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Whining While Dining

Mar 022013

Having lunch in my local cafe the other day, I overheard a slightly frazzled and grumpy-looking woman complaining to her friend about how infuriating her partner is. “Every time I ask him not to stack to wine glasses upside-down on the cupboard shelf, and he STILL does it”, she exclaimed indignantly.
It set me thinking about how much of our lives are consumed by trivialities, and how we often let the ‘little things’ escalate into big deals, for no good reason. ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’, goes the saying, and it’s something we could all do with remembering from time to time!
Often, there’s no such thing as the ‘right way’ to do something – there’s only your interpretation of it. We’re all probably just as annoying as everyone else, and the more intolerable you are of someone else’s habits, the more intolerable you probably are to them! What’s key here is acceptance, and it’s a habit worth practicing. So here are a few simple methods to play with:
Watch your thoughts: Sometimes we slip into judgement without even realising we’re doing it. So pay closer attention to your thoughts, and try to direct them to a less judgemental, more accepting place whenever you realise you’re judging someone’s behaviour, getting irritated or annoyed, or feeling like your expectations are not being met.
Avoid ‘right’ and ‘wrong’: The world is not always black and white. It’s often many shades of grey. The more we label things as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ the more we suffer.  Find a new perspective and try to see the situation from a different angle.
Stop judging yourself: Often, over-judgement of others comes from an inability to accept yourself. When we put pressure on ourselves to be perfect, we often pass that on to others and have unrealistic expectations of them. Accept yourself warts and all, and look for the beauty in imperfection!
Put yourself in their shoes: When you’re feeling frustrated by someone’s behaviour, ask yourself how you’d feel if the situation was reversed. The woman in the cafe could have considered how her partner may have viewed her way as the ‘wrong’ way – but instead just chose to overlook it.
Communicate: Good communication goes a long way to defusing tension – but staying silent only leads to passive aggression or overreaction. Perhaps if the woman chose to talk sensibly to her partner, they could have agreed to both stack their glasses the ‘wrong’ way now and again to show flexibility and compromise, leaving more space to focus on the important stuff in their relationship!
We all have the power to choose either judgement or acceptance. Acceptance means allowing feelings to be there as they are, then letting them go without resistance, judgement, or making them bigger than they need to be. Whenever you’re challenged in this area, travel the path of acceptance and start enjoying greater peace and joy in your life.
In love and light, Taranga

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