- Kerri Cummings
What do kitchen drawers and mindfulness have to do with each other? I'll tell you here.
I’ve been thinking about something today. Do kids care if your kitchen drawers are organized?
What. That IS what I’ve been thinking about. Haven’t you ever wondered? Ok, maybe it’s just me. But seriously. Do they care at all if the drawers are perfectly neat?
Do adults wind up in psychotherapy mentioning how they cannot form meaningful relationships because their mother didn't cook three warm meals a day when they were kids, or, say…scrub the bathtub with bleach and a toothbrush on her knees? Do they?
Or, just maybe...do they care if their mom makes them feel warm and fuzzy? Or if their mom teaches them things like independence and responsibility? Or, might they care if their mom not only tells them how great they are but also role-models for them how we are all on this earth for a reason? Or, perhaps they might care more about how their mom taught them that they are important parts of society, parts that are not just put on this earth to clean out the dishwasher, but maybe to achieve things, help others, contribute to society in some other way (and this doesn't have to be through some full-time job, by the way, so don't get all debate-y on me, ok?)?
I was just wondering. As I mentioned in my last post, I am kind of a perfectionist. Ok, I am not just “kind of” a perfectionist. I try to do it all. I want to be the perfect mom, the perfect student, the perfect writer, the perfect friend, the –oh, you get the picture. Don’t get me wrong. I fully realize that ALL of us are trying to do our best. We are ALL trying to be the best moms, colleagues, friends, daughters, bikini body (enter here the eye-roll emoji, because I can’t even write that without rolling MY eyes), etc. that we can be. I also fully realize that I am not actually perfect. Oh, boy, do I realize that. I realize that my kitchen drawers are actually a ridiculous mess. I’m serious, guys. You should see them. (Ok, you should NOT see them… In fact, if you’re ever at my house and I happen to reach for the handle of one of my drawers, do yourself a favor, and LOOK AWAY!!!)
And, I realize that my kids might eat tortellini for lunch a little too often. And I realize that I still have not hung up that picture in my son’s room. Ok, already. I am not perfect.
But I AM a perfectionist, as we’ve already established. So, therefore: perfectionist, but not perfect. What a conundrum.
So, here’s a little math problem for you:
Perfectionist + Not Perfect = _____________________
Anyone know the answer to that?
(Answer: Complete and constant feeling of inadequacy.)
(Alternative answer: Some might feel above mentioned answer PLUS being of jealous of other moms who seem to BE PERFECT.)
In more fancy math terms: P + NP = I + J
(Ok. I just made that up. And, I suck at math… whatever.. Just go with it, ok?)
I think you know where I’m going with this. We are all screwing it up somehow. Some of us might be neat and orderly, but suck in other areas. It all equals out in the end. This is the key equation, and major point of this wordy post:
Look around you. Really look. Maybe take pause at all of those judgmental thoughts in your head about that mom friend, neighbor, or acquaintance (You know damn well you judge them; don't lie...), and question the CORRECTNESS of those thoughts. Try to connect with others and you will find that everyone is trying their best and totally failing at perfection.
Connecting with others requires that you ask questions, listen and be open to what is being said.
This is called MINDFUL LISTENING.
Mindful listening means to let people freakin’ talk.
Don’t sit there and think of what YOU’RE going to say next while the other person is talking.
Literally, don’t hardly even say, “Hm”. Just be quiet and LISTEN.
Oh, and really pay attention to your thoughts while you're listening. If you find yourself judging what you're hearing in any way at all, tell your mind to shut it.
Repeat/summarize what the person just said. Say things like, “So what I heard you say, is that you feel….”
Let them talk and trust that they will know the answer to their own problem.
Got it? Just be quiet.
By now, you might be wondering how I got from kitchen drawers to mindful listening.
So am I.
(What?! I'm just being honest!)
But that’s my new blog thing, people. Just writing. Remember? If you don’t remember, go read this post.
You are NOT perfect and you never will be. So stop expecting it from everyone else too.
NO ONE IS PERFECT even if they seem like it.
The way to really feel that, is to connect with others on a human level.
One way to connect is to LISTEN MINDFULLY.
Be mindful, be flawed, be human, be alive!