What should you do when you’re making a big deal out of something?
“Don’t be ridiculous!”
“You’re being silly!”
“Don’t make mountains out of molehills.”
“Let it go!”
If you’re like me, you’ve heard these phrases directed at you more than once, and you’ve said them more than once too.
What does this have to do with joy?
This morning, my husband and I had a conversation about the way we parent. We have these conversations regularly because we work hard to be intentional about the way we parent rather than reacting emotionally to every little thing that happens.
Both of us talked about things the kids do that irritate and bother us. In the past, we’ve worked hard to let these things go – I’ve even written about the necessity to let things go as part of this blog series – but during the conversation, something occurred to me.
Forcing ourselves to let things go because we’re “being judgemental” or silly or ridiculous or whatever word we’d use might actually be counterproductive when it comes to joyful living because we can only let go of things that don’t matter to us anymore. We can’ force ourselves to believe these things don’t matter while they do.
When we feel that things DO still matter, there has to be a step before letting go. We first have to figure out WHY they matter – what meaning we’re giving them and what truth there is to the stories we’re telling ourselves about whatever is going on.
Only when the stories break apart and we realise they’re not true – or at least not completely true – we introduce the possibility of a new perspective, one from which it’s easier to let go.
My husband and I had this conversation today, realising that we’d drive ourselves crazy if we keep having to betray our true feelings and pretend we’re ok with things that are driving us nuts.
I think joyful living and the ability to accept others and ourselves requires us to look at our over-reactions, upsets and stress points from a place of compassion and acceptance rather than judging ourselves for feeling them and trying to shut them away.
That’s the place we have to get to before letting go becomes a valid option.