Are the People in Your Life Getting Your Leftovers?
There are so many demands on our time and energy that by the end of the day nothing sounds better then getting home, putting on the pjs and telling your significant other all about the horrors of the day.
Is your family getting your best? Or just your best complaints?
Having someone who can listen to how your day went, sympathize and be in your corner is a wonderful thing, and sometimes we take advantage of this. Recently I noticed myself having the same conversation every night with my partner.
It goes something like this: 'here is a list of everything that went wrong, annoyed me or made me feel bad today, and I am grumpy, tired, irritable and need you to leave me alone with my Haagen Daz and Dr. Who'. Well, maybe I don't say that last part out loud, but it is certainly implied by my attitude (and my pint of ice cream).
I was using all my energy during the day to say yes when I wanted to say no, smiling when I didn't want too, and trying to be what everyone needed all day long. It's no wonder that when I arrived home all that was left was a snapping, moaning and complaining me.
It seemed so much more important to be nice to strangers, bosses, and that coworker with a million back handed comments - ‘it's so nice that you leave at 5pm everyday, I wish I didn’t care what the boss thinks’- then it was to bring my best self home to my family. I was being nicer to a mean coworker then I was to my partner!
I decided that this wasn’t good enough anymore. I wanted to give my best to the people I loved the most, not just what was leftover at the end of the day.
So I started to change a couple of things. First, I decided that my partner was not a dumping ground for my irritation, anger and grumpiness. I did what I needed to do to be able to walk into the house and not spew anger all over him. At a time when I was in an extremely challenging work environment this meant taking an hour walk every night before going home so I could dispel all (at least most) of my negative energy.
And then I did some inner work and really thought about why I was so angry and irritable. Boundaries. My boundaries around work were poor. I would stay late when I didn’t want to (and there was no real need), I allowed the opinions of others to displace my own and I was doing work that I just didn’t care about anymore.
I could have blamed my boss, my coworkers, my crappy desk chair, but that would have not moved my life to a better place. So I made a shift and decided that I would take control of the things I had control over – namely how I reacted to the circumstances around me – and I started to plan my ‘new’ life.
How did I want my life to look? I knew what I didn't want, but it was time to focus on what I did want. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen with small steps.
What tiny step will you take today?