When I went to my aunt’s seminar a couple weeks ago, we were asked to complete an exercise. We were to write five choices for each of the following: people you love, things you like to, body parts, things you value, and values you admire. Then we were told a story. During the course of this story, we were asked to cross things off our list. It was easy to see that the longer this went on, the more anxious people got. It became harder and harder. I can’t speak for other people, but I started to freak out thinking about what I could afford to get rid of next.
Pretty soon, we only had three things left on our list. These are the things that we thought the most vital. I’d given up my mouth (can eat through a feeding tube and write what I want to say) and writing had recently been cut. Staring down at the final three, it was hard not to feel sadness at what was lost, yet relieve to still see your absolute essentials.
“Cross off your final three,” the speaker said in a quiet voice. I felt an almost crushing sadness at this. It was painful crossing them out. Even though this was just an exercise, it was difficult to do.
I’m introspective person. I always have been. I am all about evaluating yourself & your motivations, questioning whether something is a need or a want. This is necessary to keep everything from becoming a need, from getting selfish and thinking it is all about us and anything less than perfection is beneath us, but this…this is where the rubber meets the road.
How high is your relationship with your significant other on the list? God? Your children? Your friends?
But let’s talk about some a little less panic inducing. Let’s focus on those other lists we keep. If you’re single, you have a list of things you want in a mate (conscious and concrete, aka written down, or not). If you are married, I’m sure you can think of things you’d like to improve in your relationship. You may even have a list of ways to improve your spouse. We have list of ways we can make our lives better, or things we want to do before we die.
My suggestion to you is this: write those things down, and get rid of all but the three most important. Then work on bringing them about. If having a mate that has a sense of humor makes the cut, nurture your funny bone by taking in a comedy show or improv night; you may meet a guy with a good sense of humor, and even if you don’t, someone made you laugh. If you want to have better communication with your mate, read the previous entry with the counselor on communication and practice implementing. Some of the techniques described. Make concrete plans to cross something off your bucket list.
The main takeaway from this exercise (which was, by the way, a session on grief) was to realize the value of the things we say are important to us before we lose them.
Share some of your list items in the comments section or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.