The Goddess Speaks
Allow yourself freedom from 1 chore
Life was pretty hectic last November. My fiance and I and our respective children had just moved into a new house. We were all getting used to living together with new relationships and schedules and the responsibilities that ensue. On top of that, I was planning our December wedding while maintaining a rigorous professional life. Yikes. It was kind of crazy.
Overwhelmed, I shared my frustration with my good friend Kathy, who gave me some advice.
She explained that when she feels stressed by the formidable demands of her domestic life, she gives herself permission not to do something, and she feels much better.
It did not offer much relief. I imagined mountains of laundry spilling out of the hampers and towers of dirty dishes piling up in the sink. I couldn't embrace this concept of not cooking meals or driving the carpool or helping with homework or reading to my child at bedtime. I wasn't giving up my job or daily exercise. What essential item could I possibly eliminate from my extensive list of things "To Do"?
I dismissed her recommendation and forged ahead, trudging through the demands of daily life, keeping my eyes on the prize: the blessings of family.
It wasn't until months later, when our life was a bit more under control, that I began to think about her advice and was finally ready to give it a try.
I discovered that giving myself permission not to do something does not necessarily mean that I don't get it done. I just stop worrying about it. I take care of what is important, and if I have time, I do the rest, which usually happens. I also find myself with more energy because I haven't wasted it trying to figure out how I'm going to get everything done. I just do.
I guess it's kind of a reverse psychology. I do something because I want to, not because I have to.
I apply this philosophy in a universal manner. It works for chores around the house, errands around town and even exercise.
There's always a moment when I wonder if I'll be able to make it through the entire workout, list, plan. That's when I tell myself that I don't have to. It's not like letting myself quit, because I don't. It's more like setting small goals along the way.
On occasion, when I give myself permission not to do something, I really don't do it, especially with meals. Who cares if I don't put a freshly made salad on the table with dinner every night? A bowl of carrots will do. And sometimes I let my husband order a pizza, and I enjoy every bite.
Kathy's advice has made a positive impact on my busy family life. It lightens the load in its own simple way.
If your list of things to do seems almost endless, allow yourself the option of not completing them all. I promise it won't hold you back. Give it a try. You have my permission.
Lorraine Gershun is publications adviser for Searider Productions at Waianae High School.
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