One great way to increase happiness in your life is to own your issues. We all have issues. The key is to accept responsibility for your issues and not impose them on others. Here’s what I’m doing to own one of my issues.
Identify Your Issue
I can remember watching Sleeping with the Enemy when I was probably 12 or 13. In case you’re unfamiliar, Julia Roberts is married to a very obsessive, controlling, abusive man. He is meticulously precise in how he wants things to be and when they’re not, he goes crazy. In fact, he’s so terrible that she fakes her death in order to escape from him.
For a while, she escapes to a small town and starts to live a happy life. Then, one day, she comes home and her hand towels are straightened and her pantry is organized with the cans stacked and labels facing forward.
I remember thinking, Seriously? He travels all that way and then organizes her mess of a pantry?! She may not realize it, but he’s really doing her a favor.
Then I realized that that organized pantry was supposed to be a moment of horror. The music indicated it, the look on her face indicated it. But I was still really impressed with his speedy pantry organization skills. Plus, he had time to start tackling the bathroom!
It was then that I realized I have organizational issues. In some areas (but not all), I like things organized and neater than other people. The pantry is one area, and toys are another.
Don’t Impose Your Issue on Others
I have somewhat of a photographic memory. For some reason, I can look at a toy and remember all of the pieces that came with it originally. Although my personal preference would be for my kids to reassemble all of their toys as soon as they’re done playing, I realize that this is an unreasonable request.
Instead, I have my kids pick up their toys and put them away in a bin. This is reasonable. However, to request that (for example) every shooter disc or figurine is matched with each Imaginext vehicle before it’s put away is unreasonable.
If I imposed that on my children, the toys would quit being fun. Instead of us being able to play and laugh together, we would probably spend more time worrying about small, stupid pieces of plastic. Really, I’m just not interested in losing fun in favor of keeping all the plastic pieces together.
Plus, I don’t want to accidentally teach my kids this obsession. I prefer that my kids live in a world where Batman can also be a Power Ranger because you don’t know where the black Power Ranger is. This is so much better than the alternative of one of the kids losing their ever-loving mind because they can’t find the black Power Ranger.
Accept Responsibility for Your Issue
Just because I try not to impose my issue on my kids doesn’t mean that I ignore it. Some times, my brain just starts to feel fuzzy and I think, You know what you should do? Assemble some Lego sets just to make sure all the pieces are there.
It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes I honor that crazy straightener inside of me and build some Legos. After I finish, I feel so much better. Normally, I notice that my head is clearer and that I have better focus. I’m not sure if this is from honoring my issue and quenching its desire or from the actual task of focusing and assembling something that requires attention to detail.
Be aware though, if your issue has to deal with addiction or destructive tendencies, you should never listen to that inner voice. Instead, you should seek professional help immediately.
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