I have been thinking a lot lately about how a slight shift in mindset can make a world of difference every day. They are things like having an attitude of gratitude, choosing happiness, living intentionally, and embracing the moment. For me one of the most powerful of these is the idea of letting go - which is what I'd like to write about now.
It is simple things like the way you think and feel when you don't get much done in your kitchen over the weekend because you're out a lot, organising other aspects of your home, spending time with family. Usually in circumstances like this I'd end up thinking, "it got out of control" or "I can't manage this" and consequently feel guilty for not getting it done as well as helpless to get it back under control. Instead I can now look at it and say, "I let it go". That is more accurate anyway, but it also empowers me to take charge of everything again and find someway, amidst child rearing and what ever other things I may have committed myself to, to catch up on things.
It has also been a great blessing to let go of the need for things to be perfect before I can be happy or to live up to an ideal that I used to have and thought was oh so important... and in the process recognise that I have so much joy now and begin to focus on the things that do actually matter.
I've also let go of my... unenthusiastic attitude toward messy children's activities - Natalie has had a lot of fun painting and doing paper mache in the kitchen over the past few days... during which time I reminded myself countless times, "that's why we're doing this on tiled floors with washable paint" or "it's just flour and water, flour and water, flour and water" haha! Ok, so I'm still working on the 'letting go' as far as that is concerned.
I've also let go of a lot of things to do with my children's behaviour. I've done a lot of parenting classes (hey, if everyone else can do career development stuff I might as well - this job is the most important one I've ever had!) and learnt a lot about the way children learn, make sense of the world around them, that they need us to help them regulate their emotions and cope with things that are overwhelming to them (and in time be able to do that more independently) and basically that all behaviour has meaning. All of that could take up several blogposts though, so perhaps another time. In any case, it has helped me to let go of certain expectations related to their behaviour.
I've also learned to let go of other peoples expectations of me. If I can't please everyone, such as life. If I'm doing what is best for my family and putting in my time where it really counts - then I am doing fine by me!
For me, letting go has been like water to thirst. :-)
Change what you can. Accept what you can't. Let go.