Sunday, August 12, 2007

Change is good

A few months ago I saw something on the Oprah show that really made me think. A pastor of a church in Kansas City who preached a sermon about speaking positively and the effects of complaining. At the end of his sermon he handed out some plastic bracelets to the congregation and gave them a challenge. He challenged them to wear the bracelet on their right wrist as a reminder to not complain, speak negatively, or gossip. The challenge was to go 21 days without complaining or speaking negatively thereby creating a habit of positive thinking and speech. If the member of the congregation messed up, then he or she was to move the bracelet to the other arm and start over. Apparently a large portion of his congregation have taken the challenge and have succeeded.

I was so inspired by the story of this congregation. I complain ALL THE TIME. I knew it was time to start working on it. So I got on the church's website and ordered a bracelet. (It was free!) It came in the mail a few weeks ago and I started the challenge immediately. Then I gave up after changing my bracelet to a different arm at least 5 times in about three hours. I decided to give it a little time and then start over.

Last weekend I had a little breakdown. Steve was on call the majority of the weekend and both girls were quite a handful. So when Steve came home Monday and told me that he had to study all night, I lost it. Unfortunately, Allison was the unwilling witness to my breakdown (Steve had gone to bed) and I think it frightened her. After I put her down for a nap too I had a little time to reflect. Here is what I came up with:

I have lost touch with what is really important. I've allowed myself to wallow in my "poor me" mode and forgotten all the good things I have in my life. I've also allowed myself to only focus on just getting by and I've forgotten to do the things that help me to thrive. I read something this week that reminded me that feeding myself spiritually should be my highest priority. Whether that means reading my scriptures, or taking time to really ENJOY my family, I need to take care of myself. I am truly blessed and when I feel spiritually awake and alive I can recognize my blessings. When I am not taking care of myself spiritually, I perseverate on all of my "problems."

So I've come up with some things that I can do to help myself. And I will try again with the "A Complaint Free World" bracelets in the near future. Hopefully I will be a little more successful the next time I try it.


Leslie said...

Jamie, you are amazing! In my book, you are no complainer! Not by a looong shot! Give yourself a little credit.
I had a revelation today, as I read your blog: Wives (and families) of Residents have a unique and somewhat confusing situation; i.e., we experience a loss that is not recognized by the world. But it is a real loss.
For me, I married my husband because I love him and actually enjoy being around him. We spent years building a life together and were very much partners in everything--household chores, parenting, projects, planning, playing, etc. Suddenly, he was gone ALL the time. When he was home, he was too exausted to help or participate in most activities. When he wasn't at work, he was expected to study. This was often the straw that broke the camel's back! I would get so frustrated because I needed him; I needed him to at least be present AND accessible, but it seemed even that was stolen from us.
I guess my point is that while the world may not recognize your/our loss, it is a true loss, and I think we need to allow ourselves to recognize it, and to experience the grief and mourning process.
I once heard that the only cure for grief was to grieve.
I'm here for you!

Leslie said...

I didn't mean to preach or to discourage other comments, sorry.

Rachel said...

Jamie, please call me anytime you want. I will take care of the girls or come hang out with you/help you around the house or whatever; all you need to do is call me! We are sisters and so we help each other out! :) Sometimes I like to just have company when Jesse is gone a lot too, so we can both help each other this way. Oh, and I agree with Leslie about grief. Don't feel guilty about your feelings of frustration.

Poulsen Family said...

What a goal! Man, I just ordered some for me AND Jake...he claims he never complains, but well...don't believe it.