19 July, 2017
5pm to 7pm in our house is what I imagine it would be like to live inside a compression chamber.
Like high-ranking officers in the Navy our small children demand to be fed on schedule. If I am even twenty minutes late with their cooked dinners, somebody will break down and then no dinner is eaten, which prolongs the suffering long past bed time.
After half an hour of bribery, cajoling and proclaiming improbable outcomes from my own childhood (like “if you don’t eat that you’ll get gangrene and your fingers will fall off”) I review the plates and if half is eaten, we call that a good nights work.
Dinner is followed by bath time. Each night is different with someone gleefully happy to get in and the other screaming, gripping the edge of the bath like it is filled with acid.
Although we like to say bedtime is 7pm, after a series of carefully played-out delays involving trips to the toilet, needing bananas, needing drinks, needing hotties, needing stories, it’s more like 8 or 9pm before we are baby free.
For everything I’ve read in the ‘positive parenting’ books, the reality is often quite different. It’s hard graft.
Like most other families with young children, in our house adult only time has become more valuable than blood diamonds – and just as fiercely contested.
I began to notice a dialogue between my partner and I. A competition. Who worked harder, who sacrificed more, who was throwing themselves on the sword for the good of the family. The “my job is harder” battle had begun.
On speaking with other women and friends in my community about their relationships, I’ve learnt that this is quite a common experience – although often not discussed. Like the good philosopher I am, I started to ponder why. I began searching for solutions, for a way to rediscover peace in my most valuable relationship.
What I’ve realised is, when we are solely focused on the experience we are having in our own world, it becomes difficult to imagine and have compassion for the stress and burdens of another person’s experience.
We are all doing our best, with the information that we have. We will never truly know what is going on in somebody else’s inner world. First we must put down the sword and make the effort to consider the view from our partner’s side. This is done through listening, observing and taking in.
Have you noticed a similar obstacle in one of your relationships? Whether it’s at home with a spouse or at work with a colleague, there is one clear solution that I guarantee will help you to put the sparkle back in your relationship.
It is a simple, effective practise, which you can begin right now:
Happy people are grateful for the contributions of others.
Unhappy people assume others aren’t doing enough.
Gratitude is a magic sauce that helps us to strengthen positive emotions. Gratitude reduces feelings of envy, makes our memories happier, lets us experience good feelings and helps us to bounce back from stress.
Developing the voice of gratitude doesn’t happen over night, but with practice it can become second nature. If your focus is on improving a specific relationship, then you can start with that. Write a list of twenty things you’re grateful for about that person and why, for example:
I am grateful for my partner because he cooked the dinner,
I am blessed to have a partner who prepares nourishing food for me to enjoy.
I am grateful for my sister because she encourages me in my business,
I am blessed to have a friend support my vision.
I am grateful for my boss because she made it possible for me to go to that work conference.
I am blessed to have an employer who believes in my ongoing learning.
Ann Wroe, (interestingly, the obituaries editor of The Economist) wrote:
Ingratitude is the frost that nips the flower even as it opens, that shrivels the generous apple on the branch, that freezes the fountain in mid-flow and numbs the hand, even in the very act of giving. It is a sin of silence, absence and omission, as winter’s sin is a lack of light; a sin against charity, which otherwise warms the heart and, in the truest sense, makes the world turn.
The power of gratitude is undeniable. But it has to be practised to be seen. If you’re ready to start attracting miracles and healing some of your most valuable relationships, then start practising gratitude every day.
To aid you in this, I am going to offer a free 7 day gratitude challenge on Facebook Live – starting from Wednesday the 2nd of August to Wednesday the 9th of August, every evening at 8pm I will be live on the A Yogafied Life Facebook page talking about all things gratitude and offering you a new prompt every day to help you develop your own gratitude practice.
I’d be so grateful to see you there.
To join the list to get instant notifications about when I am going live and be sent replays of the videos click here.