Walking The Talk.

Back in April, Roger left his toiletry bag behind on a trip we took, even though while we were packing up, I had reminded him not to forget it.

When we arrived home and he didn’t have it, I knew I had two choices. I could chastise him and be angry that he was so careless and forgetful, even after I had reminded him not to forget. Or, I could put myself in his shoes, knowing that he would be disappointed not to have it, and presumably frustrated, annoyed, and likely worried that I would react with anger and frustration and a good dose of “I even reminded you!!!!”. But instead of getting upset, I hugged him. I told him not to worry about it. I noted that we had backups of everything that was in it, so it was fiiiine.

And we moved on to preparing dinner and going about our evening.

If I had become angry and frustrated with him, taking an opportunity to become self-righteous, saying something like, “I knew you’d forget! That’s why I reminded you!! I can’t believe you forgot it!!”, we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy our dinner together. Or our walk afterwards. At least not in the same way we did.

And so, in that moment when my knee-jerk reaction would be to roll my eyes, say “I told you so” and be annoyed, I simply took a deep breath and made a choice.

I remembered that he is human. And that we all make mistakes.

And I know this is so much better for my health and his. We both don’t need the spike in adrenaline and cortisol that results from periods of anger. And he doesn’t deserve to be shamed for something so incredibly inconsequential.

Now some of you may be thinking, “Are you serious? You think this is a lesson? A toiletry bag?? Wow….”

And I will answer, “Yes. It really, really is.” It is a lesson for me. Maybe not for you. But for ME, these little acts are not at all so little.

You see, I have a history of blaming and pointing fingers and deflecting as a way to preserve myself and exert my “power”. I’ve written about it before and I know I’m not unique in having these traits. Blaming someone and taking an opportunity to shame them is something that comes naturally to me.

And it is something I have spent years working on.

And by “I’ve spent years working on”, what I mean is that I have reacted poorly to many, many situations with Roger and others where–instead of choosing compassion and understanding–I have chosen shame and blame. But as with everything in life, with awareness comes an opportunity to change. So, I have been changing.

The lesson, also–for me–is to practice what I preach. How can I post, share, comment, “Don’t sweat the small stuff!” or “We may not choose what happens to us, but we get to choose how we react!” or any other of the myriad sayings that get quoted and shared and memed, if I won’t actually do the work they assign?!

And while, yes, it weaves into every aspect of life–this choosing how we react–it becomes glaringly evident within our relationships with others.

And that, for me, translates into not shaming my partner when he makes a mistake. And–like any habit–I am getting better at it with practice. It is becoming my new normal and I find myself feeling kinder, calmer and more relaxed.

Because it’s all small stuff.

And I don’t want to sweat it.

I don’t want you to, either.

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.

P.S. Do you find yourself getting upset easily? Can you try taking a breath between the feeling and your reaction–just enough to see it from above, rather than inside? It helps me. I hope it helps you, too. I would love to hear if this post served you in some way. Feel free to comment below!

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4 Comments

  • Sandi Shaughnessy

    Reply Reply June 26, 2018

    Sarah so true, we have so many choices when faced with decisions involving a reaction. No problem or the other way. It is difficult not to be aggressive and react the way we really feel vs giving the person a hug and and a solution. We do the same to ourselves at least I do! OMG how could I have forgot this, why didn’t I remember that? Human beings with lessons to learn and those lessons never cease. Thanks for the post. Awesome reminder for all of us. As my Dad used to say kill them with kindness lol. Reactions are huge in my business as well you can send a terse scolding email or a hey let’s work around a solution

    • Sarah Roberts

      Reply Reply June 26, 2018

      Absolutely. This nasty habit can find a way into any situation in life, and taking that moment between the situation and the way I react has been life-changing. Funny (not funny) that with me, I am far more generous with my compassion and understanding when it’s with those not directly connected to me. So my relationship with Roger has seen the most progress in this regard, but it transcends all relationships, too…including the one I have with myself as you beautifully pointed out. Big love to you. xo

  • Kim

    Reply Reply June 26, 2018

    Thank you for this reminder! It’s harder to take the high road and be compassionate, especially in our closest relationships (and honestly, I can’t figure out why that is)!

    • Sarah Roberts

      Reply Reply June 26, 2018

      Ah, yessss! I can be so completely understanding of other people’s mistakes, but my own and my partner’s…that’s the work. xo

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