Hello and welcome to Friday, August 27, 2021. Today is a rare and precious day that will never come again.
We all know what it’s like: Dinner is finished, it’s later than we thought, our belly is full, we’re tired, and the stack of dishes is overwhelming. The thought comes to mind, “I don’t feel like it, I just don’t have it in me.” Somewhat relieved by our decision, we walk away. Underneath, however, the dishes loom over us.
Just because we don’t feel like doing something, just because our mind is telling us, “I just don’t have it in me,” doesn’t mean that that we can’t just go ahead and do it anyway. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about the dishes, laundry, cleaning the car, or picking up the piece of paper that fell out of your pocket as you removed your keys from your jacket. In the long run, it takes far less energy to take care of it in that moment rather than letting it hold its necessity over your head until such time that you begrudgingly get it done.
When we do what needs to be done sooner than later, there is often a sense of gratification. There is wisdom in the saying, “work before play.” When we get our work done, it literally sets us free to enjoy our leisure time. When we put things off, at least this is my experience, it’s not usually gratification that we feel. More often than not, we feel resentful. Then the next time we’re faced with a pile of dirty dishes, the resentment arises. As we tend to avoid things that bring about tension and stress, we once again put off doing the dishes thereby reinforcing the habit and increasing our overall suffering.
We don’t have to live this way. Our emotions and their associated thoughts don’t have to dictate our actions, or inactions.
I understand, it’s hard to get done everything that we need to get done. We have too much on our plate, we run out of energy, and it’s just plain hard to be a human sometimes. Nevertheless, when we put off these things that we need to get done, we make it even harder on ourselves. There are practical things we can to which can help support us.
We can schedule these tasks. I know quite a few who rely on a daily planner. If we are realistic about what we can get done in a day, we can block out time for things like chores. We can also schedule some uninterrupted white space.
Notes strategically placed around the house reminding us to be kind to ourselves and to get things done can be an extremely effective way of helping us to create new and healthy habits. Because that’s what it really comes down to: we’ve developed and practiced habits that don’t serve us well. We can create new habits.
Lastly, recognize that you are not your thoughts or your emotions. You don’t have to believe and act on everything you think and feel. Developing introspection through a mindfulness practice helps you to recognize your thoughts and emotions, as they arise, making it possible to discern whether they are unhealthy and will increase suffering or if they are healthy, skillful, and honor the valuable person that you are.
Though it takes practice, being able to choose one thought over the other is a personal quality that can be cultivated. Developing this ability is one of the kindest acts of self-compassion that we can ever do for ourselves.
If you’re ready, I’m here to help.
You are Loved by me, Unconditionally!
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