In the midst of answering what seemed to be a simple, basic question for an online contest — “What have you finished lately?” — I turned to stone. Um. Sputter. The best I could come up with was “I guess I finished making dinner last night.” Does that count?
I took a few moments to be overwhelmed at the thought and guilty and negative towards myself. Loser. You start a million projects and have to-do lists a mile long. How often do you cross anything off?
But, then, I reminded myself of the concept I love so much that’s meming its way around the internet that essentially says, “Would you keep a friend who treats you the way you treat yourself? Who criticizes you the way you do? Then, stop it.”
I need to treat myself better. While most of the people in my life aren’t downright rude or skeptical or mean to me, I do have plenty of Negative Nellies that orbit my life. Not important people, mind you, but the ones I have been thrust into dealing with on a daily basis. The ones we often see more than our families; y’know, those people we’d REALLY like to spend 24/7 with.
And, y’know what? The ruder those folks are to me, the more silent treatments and raised eyebrows and snarkiness I receive…the kinder I am. It’s a sickness, I guess. I go out of my way to be bubbly and sweet, and, at times, fall over myself doing so. I know I’m trying to win their friendship, respect; trying to tell them “hey, don’t treat me that way, I’m nice!” But, I’m trying to break myself of this. If they deserve my kindness, they’ll receive it. I won’t reciprocate rudeness, but I won’t overindulge it with goofy grins and a spinelessly sweet attitude, either. I’m not one for “an eye for an eye”, but I won’t waste my energy if it won’t get me any place.
That being said, less negativity towards myself is warranted. I let my mind shuffle the aforementioned thought — finishing something — around for awhile. Sometimes over-thinking something only tortures us, but other times the more we think on something, the more we’re able to rationalize, minimize and accept it. I’ve recently realized that, much as with situations out of our control (the horrific ones like the Mohawk/Herkimer shootings, and the outlying but still affecting stuff like the Boston Marathon bombings), while they change our thoughts and definitely have an impact on our emotions, our brains are tossing back and forth sub-conscious (and even minutely conscious) ways of dealing with it. It may not be time that heals all wounds, but rather the human brain that works out a way to live with them. Where our bodies are amazing things that are able to heal a gash and rebuild tissue, our minds are significantly grander in their abilities to regenerate hope, love and the will to live.
What HAVE I finished? Diaper changes. Blog posts. Cat feedings. The (occasional) load of laundry. Grocery lists. Gasoline pumping. Bed making. Hair brushing. Door locking. A plethora of other seemingly insignificant things that, if we were to not achieve them, our lives would pile up on themselves and cease mattering. The cats sure as heck notice when they’re not fed. We definitely notice when we’re out of olive oil or clean underwear. Our lives consist of not just the huge life events and the weighty projects that drag on over months (and years). There are events, microscopic or mundane, that get sewn together to create our dailies.
Oh, yeah, we planned a wedding a few years ago. That was something we finished and felt incredible about achieving (heck, it was a wicked fun time!), but the marriage, the constant daily work of a marriage, is what we’re really achieving…hopefully with no real ending. There’s not always a finish line to the things that matter most. No “finishing” in marriage, kids, relationships….
I still would like to write a full-length novel. Maybe I’m just better suited to short stories.