Spiritual Renewal through Gratitude Day 8

Warning: I am being really vulnerable today in hopes that my experiences help you...

We all get this concept when we get a rash, dry skin or a tummy ache. Hurt or irritation = something is wrong. So why is it that when I feel a mental irritation, I almost always automatically think there is something wrong with the other person or thing with whom I am irritated with at that moment? Think about this idea for a minute and if it applies to your life.

When you get a rash, you treat your skin. When you get a tummy ache, usually you just treat your tummy.  Then once that is under control, you might explore what plant, food or other environmental element is hurting you. But, one cross or snarky comment from someone and I seem to get attitude in my voice at them. Or, I get snappy with my response. Or, I might look at them in a funky way. Or, I might sigh at my computer. Why is this? Why do I lash out, rather than look into my own thoughts first?

The way I have been reacting for 41 years seems counter productive now that I have had this Aha moment. I have noticed I have these tiny expectations for everyone and everything. I never was aware of them before the last few months. No, really, I was not aware. I knew about BIG expectations, but overlooked that the little ones are what can ruin relationships. I expect traffic to move, my sweet kid to eat in a timely manner, my hubby to be open to new ideas, my veggie seeds to sprout in 3-5 days, my phone to work on my timeline and always be charged, etc. Sound familiar? We have these tiny expectations that instantly turn into irritation when not met.

So I practiced letting go recently. A particular friend seems really punchy and inattentive lately. I can't pinpoint it exactly, but my buttons are being pushed. However, I tried to just let things roll, and not respond to many things I normally would have been upset by in the moment. I am allowing my feelings, but only to myself. I am letting her be her and me be me. This person is NOT hurting me or being mean, just not responding the way I thought she would. I am realizing it is OK. My needs to be appreciated, to be funny, to be understood, and to be heard may not be met by her this week. However, that really is OK.

My hubby, Craig, has been feeling a lot of my expectations too. He mentioned that I always have to be right. Grrr, I don't like hearing that. I mentioned that he seems closed off to new ideas or ways of living. Grrr, he does not like hearing that. So, we are openly talking about how we can communicate better and accept each others feelings better. He asked me last night, "How can I say that I don't think this is a good idea without you getting mad or hurt?" WOW, that is a really great question!!!! I said, "Just tell me how you feel, not that I am wrong." EPIPHANY!!!

Retraining my brain to accept first, watch my tone or words is working when I am able to remember. I think my friend may not even know that I felt this way. That is what I wanted, because my feelings are my responsibility. My hubby is listening and caring. That makes me want to be even more loving and understanding. Man, this is some really cool stuff.

Last, but not least, how gratitude fits in to this. When I feel irritated with someone or something, I will try my best to look inward first (as much as I can). If I decide that this is my problem, not something that needs to be discussed or fixed with that person or thing, then I will take time to be grateful for things about that person I love. Focusing on the attributes I do love, switches my thoughts. All of this happens in seconds. If the issue is something I need to discuss, taking the time to think before speaking about it helps me be calmer and nicer. Sometimes there are just misunderstandings and I overreact too quickly. (I hear you laughing, Craig!)

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