For a big part of my life, like 90 percent ever since I was able to evaluate my values, I’ve (almost) always gone to bed with this haunting feeling of regrets.
I regret my unfruitful day, the things I wanted to do but were undone, or the things I shouldn’t do and yet it seems that I spent the biggest percentage of my day doing those particular things. Sometimes I regret all the dirty dishes in the kitchen, I couldn’t sleep because I know tomorrow morning I will have this sick feeling in my stomach to face the dirty kitchen along with the roaring arguments of my hungry children. Or I regret that I didn’t read any good books, and yet spend literally hours watching silly nonsense short movies on Facebook. Or I regret that my step count is far cry from 2000, where I target myself to reach at least 10000 per day. I regret why I let my phone allure myself to keep staring at him for hours – and I start to have headaches and feel distress of too much blue light and unimportant information attacking my brain, and yet, I can’t stop staring! I regret why I don’t set any time to pray, or to read any Bible part for my children. I regret why I let them on the screen for too long, and walk on my ugly path instead of growing to be better children I have hoped to be.
These regrets haunt me at night and refrain me from sleeping, and I become even more agitated and start to blame any single person beside myself on why I was not able to reach those goals I wanted to do. Like why the children always behave poorly, why they are so demanding, why I need to accompany my daughter to sleep and hear her complaints while I actually can do something more useful. But in reality, even when she falls asleep early, I wouldn’t start to do those in my good list, and keep coming back to my bad list.
Recently, as one of the lame “New Year Resolutions” I made a target to read good BOOKS (not FaceBOOK). I’m currently reading a book titled Mindshift by Barbara Oakley, and there she presented someone (Adam Khoo) who managed to turn his life from less to good. And this person mentioned that one of the methodes he’s been using is by “Reframing”: to create a different way of looking at a situation, person or relationship by changing its meaning. Or to express a concept, a plan, words, differently.
I find this very interesting and highly applicable in my situation, because I do realize that I often feel trapped in a negative feeling about situations or my children and I use those feelings as excuses of not doing the good things, and instead doing the bad things.
“My children are loud and obedient, they make me waste my time by instructing them 100 times for those super simple things they should be able to do in one order”.
“My children sucks all my energy and turn me into a ball of frustration and anger”.
“My husband is not cooperative and it takes so much energy to make him do anything – basically he acts just like my children and I hate it”.
And all kinds of reasons that I can use so I would rather stick my eyes on my screen instead of picking up the dirty plates on the table.
But now as I read this chapter in my daughter’s bed and later decided to go down and clean the house so I could reduce a bit of my late night regrets – I remembered this Reframing thing and thought that perhaps I just love to work without my kids running around me. And actually there’s nothing wrong about it. Like half of the sane parents all around the world would prefer to do their works without disturbance from their kids – or anything. I guess some go to bed feeling angry about the annoying kids, and the other half of the population make an active choice of (actively) putting their kids to bed early so they could enjoy the quietness and do their work peacefully.
I was actually surprised how “easily” the reframing works and changed this heavy problem of mind. I started to picture things I could do to lessen the late night regrets – by having a fruitful day (of course!) provided that I start the day better with a less messy house and clean kitchen. I told myself that tomorrow I will allow myself to lead the children to bed early even though the house is still not perfect because I could always go back downstairs and work on it – because I just love to work “alone”. I told myself that instead of feeling angry that they stop me from working by asking for a thousand bits of my attention, I would just follow the flow and use that time to enjoy them and stop worrying about the dirty dishes because I know I could do it at night. I told myself to do my laundry at least 20 minutes a day while they’re sleeping – I won’t be able to finish them in one time but it will lessen the load and I will be less stressed to see the mountain turn to hills. I told myself to wake up earlier and pray, enjoy my time, read the Bible, instead of waking up late and later hate every family member when they need breakfast and I don’t feel like doing it.
Funny, he! Not that I didn’t know all those things. But still I’m grateful that there’s one night I’m being reminded to change my negative perspective and find a solution to my problems instead of circling around in them.
Nou, I’m glad I’m taking time to write all this, but now it’s time to do my laundry in the washing machine and fold a bunch of t-shirts and go to my pillow with so much less regret 😀