While watching ‘Rehab Addict’ on HGTV, Mr. Chester Bushman, Nicole Curtis’s 90 year old grandfather, said this heartfelt sentence, "When you are building a home, you are building yourself into it, just like marriage!"
I watched and thought to myself that there is no substitute to old age wisdom; that we have so much to learn from our elders and that there's so much unparalleled value of strength and support in keeping, maintaining, and investing in our family ties.
A client of mine told me yesterday that she is exhausted from the holiday. It was the first time they celebrated at their own home, and she said she doesn't understand to what end is all of this hard work that left her wiped and empty and in desperate need of a vacation.
I sympathize with her; After all, preparing Passover is quite a project and an enormous undertaking if you are also hosting at your house.
She was my first client after a two weeks Passover vacation. While I was still wearing my housewife hat, it took me a split second while I was puzzled to understand how come it is not obvious to her, as it is to me, that the reward is as huge as the exhaustion.
Meaning, you cannot create meaningful, unforgettable bonding experiences and memories with your family and friends, without investing in creating the set for it.
Whether it's by planning an eventful vacation, or by paying a small fortune for an all included eventful vacation in a resort, some kind of an investment is definitely required and the more you invest the greater the return.
The split second dissipated in the blink of an eye. I was back with my therapist's hat on, and with the understanding that this is a case of distorted subjective interpretation of reality.
Meaning, it's a choice to feel that way. You can choose to feel differently.
This is the million dollar question and the answer is? [drum roll please]
By changing the way you think.
Our thought creates our feelings, and our feelings create our actions.
It's usually an automatic unconscious or unaware process which I fondly call RIFA:
Reality --> Interpretation --> Feeling --> Action.
If my client interprets her reality of preparing the holiday as slaving in the kitchen to no avail, there’s no wonder she is feeling used, abused, drained and very bitter. It also means that in an even deeper level she separated herself from the activity. As if it's a repulsive chore some outside force is compelling her to do for lack of any other option.
As if she did not choose this. As if she was coerced.
We talked a bit about these ideas and insights. We tried to understand together what was the ground on which the seeds of "Hi, I am all alone here in this business" came from, and what sprouted them and/or fertilized them. And then, we tried to think together about a different way of looking at all of this.
The reality may have not changed at all. Same incidents, same conflicts, same work load, the same self centered teenagers, etc. . ., but the new angle in which she chose to look at it changed, and as a result, so did her feelings.
The new angle she chose was, “It's not against me, nobody is doing anything just to spite me, and I am choosing to do this because I want to invest in my family; because I love them, because I want to give from myself so we can bond together.
And then I told her about Mr. Bushman.
And then we wrote this down:
When you build something, you HAVE to build yourself into it!
This is the only way you'll enjoy it, benefit from it and grow from it.
This is probably the only way to really live life to its fullest. . . and smile about it.
[© Smadar Prager, CGP]