my husband: “Honey, did you call the (plumber/painter/insurance company)?”
Me: (if Yes)
“Of course I did!”(What do you think I am, a flake?)
feelings: indignant, superior, defensive
“No, I was meaning to call them later this week”
feelings: guilt, shame, self-loathing, “busted”–a.k.a. “in the doghouse”
Well, the reality is that I am a bit of a flake when it comes to making boring administrative calls that I don’t like. Hell– I can even be a flake about things I LOVE doing, let alone the boring stuff. All my husband wanted to know was data about the status of the process, and I made up whole volumes about what his question said about me. (This is one of the perils of the creative mind!)
I was operating from the beliefs that I had to get it right, have perfect execution, and not need help from anyone. In this context, his reminder could only offend me– either he was checking up on me because he thought I was incompetent or he was rubbing in my face the fact that I actually was.
It wasn’t until I could admit and embrace my spontaneous and flow-y nature (which can look “flaky” in a linear/logical framework) that I could start to see reminders in an entirely new light.
I have long said ” I do not want to be solely responsible for mission critical operations.” It stresses me out too much to have all the responsibility for things that have strict deadlines and serious consequences for being late.
By accepting my “flakiness” I could now actually welcome reminders– as other eyes, ears and minds sharing the responsibility for things and helping make sure they got done.
The more I embraced reminders, the more supported and less alone I felt. I could literally feel my body relax and soften as I loosened my grip on the self-appointed helm of sole-manager-of-the-universe-ness.
Now when someone reminds me about something, I smile, knowing that others have my back. Since my self-worth is no longer dependent on being perfect, it doesn’t really matter if I’ve remembered or not!
I’ve taken this simple but profound perspective into many areas of my life and it just keeps getting richer and deeper. A few examples:
When my shoulder hurts, it’s a reminder to move in the way that my body-worker has taught me–from my whole torso instead of just my shoulder socket.
When I stub my toe, I say to the pain:
- “Thank you for reminding me where my body ends and the world begins!” and
- “Thank you for reminding me to take good care of my body”
When I realize I’m feeling overwhelmed, I say to the overwhelm:
- “Thank you for reminding me to to take a break” and
- “Thank you for reminding me that these are all self-imposed deadlines! “
When I realize I am feeling anxious or afraid, I say to my Inner Critic:
- “Thank you for reminding me that this is important to me, and that fear is human. ” and
- “Thank you for reminding me to reach out for comfort and support. “
What messages in your life could be reframed as loving reminders? What could they remind you to be or do?
Please leave a comment to tell me how you use the “Thank you for reminding me…” mantra.
(And please feel free to remind me if I forget to use it myself!)