Thursday, January 31, 2013

Week 3 and 4 of Non-Judgmental January

Week three has been a trying week for me.  The goal was to stop my critical thoughts in their tracks and replace them with positive thoughts.  This worked well for me in some instances; typically in the less "intense" situations.  Other times when I was more worked up, I caught myself thinking things like, "Jeez!  What a ____.  STOPSTOPSTOPSTOP.  Something positive... ok, she's got great hair.  She's a ______, but she's got great hair."  Not ideal.  Did you have this problem too?

Sometimes I could stop my negative thoughts by sorting through what I imagined to be their thought process, or simply by giving them the benefit of the doubt.  Sometimes I would have a little fun and make up situations for them... I know, I'm a nut.  Maybe the guy at the front of the line in the coffee shop is taking forever to pay because his five year old took all of the money out of his wallet and replaced it with shredded toilet paper and pencil shavings.  Ha!  What parent wouldn't feel at least a little sympathy for him?  That lady speaking loudly on her cellphone at the table behind me in the restaurant?  Oh, she's probably just talking to her half-deaf uncle.  And what about that person who cut me off on the highway on my way to work, and then proceeded to drive 5 miles below the speed limit?  He's in a hurry to get somewhere, but there's a bomb wired to his engine (Sandy and Keanu forever!  My brother will get that reference), so he can't go above 53.  If you can't tell, I had a good time with this one.

If that didn't work, it was time to go to my last resort.  Remember in my last post when I said the people I judge tend to be the people I don't know?  I used this to my advantage.  I think I'm less likely to judge my friends and my family because I know about their struggles, and I love and care deeply for them.  I'm more compassionate and forgiving of their shortcomings because I know that I, too, am human and will inevitably fail them at some point.  Any time I find myself unable to shake my negative thoughts about a stranger (or acquaintance), I picture one of my loved ones in their situation.  Maybe it's one of my best friends, or my brother.  If that doesn't do the trick, imagine your mom, or break out the big guns and picture your grandma.  Nobody can hate on grandma!  Once I've got myself straightened out, I remind myself that this stranger is human, just like the ones I love so much, and they will struggle and ultimately fail.  And they have the right to, just as much as you or I do.

I do have one last tip, before Non-Judgmental January is officially over.  I've found it's important to be careful about the company you keep.  Did you know that you become most like the five people you spend the most time with?  I heard that somewhere.  I don't know if it's true for everyone, but I have noticed that in looking back at different chapters of my life, it tends to hold up.  When you surround yourself with supportive and caring people, you work to become more supportive and caring.  Likewise, if you surround yourself with people who are negative and judgmental, you're more likely to pick up their behaviors or attitudes.  And, if you're like me, you're probably more worried that they're judging you or talking about you behind your back.  Not really the best people to fill your life with, if you ask me.

I hope you've had a great January.  How are you doing with your own resolutions?  Coming up in February, I'll tell you all about my struggles and progress (mostly struggles though) with Insanity.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Week 3, a little late

I'm sorry for my absence over the last week.  Believe it or not, we were without internet for a whole week!  Before you start to worry about me, I'll tell you that I wasn't completely disconnected from the cyber world, I did still have my iPhone.  I just wasn't about to try to type up a blog post on it and end up on some website for the "20 funniest autocorrect fails," or "15 most embarrassing autocorrects."  

The ironic thing is that I had this post typed up last Saturday, before our internet went down on Sunday.  I decided to wait to post it because Saturday was still technically part of week 2.  Since we are in week 4 (and since the title "Non-Judgmental January" doesn't really work in February), I'll be doing two posts this week.  

So, without further ado, here is last weeks post.
Week 2 of Non-Judgmental January has almost come to an end, have you done your homework?  Don’t worry, I won’t be quizzing, I’m just wondering if you’ve been following along with me. 
After this week, I can tell you that I’ve definitely found a trend.  I tend to judge in two situations:
1.)    I don’t understand why the person is doing what they’re doing.  I think I can do it a better way, what they’re doing seems pointless to me, or I think I know better.  These are usually the situations in which I would say something like, “That’s stupid,” “Why would you do that?” or “That makes no sense to me.”
2.)    I envy that person in some way, shape or form.  They might be in better shape than me, or maybe they’re living a lifestyle I wish I could live.  Rather than dealing with my jealousy, it’s easier for me to find something about them and pick it apart.  I think this stems from my avid quest to prove everyone who ever said “life isn’t fair” wrong. 
Confessing this to all of you is probably the hardest thing I’ve done yet.  Am I proud of these things?  Absolutely not.  Pretty ugly, if you ask me.  But, I have a clear idea of what I need to work on, and that’s what next week is about.
Next week, the goal is to stop our nasty thoughts as soon as they pop into our heads.  Rather than reveling in them and making ourselves feel better, we’re going to snap our attention to something else.  Easier written than done, right? 
The best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a new, better habit.  Every time I start to get all high and mighty, I’m going to stop myself and find something positive about that person to focus on.  What if it’s someone you don’t know?  It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the person, find anything you can.  Maybe he’s got a great head of hair, or maybe she’s got a great sense of style.  *It’s almost always someone I don’t know… I’ve found I don’t really judge the people I know, probably because I’m more understanding of their lives and their struggles.* 
The goal here is to find the positive, and focus on that.  Glass half-full, okay? 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Is it Friday yet?

Today was not an easy day.  Who am I kidding?  This week has not been an easy week.  Today was just (hopefully) the peak.  Tomorrow we’ll be on the downhill slide, right?

First, let me start by saying that I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for single parents.  Fathers, mothers, grandparents, guardians, all of them.  It doesn’t matter who you are; if you can do it on your own, I tip my (hypothetical) hat to you (I can’t really pull off hats in real life).

This week has been an exercise in humility for me.  For those of you who didn’t know (and let’s be honest: if you’re reading this you’re either my mom or my grandma, so yes, you did know.  Hi mom!), I started a new job on Monday.  That, in itself, was a pretty big deal.  I was leaving behind all of my professional career experience and diving into something completely new and unknown.  I was excited, nervous, hopeful, and completely freaked out.  I hate being the new person; from having to ask where the bathroom is to waiting it out to learn all of the little idiosyncrasies of the office, being new is hard.

Last week, as I was saying my goodbyes and doing the ol’ victory lap at my old job, my dearest Tots reminded me that this was the week he was going to be out of town for training.  All.  Week.  Long.  Now, I can’t be angry with him.  He had scheduled this training long before my new job even came about.  It was just really poor timing.  Either way, I put on a smile (ok, so it might have been more of a forced grimace) as I saw him off on Sunday afternoon, and told myself that this first week at a new job and as a “fake single mom” was going to be just fine.

For the most part, it has been ok.  If you do a body count, we’re all here.  Everyone has all of their fingers and toes, Dexter hasn’t consumed anything poisonous or impassable (to my knowledge), and O has had healthy breakfasts and suppers and plenty of mommy-time.  My to-do list for the week sits on the counter, with only one thing (of about 15) checked off, but I gave up on it after Monday night.

All in all, it was going well.  Just a few minor mishaps and a lot of dirty dishes… until this morning.  Last night was a totally normal night.  8:00 hit, O and I brushed his teeth, read a story, said prayers, and sang his lullaby.  I kissed his shaggy little head and put him down in his crib, to hear nothing from him again until this morning.  He started stirring around 6:30, but fell back asleep for a while (score!  I love those mornings when I can get ready without having my makeup drawer emptied and handed to me piece by piece!).  Around 7:15, I went in to wake him up, only to be greeted by an all-too-familiar, unwelcome scent.  Turning the lights on confirmed it: throw up. 

Let me stop right here and mention that I’m not the designated puke-cleaner-upper in my home.  I can handle poop-duty, snot wiping, mud smearing, and slobber-dripping.  I can clean candle wax out of the carpet or mystery-mess off of the couch, but puke is my true weak point.  Tots, bless his heart, is your man if you’ve got a puke incident.  The guy has a steel stomach.  He does the puke, I can do anything else; I think it was written in our marriage vows. 

I don’t say it often, so I guess it’s a big deal that I’m putting this in writing for everyone to see (Tots, if you only read one of my blog posts, it probably better be this one).  I’m a lucky lady to have as much help from my husband as I do.  This week has opened my eyes to the fact that I can do it on my own, but it really sucks.  And the “it” that I do on my own is much, much smaller than the “it” that I can do when Tots is here to help out.

From little things, like unloading the dishwasher or taking care of the garbage on garbage day, to big things, he’s a pretty good guy to have on my team.  I know I’m not the only one who has missed him.  Dex has been anxiously pacing, whining, and barking at the slightest sounds (burglars, beware) and O has been pointing at the tv remote and asking for Daddy.  I know when he walks in the door, O will grin and run to him with his arms outstretched, and Dex will wag his entire body (boxers apparently are incapable of wagging just their tails) and run circles around his feet.

I think I’ll show him how much I missed him by leaving a huge stack of dishes in the sink and an overflowing trash can in the garage.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Non-Judgmental January: Week 2

Hello friends!

How was the first week of non-judgmental January?  Mine was rough.  The purpose of week one was to make us aware of our thoughts.  Maybe you didn’t realize how often you were judgmental, or maybe if you’re like me, you make rude comments in your mind about people (no?  I’m the only one who does that?).  Either way, this last week was eye-opening for me.  Hopefully it was for you too.

The goal for this week is to continue to identify when we are being judgmental, and to look for the reason behind it.  I know often when I think negatively about someone, it’s usually because of an insecurity I have.  Depending on the situation, it could be that I’m jealous or maybe I’m less-than-pleased with myself in one way or another.  Does that make sense?

Our minds are extremely capable, powerful machines.  Whether you realize it or not, you are a pro at rationalizing your views to yourself.  We don’t like to feel off-kilter or ill-at-ease with ourselves.  Sometimes if we’re feeling bad about some area of our life, when we see someone who is exceling in that area, we throw a little dirt at them to make ourselves feel better.

I have several examples.  I might be insecure about my body and my physical appearance.  When I see a woman who not only looks great, but is also confident enough to show it off, I might judge her for how she dresses (“Put some clothes on, ya hussy!”).  Although I might not be jealous of what she’s wearing (you wouldn’t ever catch me wearing a see-through top or—gasp/gag—tights as pants), I probably am jealous that she feels comfortable enough in her own skin to wear it.

I encourage you to dig a little deeper (thanks, Shaun T.) this week, and find out what’s behind your negative thoughts about others.  Good luck, and keep me posted!.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The game where nobody wins.

How many people can we fit into the smallest room in the house?

It's a little game we play here in the Hurricane household every morning while Mommy tries to get ready for work.  I'm putting on my makeup or fixing my hair, Tots is fighting his way to the sink to brush his teeth, O is standing at my feet, opening up drawers and pulling out all of my makeup and handing it to me, and Dex is sitting by the toilet, gently reminding us that he hasn't had his breakfast yet.

Does this happen at your house too?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Non-Judgmental January: Week 1 Update

Well, we’ve made it to Wednesday.  Wait for me, Friday.  I’m almost there!

Are you following along with me in non-judgmental January?  If so, you know that the baby step for this week is to identify our judgmental behaviors.  How are you doing so far?

I officially started paying attention Tuesday.  I’m proud to say I didn’t judge anybody at all… the first hour of my day.  Upon arriving at work (the parking lot, not even in the building yet!), that changed quickly.  And then, of course, I had to stumble upon this gem.  Yes, that is 43 People You Won’t Believe Actually Exist.  Why, why did I have to click on that?  Immediately, I’m thinking to myself, “What the hell has to happen to you in your life to make you think that is a good idea?”  Some of the photos are just downright scary.  See?  There I go again.  I can’t contain myself.

If you read about my resolutions, you already know that I started Insanity on Sunday.  Ouch.  They don’t call it Insanity for nothing.  I think Shaun T. should be put in an asylum, or something.  Not ironically, “Insanity Asylum” is the next workout from Beachbody.  I will not be taking part in that.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll die before the next 56 days are over.  They’ll put it in my eulogy, and everyone will use me as an excuse to be overweight and unhealthy.  “Did you hear about Jessie?  I heard she died from working out too hard.   Better stay outta the gym.  And maybe eat an extra handful of potato chips, just to be safe.”

So I might be exaggerating, but really, it’s tough.  After the third time Shaun told me to “dig deeper” (His key phrase, I’m assuming.  Much like Tony Horton being so damn “happy” in P90X.), I gave him the finger and told him to shove it.  What the hell, Shaun?  I'm digging as deep as I freakin' can.  I’m a peach when I work out, obviously.  Today was "Cardio Recovery" day, and it was a welcome "break."  I still sweat like a (insert cliche of choice here), but it was nice to not feel like my heart was going to jump out of my chest.

How are your resolutions going?  Are you taking part in non-judgmental January?  

Monday, January 7, 2013

Non-judgmental January: Week 1

Happy Monday!  Ugh, I hate it when people say that.  Such a huge contradiction in two small words.  Oh well, its Tuesday somewhere, right?

Today marks the beginning of non-judgmental January for me.  Hopefully I convinced you in my last post to tag along with me as I make my way through this month’s resolution.

We judge things all the time and we make decisions based on our judgments.  Some of these judgments are helpful, like picking out the best fruit at the grocery store or deciding whether to take your meds for the day (hint: the answer is always yes).  We’re working on getting rid of the not-so-helpful ones.

This week, we’re starting out with the basics.  All we’re going to do is begin making ourselves more aware.  Every time you catch yourself thinking something mean or judgmental about another person, keep track of it.  Go ahead and write it down, or if you’re as good at mental images as I am, take a mental picture.  You may not even realize you’re doing it, as I often don’t.

Alright friends, my lunch break is almost over.  It’s time for me to go take inventory of how many rolls of toilet paper Dexter has consumed in this brief time (Seriously, he’s an addict.  It’s probably time to stage an intervention).  Let me know how you’re doing with the challenge in the next couple of days, and I’ll keep you in the loop on my progress too.