Well, here's the deal...... Danny doesn't annoy me.
You guys. I know. This is not the norm. I fear writing about this a bit as I don't want to make anyone feel badly. But since a few people have asked, I decided to respond.
It's not that Danny doesn't do things that could be annoying....
Danny leaves his socks & clothes everywhere.
His work area is an absolute disaster.
He lays in bed at night and reads with a bed light on.
He doesn't like to power walk like I do.
He is relentlessly positive.
He changes lanes more than I do.
He mans our kitchen and is very, very particular about cooking and spices.
He never once has picked up the mail.
These are things that may drive someone else crazy.
(photo by Everything is OK concept store)
But I feel humbled to say that I could care less. I just couldn't be bothered by these things. I actually had to think hard to even write that list. I'll try to explain why...
I lost a husband.
I have lost a chance at a "baby" 96 times.
I've lived, worked, survived and provided for myself in New York City 13 years - that includes getting chewed up and spit out at least 20 times, once in the form of a home that caught fire.
Everyone has a different path. But somehow I was able to learn how to surrender to things that are less than ideal and it's been so liberating that you can tell by now that I had to share this stuff & help others to do the same, if they'd like to. :)
SO - - even though dealing with annoying qualities in Danny is not a challenge for me at this time, I know enough about the subject to share a few ideas about how I got here. If you are trying to let go of the annoying aspects of your spouse, whether it is his/her smacking lips or chewing gum or playing video games (as mentioned by a reader), here are (4) ideas that might help...these are things that I do specifically....and these apply to many, many situations in life....
1. Manage your energy.
Getting annoyed by things and reacting to things simply drains you! When I was married the first time, I got better and better at letting go of things that were draining me and it was because I decided to manage/conserve my energy. You only have so much energy in a day. A depletion of energy will be problematic when bad or stressful or annoying things happen - you'll be more prone to crack or snap due to a short fuse. And zapping your energy over and over can lead to health problems - your body simply won't be able to operate the way it's supposed to if it's so drained (see this amazing article in NY Magazine called "The Ecology of Stress"). SO, think long and hard before you decide it's worth it to be annoyed over chewing gum or smacking lips. You'll want a good store of energy when life's bigger problems do come your way. (See a more detailed post I wrote on the subject: "The F-Word Made Me Bankrupt"). And, to keep your energy stores full when crap goes down, you must get in the pattern of pursuing virtues in the moment - see here & here & here for examples of how to do that. Pursuing virtues actually FILLS your tank of energy and empowerment!!! :)
2. Have gratitude.
I think I have this one easy, because I know what it's like to lose a spouse. It felt like a death. But perhaps it felt even worse as his removal from our life together was voluntary. ouch.
So - I can't tell you how much I appreciate Danny. The gratitude is just so great that it really just dominates everything else. Any little annoyance just doesn't have a chance around here. Also, Danny is my little family. It's just the two of us. I wouldn't dream of not cherishing him. And, actually, the reality is I felt the same way about my former spouse. Focusing on gratitude for a human being really goes a long way in letting go of annoyances. (See the post: "Danny's Prayer for Me")
3. Dedicate your marriage to a greater purpose.
I think it's so easy to get caught up in wanting our own needs and desires fulfilled. It's easy to think of a marriage as something to fulfill US. But, I've changed my standards on marriage. I don't expect it to be a Hollywood set of romance & desire, a place of ideal circumstances where all my needs are met, where someone fulfills me, and where someone should be responsible for making sure I don't get annoyed....Instead, I see marriage as a place to learn and grow and progress as a person. I made this shift long before I met Danny. And it has made a huge, huge difference in our marriage. (See the post: "Are You Working Away at a Hard Marriage?"
4. Let go, let go, let go.
I heard someone once say that they were so annoyed for 20 years that their spouse left dirty socks in the hallway. And then their spouse died tragically. And they now would give anything to have those dirty socks in the hallway. Obviously, there are some abuses that cannot be ignored. But little annoying things about a partner - ones that your partner may have difficulty in changing - are simply not worth zapped energy and the loss of harmony in a home. Choose to let go out of LOVE for your partner, children, and anyone else around you......(See the post: "The Most Important Things I've Ever Learned About Love")
Here's a challenge for anyone who dares: :)
Decide that the next time your spouse does something that would potentially annoy you, that you will try to react in a better way. In fact, ask for an opportunity to try this! Going into situations with some extra power and willingness goes a long way..... :) So, think about how you might react in advance. Plan on conserving your energy. Envision yourself being "still" in the moment. Channel some love & gratitude for your partner (and some self-worth for yourself goes a long way here, too...it helps to not "need" your partner to behave in a certain way.) All it takes is a little practice, and you can see first hand how this works. TRY IT!!!!
[By the way, I took this very exact challenge once. :) :) :) It was the VERY, VERY first time I put into practice most of the things that I now talk about on the blog. I will never forget it. It turns out I had been planning out how to react to a little annoying thing, but then something rather serious happened. Oh my. I had one of the biggest surprises of my life. But I decided to still apply these principles...and it turns out that the surrendering, the letting go, and the love worked just the same. It turned out to be the most empowering moment of my entire life. ]
DAY AFTER ADDITION: You know something? I felt badly for having that list about Danny in this post....because actually, each of those things are quite endearing about Danny. haha. There are cute stories & loving gestures behind each of those things I listed and they actually make me smile. I guess I was just trying to think of things that other people might not like - just to show how much power there is in our perspective.
(top image by ett horn av eden)
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