I’m always looking for new ways to improve myself. Looking is great, and I find so many wonderful ways to improve upon parts of me, in order to make me a better person. The problem is that sometimes I am so busy looking, and appreciating what I’ve found, that I forget to actually apply all the things I am learning and know. It makes it all seem so futile….
But at least these vast amounts of knowledge seem to stick in my head, filed away under miscellaneous, and every now and then something will happen and I’ll remember what’s in that file. I usually need to dust it off, and revisit to a large degree (which means looking at it all over again), but by the time that happens I’ve managed to be concerned enough about it to ensure that I put it into action.
Three of these ‘somethings’ have happened so far this week, and as I lay in bed last night, I didn’t need to remember what was in that file, because the file popped itself out of my memory cabinet.
On Monday, everything seemed to get away from me – including the dog who had stolen the last teabag of my favorite kind of tea, and only surrendered it when he had successfully broken it open and eaten it’s contents (I guess he likes it too).
On Tuesday, my daughter was recounting something that had happened at school and I had been so shocked (although I probably shouldn’t have been that shocked) that I had tripped over my own feet while we were walking – but thankfully was saved by the wall, and managed to escape uninjured. Later that day, I was helping push a friend’s car after its battery ran flat, and found myself with loose sand beneath my feet. I almost fell. Almost.
I lay in bed last night, listing in my mind : Manic Monday, Treacherous Tuesday – and the file all but smacked me on the head (I guess it had grown impatient with holding this particular content).
About eight and a half years ago (yes, it’s been in that file for approximately eight and a half years!!!) I found myself completely deserted and alone, with my two beautiful children. It felt like it had happened overnight, but probably just because it was suddenly so overwhelming. Being a woman, and a rather emotional one at that, everything just seemed so terribly awful. (I guess in a way, it was.)
To suddenly be a ‘me’ (as opposed to an ‘us’), as well as Mommy and Daddy to my then 20-month-old daughter and almost nine-year-old son – well, it just felt like I was in the middle of a football field, with angry teams approaching from either side, and no protection of my own.
I decided I needed protection, because my children needed me, and joined a few online support groups and signed up for enough counselling programs to get me through the year, delivered to my inbox daily. Because I just didn’t want to talk to anyone face-to-face about any of it, and the only place I ever went for that year was to work, and my colleagues knew the topic was taboo. I even changed where I shopped, which was actually inconvenient, just to avoid any mention of anything.
One of these counselling programs spent a week focusing on not focusing. That week was dedicated to being an encouragement to others, listening to others, caring about their problems and offering words of motivation and comfort to them.
It was about not focusing on anything to do with you, but instead pulling into focus those around you. By the following week, I actually felt a little better. Which, of course, was revealed as the point of the week long exercise – and something I probably would have picked up on if I hadn’t been in the place I was emotionally.
At the conclusion of this particular course, they gave me a summary page of points that had been raised, as well as some actions that could be taken to help me cope with everyday life, which I read through and filed away. I was coping by that stage. But I knew I’d need it later.
One of those things was to choose a day, or a week, or a month – in each year – that you would make a commitment to make a difference in someone else’s life, either through inspiration, motivation or encouragement. It was also to make an effort on the days when you felt overwhelmed, to dedicate the next five minutes of your time to doing one of the above as well. I had made a mental note on these notes – how about naming your days?
So this morning, I have. The working/school days, that is, that are the most difficult to get through for me. And here they are:
Moody Monday – Monday is not considered the first day of the week, but it is usually the first working day of a new week, and the first school day for that week. Moody Monday does not mean that there is an excuse to be in a bad mood. All it means, for me, is that I need to make allowance for the fact that this day represents a return to work/school, after a weekend of fun and relaxation, and that the ‘moods’ in the house may not be exactly jovial (which includes my mood). So I need to be a little more tolerant of irritability in my children, or a general sense of impending gloom, and try and be a bit more sensitive with anyone who may cross my path – because I doubt the moodiness is isolated to only my home. I need to also recognize that I may be irritable and feel gloomy, and so this is the day to making a special effort to check my attitude, and try and change it if it’s not what it should be.
Treat Tuesday – is exactly what it says. I don’t usually ‘treat’ on the weekends – it’s the weekend and you can spend most of the time relaxing and having fun, which in itself is a treat. But Tuesday? Well, we made it through Monday, and we’re all still alive, so we deserve a treat. This usually comes in the form of an ice-cream, or a special candy bar (one that we don’t usually purchase), or kids choice for supper. The treats are all kid-orientated, so for me Treat Tuesday means that I don’t do the dishes 😉
Wonderful Wednesday – It’s halfway through the ‘working’ week, and it’s either been good, bad, or mediocre so far. Whatever it’s been, it’s the day to be wonderful. Because if it’s been bad, there are only two more days left; and if it’s been good, then of course it’s wonderful. Mediocre? There’s hope for a change, and if it’s bad for the rest of the week, well then there’s always next week. And what better way to be wonderful than to make someone else feel wonderful. So this is the day of compliments, inspiration and motivation. (I try to be complimentary, inspirational and motivational all the time, but in particular on this day.)
Although I smile most of the time, this is the day you will be awarded with my best smile – and you won’t even have to earn it. In fact you can be grumpy and irritable, and bite my head off, but I will still smile. It’s Wonderful Wednesday, and I am making a very conscious effort.
Thrifty Thursday – has nothing to do with spending money, because I have none. And while time is also an issue for me, this is the day that I give away the short amount I get to have as ‘me time’. I can be rather selfish with my ‘me time’ and tend to only sacrifice what I would really rather be doing in that time when it is convenient for me. But on Thrifty Thursday, I do it, whether it suits me or not. That half hour that I have where I could be reading my book, or watching my series, or lying in my bath thinking of nothing? I pick up the phone and listen to a friend, or visit with someone – those types of things. I make an effort to give away that ‘time of mine’.
Finally Friday – By this time, I am usually thankful that the working/school week is almost over…and so my commitment is to thankfulness. A day where I utter out loud all the amazing things I have to be thankful for – the small ones and the big ones. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I spend the rest of the week in a state of ingratitude. Not. At. All. But I try a lot harder (although some times I fail) to keep my focus on an attitude of gratitude, and more importantly, try to hardly complain.
So my days have officially been named – it’s on paper now, more importantly, on a blog for the world to see (not that the ‘world’ will see it, but you know what I mean) – so now it’s even more of a commitment! So roll on Thrifty Thursday, as Wonderful Wednesday starts making its way to its end 🙂