Today’s daily prompt Mallet reminded me to be mindful of watching for signs that I am repeating patterns. Do you ever find yourself saying “why does this keep happening?” When I find myself thinking What the? Again? I take a moment to see if there is a pattern. If there is a pattern, I try to figure out if there is a life lesson that is trying to hit me over the head like a mallet until I get it.
I think the saying time heals all wounds was meant to be soothing, but it can also be a double edge sword. Time can make you hold on to resentments. It can also keep you from giving people the opportunity to change, to see them in a different light. You continue to react to them based on their past behaviors setting up a continuous cycle. Waiting on time to heal your wound wastes the time you could have spent cherishing what precious time we have left. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. While you are letting “time” heal your wounds, you may lose the opportunity to bridge that friendship or relationship.
I never put much thought into the saying never go to bed angry until my brain bleed. What if the person you are mad at dies before you have forgiven them? What if someone dies before they have forgiven you? Things you wish you could have said or heard will never leave your lips or pass your ears. Moments you could have spent together during your cooling off period are lost forever.
I remember my sister telling me some ten years ago that she was afraid to make me mad because she was afraid I would cut her out of my life. Our parents had passed,
“I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.” ― Kurt Cobain
I love this quote. I saw it on twitter today. I agree it is much better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you are not. Stand in your integrity be authentic, and you will be loved for who you are. Not everyone will love “the true you.” So what. The people that see the real you and love you and all of your perceived flaws are the only people that matter. If someone doesn’t like the true you, they are not the right person to surround yourself with. This quote reminds me of new relationships.
I have a friend that becomes someone else every time she dates a new person. I think she is afraid no one will love her for who she is. Which, couldn’t be further from the truth. She is an amazing, smart, funny, interesting and beautiful woman. But for some reason, she feels she has to become a mirror of the person she is dating. What they like she likes, their favorite food becomes her favorite food. I’m sure you have known someone like that.
No one can sustain this for extended periods. She doesn’t see any of her friends because every free moment is spent with new guy. After a few months of dating, the “real” person starts to emerge, and the relationship becomes strained because the person she is dating can’t figure out why she has changed. Suddenly she doesn’t like to travel when the truth is she always hated traveling. She just acted like she loved it when they first started dating.
It is so important to be your authentic self when you are dating or starting a new relationship. I think marriages and relationships wouldn’t break as often if we showed the new person who we were from day one, not who we think they want us to be. We get each other to fall in love with some different version that we couldn’t possibly sustain. I’d rather be loved for who I am, not who I pretend to be for someone else. Let them run for the hills if who I am doesn’t interest them. The right person will come along and love all the things that made Mr. or Mrs. Not Right run for the hills.
When we try to be someone we are not to please the person we are dating we are cheating them, ourselves as well as the potential love we could have found who can love all that we are.
I work from home and when I’ve been staring at the computer for a few hours not even blinking, Cooper will make his way to my desk and then pop his head up from under the desk and climb on my chair or he will give me the stare down if I’m on the couch with my laptop. In the past, I would push him back down with a firm “not now I’m busy.” Last week I was walking the trail and kept thinking of Cooper and his “do you see me now moments.” I had an insight. Cooper, was once again teaching me a valuable lesson on being present with our loved ones and giving them our full attention.
How often do you see couples at dinner staring at their phones or the TV behind their date’s head instead of paying attention to each other? I’m guilty. It has become acceptable behavior, the norm. Then dinner is served and the focus is on eating. The check is paid and dinner is over. How much of that dinner was spent with the full focus on each other or even tasting the food?
Following Cooper’s example, we need to single to each other to “see me now.” We turn off our phones or put them on vibrate during movies. It is the rule after all. Let’s continue that practice when we are spending time with each other. Put the phone in airplane mode, no beeps, rings or dings to pull your attention away. Can we not spare an hour from our device to give each other our undivided attention?
When I got back from my walk I decided the brown-eyed stare down was an opportunity to take a stretch break and to get a glass of water. Now, I grab my water, give Cooper a scratch, open the back door so he can do a quick run in the yard. Toss the ball for a few minutes and enjoy the view. Then I head back to my task. It’s done wonders for helping me keep my water goal each day, and a quick stretch break helps me take a deep breath and has a calming effect when I get back at it. And Cooper either entertains himself with a toy he found in the yard or gets fascinated by a squirrel and is happy and content. He didn’t need hours of my time, just a moment or two to feel like he mattered and to know that I remembered he was an important part of my life. Isn’t that worth a few moments?
Communication is not just about talking or waiting for a silent break so you can jump in and give your two cents. Being a good listener doesn’t always require a response. A knowing nod, or simple comment is often all that is needed. Often times people tend to follow with a similar story of what happened to them. Sometimes people just need to be heard, and coming back with a story of your own may feel like you are relating to them, but it can also feel like you are saying, “you think that is bad, check this out” and in the process dismissing or diminishing what they just shared.
My pups Max and Cooper are always listening. I swear I can be downstairs with the kitchen door closed and they can be upstairs, and they can hear me open the refrigerator or crack open a chip bag. I knew dogs have an excellent sense of smell and hearing, but I didn’t think it was on the level of the Six Million Dollar Man or the Bionic Woman.
Unlike Max and Cooper, I don’t have the greatest hearing and more times than not, I find myself asking someone to repeat themselves. A sense of hearing is my problem child. I have always known that there is more to hearing than taking in the sounds that pass through your ears. The second prong is being a good listener. Over the years I’ve heard people say things such as “lean in” so they know you are interested, “nod” so they know you are on the same page with them, or they ask you to make eye contact. There seemed to be a lot of facets to listening. I put most of those nuggets into practice, and I thought I was a good listener.
I swallowed hard one day when I heard someone make a comment that people listen with the intent of replying and not learning. If ever I was guilty of something, it was listening with the intent of answering. It wasn’t that I felt my response would be earth-shattering or enlightening; it was more that I wanted to mentally prepare my position on what was said so I wouldn’t look like a deer in the headlights if asked. I had an added habit of interrupting because I was afraid of losing my thought if we got too far into the conversation.
In a recent post, I pondered the age-old question “Why are we here,” I added a quote my teacher had placed on a chalkboard by Richard Bach. “Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you’re alive, it isn’t.”
I continue to make an effort to live my life to the fullest. To say yes to new experiences and not talk myself out of opportunities because of whatever lame excuse pops into my head. I work from home and find that I go days without leaving my house. Not the best step to living my life to the fullest.
I’m back in school working on my masters. Class started last week and I recognized my weekends would be filled with homework. Between working from home and doing homework, I was in danger of becoming a hermit. 🙂 Continue reading →
I remember in basic training when we were learning how to march in formation, our instructor would yell out “I am about to show you a maneuver, pay close attention to this part of my body.” He would either motion like Vanna White to the lower or upper half of his body. I thought it was funny, but in hindsight, I realized how profound his process was. What a gift to have the lesson you are about to receive clearly spelled out so you know exactly what to focus on.
Years later a friend made a comment about repeating patterns in a relationship and that until you learn whatever lesson was being sent your way, that pattern would continue to repeat itself. For example, picking a person that is safe to avoid being hurt or picking a person that is emotionally unavailable because on some level we might not be ready for a full connection or believe we are not worthy.
One of my favorite Saturday Night Live skits involved a person visiting a psychiatrist. For the entire session no matter what the patient said, the response from the psychiatrist was “look to yourself.” It cracked me up and stayed with me. I realized it was intended for entertainment, but it made me think, what an excellent response. Looking at patterns and figuring out any lessons you can gain from them may move you forward and break the cycle. Patterns that crop up every few years are on a smaller scale and admittedly harder to recognize, but are equally important to analyze.
Being mindful and present of your patterns helps you watch for life’s lessons with eyes-wide-open. If you keep having the same type of experience and you want to make a shift, pay attention to your patterns and the next time when the universe yells out, “I’m about to execute a life lesson, pay particular attention to your relationship,” look closely at any patterns you may be repeating.