(Grab a tea, this is a long one. But it’s worth it, I swear!)
I’m not perfect.
I am happy to admit that and accept my flaws. I make mistakes. I get pissed off, I get a bit road ragey, I have the odd tantrum. I am human. I don’t think anyone on the earth, His Holiness the Dalai Lama included, is able to avoid our imperfect humanness. But I do try to love thy neighbour and choose love in all moments.
Everyone is doing the best with what they have and know.
This is my mantra. This allows me to forgive others (and myself) really easily. If everyone is doing the best with what they know, how could I blame them for my unhappiness?
Well, when you don’t do the dishes, all bets are off.
Back track a couple of years and my husband (he was my boyfriend at the time) and I moved into our first home together. My parents had moved away, my sister lived in another state and my family was scattered around Australia. I was the last Furtado left in NSW. But that didn’t matter because I was building a home with the man I loved.
Those first few months, though, were hell.
I specifically remember it was 3 months of “how did I not KNOW that you were a lazy slob?!” I clearly had different cleaning standards to my love. For instance, he felt it was ok to keep dirty dishes in the sink over night, maybe even for two nights, before cleaning them. And we had established a rule “one cooks and the other cleans up”. Since I was doing most of the cooking, the cleaning was supposed to be done by him. Note the keywords: supposed to be done. It was driving me mad! I felt resentful (why am I the only one looking after the both of us?), I felt angry (why do I have to pick up the slack?) and I felt alone (why did my family move away and leave me here? who do I have to run away to?).
Let’s be clear, it’s not the dishes I was angry about. It was the lack of consideration. It was the principle of the thing. The vibe.
Through communication and learning to let things go (like my granny told me “what does it matter if the dishes are in the sink? Life’s short!”), I was able to grow and learn. Those things stopped bothering me. My man got better at household things. We now live in relative harmony.
Until last night. Now known as “day 2 of dirty dishes in the sink”.
Long story short: my expensive thermomix had been sitting in the sink needing to be washed. I implored my husband “I don’t care about the other dishes, please just do the thermomix”. 2 nights later it was still sitting there. I imploded. Maybe it’s my pregnancy hormones, maybe it’s irrational, but my head swirled with thoughts of “how can he be so inconsiderate? he knows how crazy this gets me! we are about to have a baby so mess is going to get worse. Will I be able to rely on him to help me out? What happened to being partners?”
I drowned in a sea of disappointment and hurt.
I had to pull myself out of this funk but nothing I could say to myself made it any better. I remembered my mantra (everyone is doing the best with what they have and know) but that didn’t soothe. I couldn’t forgive. I tried sending him love but kept feeling blocked. Then I allowed myself this thought:
What if it’s ok to be angry?
I started to think about allowing myself to be disappointed by someone else’s actions. This can be extremely dangerous because I am giving away my emotional power to someone else. By feeling disappointed in my husband’s behaviour, I give away control of my emotions and become a martyr. Not a resourceful place to be. Certainly not a state of mind I like to be in. Or encourage any of my clients to get used to. But no matter which way I looked, I couldn’t shake this feeling. But then I had a HUGE AHA moment.
Getting let down and disappointed by someone we love is part of life.
Stings like a bee but it’s true. Love isn’t defined just by the warm fuzzy feelings but by the contrast as well. We only know the feeling of deep love when we’ve felt deep pain. We only know the feeling of trust when we’ve felt betrayal.
So how do we recover from these feelings?
- Let the person know their actions have caused you to feel this way. It’s important to let them know how you feel and why.
- Take some time out by yourself to process the emotions. Allow yourself to feel the full depth and breadth of whatever it is you are feeling.
- Ask yourself, how would you like this to be? What would the ideal solution be? The answer cannot be “that it never happened in the first place”, unfortunately that boat has sailed. So let’s go for plan B. What does that look like to you?
- What are the possible consequences of plan B? Before approaching the person with your solution, you need to prepare yourself for plan B to either be accepted readily or rejected. There is the possibility that this is an impasse where neither of you want to compromise. So prepare yourself emotionally, mentally, physically for all scenarios. Dig deep inside for all of the self love you can muster and wear it like a suit of armour.
- Let your walls down. Communicate plan B. Breathe.
- Finally, restock your self-love store. Take some time out and fill up your cup. Show yourself that you are enough. That despite what hurts come your way, you are going to remain faithful and reliable to yourself.
This is never an easy topic. I’d love to hear what you have to say about it. Have you been hurt in the past? If so, how did you recover? And if you haven’t fully recovered yet, what do you think is missing that will help you to heal? Do you think it’s possible to ever heal fully? Tell me in the comments below!
I get that dishes in the sink is not on par with a cheating lover but the steps to recovering from that hurt are the same. It all boils back down to love of self. The more we have, the more we can allow in – despite the falls.
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