What do you detest and/or resent in others? What gets under your skin and just really annoys or frustrates you? Personally, I dislike it when others tell me they will do something and then they don’t. Almost immediately, I get on my high horse and condemn and judge them for being either lazy or irresponsible or both. I also tend to be pretty critical when things don’t turn out exactly as I like them, putting a kink in
my perfectly-laid-out plans. I can be especially critical if my closest loved ones don’t follow through or they make a mistake. For example, if my kids prepare a recipe for dinner and they don’t follow my instructions and make a mistake, I have a hard time letting it go without first saying a little snide remark, “Well, did you remember me telling you that?”
At least I catch myself doing this much more quickly and correct my behavior. You’ve probably heard it said that whatever we don’t like in someone else is probably a trait that we have (even if on rare occasions we display it) not accepted within ourselves. I’ll take it a step further and reinforce what is taught in A Course in Miracles. Whenever we participate in any behavior towards ourselves or others, whether it’s negative or positive, we strengthen it within ourselves. This was pretty scary from my viewpoint of
being critical and complainy at times. I certainly don’t want to strengthen this trait, but that’s exactly what I was doing. I want others to know me as kind and loving and giving, INCLUDING my family. I’m humbled to tell you that my immediate family describes me this way, “My Mom/Wife is one of the most giving people to others that we know, and we love and appreciate her very much. She’s always helping others,
and she’s there for us when we really need her. She’s very, very busy, and we don’t know how she juggles so much. She is really good at helping us with our problems and pointing us in the right direction.
She is a health fanatic, always concerned about what we eat and what she eats. She is very disciplined and productive. Even though she may get good report cards from God, she really hasn’t learned how to relax and enjoy life. She doesn’t know how to play. We know she loves us, but she doesn’t always have much time for us. We wish she’d be more light and happy and play with us more. Sometimes her
priorities seem mixed up, and she seems tired and grouchy. We miss her!” So I had to get real honest with myself.
How much joy do I have in my life? I’d say I’m pretty serious and intense. I’m not real good at joy. I do enjoy certain things in my life, like making and having dinner with my family, watching a good movie from start to finish, reading, writing, dancing, getting a monthly massage, being outdoors on a beautiful day, the fall time and sitting around a warm campfire, the seasons, decorating my home with seasonal crafts, watching the beautiful lights on a Christmas tree, sipping hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day, lovingly carressing my dog and looking in his eyes, really bonding with my children during our annual vacations and throughout the year, going on trips with just my husband in the spring and fall and enjoying a nice glass of wine and really connecting, the feeling I get after sweating a ton and working my butt off after a bikram yoga class.
I could go on and on. After making this list, I realize I do have a lot of joy in my life overall, but it’s not my daily theme. I think a good gauge of how successful we are is how much joy do we have in our daily lives? Now that I’m aware that I want more joy in my life, I can take action steps to make that happen. What is your joy barometer, and how can you improve it? And remember. Be careful what you criticize in others.
You are strengthening that trait in yourself. Ouch!
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Peace & Blessings,