I think we all have a picture in our mind of who and what we want to be. I know I have built an image of this ideal woman who is always happy and contented. She doesn’t let other people’s attitudes shake her own mood and always responds with love. She keeps her home perfectly clean and organized and works out at least three times a week. I could go on and on and on…
This perfect woman is constantly in my head, usually pointing out the ways I’ve failed to live up to her standards each day. At times she inspires me to do better, but most of the time I just feel depressed and incapable of change. However, a few days ago my husband said something to me that made me realize that I’m not as useless as I generally feel and I am actually capable of improvement!
It was Sunday afternoon and Jason was watching me start cleaning the bathroom while he was lying on out bed (he wasn’t feeling well at all, not just being lazy!). This was shortly after I’d been griping about how I really did not want to housework and just felt like chilling. He just said “I don’t know how you do it.” When I asked what he was referring to he explained that I just push on and do whatever needs to be done regardless of how I’m feeling.
Now this may not seem like a big deal, but to me it was huge; not only because he isn’t always overflowing with compliments, but because I have viewed myself as a very lazy procrastinator. I’ve always been a very messy person, my room at my parent’s house was usually about a foot deep in clothes and various other of my possessions. Before we got married I had no idea how I would cope with housework and keeping things tidy and just all the things that need to be done around the house on a daily or weekly basis. And to be honest I was pretty awful for the first while… dishes wouldn’t be done for days, my clothes were still left all over the floor and it would take most of the week to finally get the weekend’s clean laundry put away. The state of our house usually made me feel depressed and rather like a failure as an adult and a wife. I think it irritated Jason a fair bit as well… with good reason!
I realize that being tidy and organized is not the be all and end all in life. I know that you don’t have to have the perfect home and wash and dry each dish immediately after use to be considered mature and responsible. But I also knew that I really needed to improve (and still do)! And as I said at the beginning, my natural tendency is to look at my weaknesses as evidence of my general worthlessness rather than simply areas that I need to work on improving.
Having Jason point out how I’d started automatically tidying up and having him impressed with me really meant so much to me! It made me realize that I actually have changed over the past few months; something has somehow clicked in my brain that as the dishes need to be washed I just need to get on and do them! In no way do I keep an immaculate house, but now my clothes are always put away, the dishes are almost always washed and the rooms are usually tidy overall. I hadn’t noticed this change; it happened so gradually that it became my new normal. I still viewed myself as messy and lazy because I hadn’t recognized that had actually (mostly) left that part of myself behind! It took Jason reminding me to stop and compare myself 6 months ago to who I am now to realize that I am actually capable of improvement. I really can’t say just how good this made me feel!
The point of this post isn’t to point out how amazing I am for cleaning my bathroom and washing my dishes. Please don’t take it this way! I have just realized how helpful (and necessary) it is to look back at where we were some time ago and recognize what changes and improvements have been made. Many times it is near impossible to see how you could ever make even a small change when in the moment; just take a step back and think about who you were a year ago. I’m sure you can find a least one area where you’ve grown closer to your ideal.
And on that note… I need to go wash the dishes before heading to bed!