My partner and I are celebrating Valentine’s Day this weekend, so I am still figuring out the best gift. Arielle Ford, author of “Wabi Sabi Love” came up with a fantastic idea; give your partner amnesty for the thing that you most complain, argue or harass them about, and gift them with your vow to let it go. Pick one infuriating thing they do that you are chronically annoyed or crazed by – leaving every cabinet door and drawer open in the kitchen, dirty dishes in the sink, interrupting you when you are on the phone…
The gift of letting go of annoyance and irritation is indeed a gift you give yourself. We cannot control other people’s behavior – though it is oh, so tempting to try! What we can control is our own responses, and how we create our own stress as we struggle against reality. How stressful is it to be constantly annoyed by someone’s habits that may or may not ever change? How peaceful would it be to just accept that that’s the way it is and look for the gift in it.
Arielle suggests that you imagine that their behavior exists solely to teach you how to become a more loving and compassionate person. Hard to imagine that having to close cabinet doors every time I walk into the kitchen (seriously, how many cabinets does someone really need to open, and how hard is it to remember to close them?) provides an important life lesson for me! But when I decided to let go of that one, I realized that it was. How many little things do I allow myself to be annoyed by, how many times a day do I let my stress hormones surge because someone or something is not the way I want it to be.
Here’s an interesting experiment- when you come up against things that drive you crazy in life, ask yourself ” how much stress is being upset causing me ? How much of a gift would it be to let it go? This Valentine’s week, give the gift of letting go to someone you love, and give it to yourself as well!