.