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A Reality Check Required

April 6, 2011

The greatest of intentions can create unnecessary stress on the body, mind and soul.  Our intentions at first glance often appear realistic, doable, even necessary but as time passes these same intentions can become misguided and burdensome.

I have spent the last several weeks preparing for the visit of my cousin and his wife.  Days have been filled with the painting of walls and pictures, gardening, cleaning, shopping, baking, moving of furniture and the making of lists.  Somehow, I have managed to fit in the teaching of classes and visiting of friends.  I am truly exhausted and hoping that I still have some energy left to have fun upon their arrival.

Today, as I was reinstalling wall fixtures, changing beds and cleaning bathrooms, I found myself wondering why it is that people put themselves through so much when all that is truly required is to be there for the ones you love. For some of us however, it is not enough just to be there.  For, some of us need to be there in a clean house, with a tidy yard and that house has to be filled with good food, wine and anything else we feel might be required for the occasion.  All of this equals stress, stress, stress.

I made a list this afternoon of the state of mind that might lead to such behavior….those ‘needs’ perceived.

1.  The need to meet expectations. Each of us has criteria indelibly embedded in our minds that may or may not be justified.  These criteria however, are what we base our actions on.  The problem lies in meeting these criteria and believing that others have similar goals/criteria.

2.  The need to minimize conflict. Most people will jump through hoops in order to increase the probability that expectations of all parties are met.  Stress arises when a person begins to realize that they cannot cover all bases, that it is impossible to discover every eventuality.  Minimizing possible dissatisfaction is high on the list.

3. The need to dilute our feelings of inadequacy. It is largely possible that we do the things we do for recognition and to boost our self worth.  It could be true that most of what we do every single day is for this purpose.

4.  The need for order. Chaos moving towards order….that is what nature seeks.

5.  The need for satisfaction. I is highly possible that we do the things we do because it makes us feel good.  The human being is all about feeling good….

My reality check is to realize that my cousin is coming here to see me and the rest of the family.  He probably won’t even notice if his bathroom is clean, remember what I made for dinner or that I have painted the walls.  I have one day left before he arrives….wonder if I will finish the jobs on my list….hmmmm.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Dave McGuigan permalink
    April 6, 2011 2:50 pm

    Ah! The wonders of the human psyche! And the never ending to do list. I find, a deep breath ot six, then a glass of wine, or a cup of coffee, taken while sitting outside enjoying whatever nature has to offer often sheds light on the really important things on that list – if there are any!

  2. April White permalink
    April 6, 2011 8:40 pm

    I am totally the same way and that’s just when people are coming for dinner. We don’t have houseguests – God forbid. I clean the house, set the table, purchase and cook the dinner, have everything set perfectly before they arrive. It’s exhausting!

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