This will probably come as a surprise to exactly no-one, but I used to really over-complicate things (and sometimes still do). I would over-engineer solutions and spend huge amounts of time trying to get right down deep in to the specific thoughts, behaviours or actions that were causing problems. And while I believe we sometimes need to ruminate on things for a while before clarity comes knocking, other times I think we just need to simplify.
It’s always fascinating to me that I arrive back at the same handful of answers whenever I question the way I’m living life. No matter how varied the issues or problems seem, the answers I come back to are usually a variation on only a handful of ideas:
- create and respect boundaries
- we don’t exist in a vacuum and relationships are about compromise, empathy and flexibility
- we need to take responsibility for our own choices and actions
- figure out what your priorities are and put them in the centre of your life – every day
- communication is important
- being an example is one of the most persuasive forms of communication (but not the fastest!)
In today’s hostful episode, Ben and I inadvertently strike upon most of these ideas in answering your questions, and it was a great reminder to me that so many of our problems can be solved by softening, accepting, simplifying and prioritising.
The questions you’ve submitted for this month’s hostful are insightful and challenging, which is something I always look forward to, and Ben and I try our best to answer them:
- How do we manage different personality types within the family (introvert v extrovert, the needs of solitude v constant companionship, etc)?
- How do you adjust to things being out of control / out of what you had planned? And how do you regain calm / slow when life takes over?
- What to do when one of your kids is a hoarder and leaves their many belongings all over the house?
- What do you grow in your garden and what are your best tips for a serial plant killer?
- What sorts of mindful exercise do you enjoy (aside from yoga and hiking?)
- What are you reading/listening to? And what do you enjoy reading aloud to your children?
There is a lot of talk about acceptance and softening in to discomfort in today’s episode, and I think it’s a really important part of learning to live more mindfully, more slowly and more presently. Life is uncomfortable and so much of it is out of our control, and I’ve personally found that by allowing myself to feel that discomfort, the tension actually diminishes more quickly than it would if I was trying to fight it.
That’s not to say it’s easy, of course, but I do think this idea of “feel your feelings” is very worthwhile.
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