My husband said to me this morning that he noticed I was checking my phone in the middle of the night and he wondered if that was really a healthy thing to be doing. I brushed it off. I wasn’t really checking it, it’s just that there was a notification and as I happened to be awake anyway, I quickly glanced at it to see what it was. This was the truth. But then he went on to say that he’d noticed I seemed to be pretty ‘connected’ a lot of the time and even our son had made a comment about mum and 'her phone'. A frown and furrowed brow from me. Hmmmm. I think you could be right, I said.
Although I felt a great deal of resistance to what he was saying, I knew that probably part of the reason I was resisting was because there was truth in it. The way I’d seen it was that my connection with people was important, I mean I have a blog about connection, of course it’s important! Especially when much of that connection centred around ‘important stuff’, and things I care a lot about, like my blog, my kids’ school and my role in the P&F, for example. But the truth is that I just like that stuff. I care about what I put out there and how I communicate with people about the things I care about. It’s my way of being connected to the things that matter to me, and this is a good thing … as long as it’s not to the exclusion of the other things I care about … like family.
My husband knows I like this stuff and I know I have his unwavering support - he’s my cheer squad, but he’s also my mirror. When he cared enough to point out something he could see I was probably missing, he was holding up the reflection of something I class as the most important thing, family and my role as a mother, and questioning whether I was renegotiating its priority without even knowing it. It’s easy to do with things we like, things we love and which we consider important. Time flies when you’re doing them, they creep into time meant for other things and they’re easy to justify, all without even knowing you’re doing it. Without even knowing you’re changing your priorities by your actions.
Balance and flow is important in life so we can somehow juggle our roles and responsibilities and manage our priorities. Part of achieving that flow means connecting with those special people in our lives who can hold the mirror up to the things we can’t see from our internal perspective. I can’t see a bit of parsley or a chia seed stuck in my tooth without a mirror, but the person I’m talking to probably can and they can, and hopefully do, kindly point out that it’s there despite the fact that I couldn’t detect it myself. It might be an uncomfortable moment and I bet I’d wish the stray bit didn’t lodge in the first place, but this resistance doesn’t change the fact that it’s there and now that I know about it, I have the opportunity to do something about it. So what am I going to do? Say it’s not a problem and leave it there???
It takes courage to hear and see what our mirrors are showing us sometimes and that’s usually because the mirror reflects something that’s different to the way we see ourselves. When my husband held that mirror up to me this morning, I felt a great deal of resistance because I pride myself on putting my family first - they’re the most important thing in the whole world to me. But what that mirror was showing me was that even though that priority is what I say and certainly what I believe, my actions could be telling a slightly different story. Ouch. And at the end of the day, it is our actions, what we do, that defines us.
I’m not proud to say that I needed this to be pointed out to me, but I’m willing to admit it and also glad to say I overcame that initial resistance and found the courage to look into that mirror truthfully. I’m glad I did because what I saw was a truth resistance could have blinded me to. I love writing and I love the groups I’m involved in and my roles in my communities - they bring me great joy and stimulation. I love to be involved and I love doing a job well. But my priority is my family and just because my interests feel good and are important, they’ll never top what matters most. Thankfully I was shown a mirror this morning that perhaps suggested a slightly different picture, or at least the potential to develop into a very different picture. The point is, I couldn’t see it myself, but someone close to me could and now I see more than if I was looking with my eyes only.
Make the time to do the things that are important to you, honour your priorities and commit to them fully. When you’re with that thing, or with that person, be with them fully, give them your whole attention. You can’t connect with people fully, you can’t get jobs done properly, neither can you feel the full benefit of the things that are really important to you unless you give them your best. Listen to your mirror holder-upperers, be brave enough to look and have the courage to see resistance as a sign of something you need to address.
And on that note, you may notice that this is a shorter post than usual. Well that’s no coincidence - I would love to write all day because I do love it, but have other priorities that also need my best attention ;-)
Photo credit: Mirrors from Bhaktapur, Nepal, by Sukanto Debnath via Flickr