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The Problems with Dichotomy. And a New Project.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. About everything pretty much. Life, diet, kids, husband, friends, "having a life", organization, priorities... the list is longer but you get the drift. emoticon

I have noticed something about me. Dichotomy seems to rule my life. It is so ingrained as a part of my psyche I live my life according to black and white. I know I always have because I remember my mom telling me as a kid, "you don't have to be so black and white." I think it is one of those things that is so embedded into who I am that I do it and don't realize it. It seems to be the underlying current in who I am. Seeking the gray is something that I have to do consciously. It doesn't come naturally to me.

I have also noticed that when my life becomes chaotic, it translates to how I feel internally which typically translates to my "diet". It is really kind of silly the more I think about it. Just looking back over the last couple of years, I have had such a ginormous pendulum swing that seems to go from either being very lax on my diet/fitness regime that I don't track to being very structured and having a plan set with deadlines then feeling like a failure when I don't reach my goals.

I have also noticed that I have not been as happy as I think I could and should be. That is not to say that I am unhappy, because I am happy, generally. I feel very out of control in many aspects of my life and I feel this strong urge to want to control it all and I think that also spills over in my diet thinking. That is my life. I have four kids. I run a house. Life is going to be chaotic no matter what I say or do about it or how much I whine about it.

I have come to the conclusion that I can either sit back and complain, whine, feel bad about things or I can learn to appreciate it more. Again, that is not saying that I don't appreciate what I have, because I do. I feel like I am pretty good about counting my blessings, but I need to work harder to appreciate the often times mundane day to day living that involves homework, taking kids places, menu planning, grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, bedtime routines, morning routines and working to find some time for myself in there.

It is possible. It is.

As a recommend, I picked up the book, "The Happiness Project" at the library (thanks for the recommend Jenshaines!!)

and I have been reading it and it really resonates with how I have been feeling with life in general. Not unhappy per se, just the idea of being happier than I feel right now and learning to appreciate the day to day things would be amazing.

I think if I can work on this, it will help with everything from how I feel when I wake up to how I feel about diet and such to how I feel when I shut down from the day.

Fact of the matter is this: I am in charge of running my house. Any of the stupid phrases that stands out in my mind that I remember hearing and laughing at, the one that stands out the most to me is: "ain't mama happy, ain't no one happy" The wisdom and truth behind those words is so accurate. I noticed through observation that the way I present myself and feel in the morning sets the tone for the kids and my husband and the day. If I wake up in a good mood, smiling, laughing, joking then it translates to the kids. If I am grumpy, snappy, irritable then everyone picks up on that and the kids argue more, don't eat as good of a breakfast, the little guy is more fussy, we leave the house snapping at each other then I feel guilty the entire day for being such a crabby mom and worry about how the kids day at school is. Also the statement of "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% your attitude" also rings true to me. I can make up my mind as to how I wish to internalize things, how I want my own attitude to be. Easier said than done, most days I get that. But the entire premise of this book is the author's venture into being a happier person. Setting resolutions and building on them month by month throughout the year. Making those resolutions more concrete by putting action steps behind them and finding a checks and balance system to follow through. She gives ideas on how to do individual happiness projects and I am going to take it on.


It has my brain turning at the moment to try to identify all of the things that add to the chaos in my life and how I can turn them around to be positives. I am thinking in all corners of my life from marriage to kids to self to friends to diet to house, etc.

I feel pretty excited at this prospect. I know that I am in charge of my own happiness and being able to see a way to work toward it is liberating. I already feel better. I have a list started, it is a small list but I need to go through and answer the main questions:

▪ What makes you feel good? What gives you joy, energy, fun?
▪ What makes you feel bad? What brings you anger, guilt, boredom, dread?
▪ What makes you feel right? What values do you want your life to reflect?
▪ How can you build an atmosphere of growth—where you learn, explore, build, teach, help?

There are some definite answers -- my family makes me feel good, but can also trigger anger guilt boredom and dread. I feel good about being a SAHM but also feel like I need to work to find some things that promote personal growth for mein that area because right now, going back to work is not an option. I couldn't take my youngest to daycare (not bashing anyone who does because I have done it before, I have an enormous respect for working moms emoticon it is just a choice that I have made and something that I will stand behind). I need to identify my stressors and come up with ways that I can reduce them as much as possible (coping skills). I need to find a happy medium for my diet and fitness, finding that gray area and living less by the pendulum swing, I need to unwind myself more, laugh more, smile more, complain less, argue less, nag less.

So thus launches a new project, my own happiness project. Lighting the path that I feel deep down will lead the way for me to find more gray and live less dichotomous. I feel good about it. Taking a month at a time to start working on things I wish to improve knowing that I can only improve ME but when I do it will improve a lot of the situations around me. If anything, it will improve my general outlook on things and I will be able to cope better with the idea that life just isn't perfect, there are more things that I have less control over than things taht I do, but the ONE thing that I DO have control over is me.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Interesting insight into "black and white" dichotomous thinking and behavior. Sometimes Mom's do see things. Mine always said, "You're making mountains out of mole hills." I think she had a point. Anyway..... I think you have a strong grip on your values and priorities. And getting yourself in a good place mentally is the right thing to do for yourself and everyone that is important to you. You know the airplane lesson about putting on your oxygen mask before you help someone else, which is kind of similar. There is a lot of stress and pressure on young women.......I see it on my daughters and daughter-in-law and it makes me tired just thinking of all that they have to do and are responsible for. The book you are working with sounds excellent!
    2193 days ago
  • JUSTME29
    Finding and controlling the things you can is definitely a way to bring balance and order to your life. That in turn will help you find joy. I know I'm the same way, if I'm grouchy or snippy so is everyone around me. If I'm "up" it's easier to cope and bring out the light in others.
    2194 days ago
    Happiness Project is fantastic. Love that you're embarking on your own project :)
    2194 days ago
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