That isn't Mr. Wonderful's Valentine's gift, though. I got him something even better.
I've been struggling for some time when it comes to what to get him, as he makes more money than I do (and, therefore, buys himself the things he wants or needs), I hate cliche gifts (especially on a holiday like this), and he doesn't care about superficial things. But then I read Laura Munson's most recent column, which I shared with you yesterday. LM had introduced us to the Valentine's musings of Arielle Ford, whose work shook me to my core. This part in particular (emphasis mine):
"Decide right now to figure out how to create a new story for yourself about that thing your mate does that drives you crazy….find the beauty and perfection in it, and then GIFT them with your vow to finally let it go. Whether it’s the wet towels on the floor, the toilet seat left up, the dirty dishes in the sink, the constant texting at the dinner table, squeezing the toothpaste from the middle of the tube, forgetting to take out the trash, interrupting you when you are on the phone, or whatever transgression you have deemed unbearable.
If you are feeling really stuck, ask yourself these questions: How many more times am I willing to allow this situation to annoy me? What payoff do I get by finding fault in my partner? What does being 'annoyed' keep me from having? Where did I learn to be annoyed by other people’s behavior?
NEXT: Imagine that your mate’s annoying behavior exists solely to teach you how to become a more loving and compassionate person... Looking for the gifts is an invaluable skill in a world in which we can’t control others behavior. While our partners may never change the quirks and idiosyncrasies that we find maddening, we can change our perceptions of them. This Valentines Day make a shift from “annoyed to enjoyed” and let your beloved know..."
Long ago I read a blog entry in which this woman said that she had decided to see her mate's quirks as cute and adorable, rather than wrong or annoying. And when I read AF's ideas, I felt guilty. I know that I tend to get irritated with Mr. Wonderful for reasons that aren't compelling and that I can't do it forever. What do I get out of finding fault with him? And what does being annoying prevent me from having or enjoying? Maybe letting go of it and gifting him the reprieve would do wonders for our relationship. And even if it doesn't, it will do wonders for me as a person. For so many reasons, letting go of unnecessary irritation is one of the keys to happiness.
So, for Valentine's Day I am giving Mr. Wonderful a reprieve from the way I handle two particular things...
Other reasons to take stock and give thanks:
#409: Another great column by Laura Munson, located at Inspire Me Today. Love this:
"What is your intention? Is your intention to be happy? As much as we are quick to say, 'Of course I want to be happy,' I find that we tend to cling to our pain. That we dwell in the victim stance. And that we are daunted by...freedom. Suffering becomes, in so many cases, our normal...
Outside of right doing and wrong doing, what's there? The present moment. What is it to live in the present moment? We hear about it all the time, whether in church, or yoga practice, or athletics, or a meditative walk in the woods...but what is it like to commit to exiling those thoughts about past and future which take us out of our present moment-- moment by moment, no matter what it is that we're doing?
For me, it begs the question: what can I create? I can create my moment with the intention of bondage. Victimhood. Misery. Or I can create my moment with the intention to be free. To run wild or just wander around quietly... To be exactly who you are. And to have it be easy."
#410: This fantastic column of Nathalie's about rebuilding your self-esteem. More on this later, but for the moment you need to check it out. You'll enjoy it.
#411: Tonight Sugar unveils herself. I'm on pins and needles...