I just got back from an incredible vacation. It was beautiful. The weather was perfect. The views were stunning. We had food, drinks, love, and sun in abundance...and, I have a three year old, six painful blisters, and a headache. I'm exhausted! Isn't vacation supposed to be a relaxing experience? Yes, it is... if you can truly let go.
Before I left I would have adamantly told you I am great at letting go and relaxing. Turns out, I had some more lessons to learn! Let me explain...I had every intention of completely relaxing on this vacation (I mean, seriously...who doesn't?!). I refused to plan anything, I wanted to lay in the sun and water most of the day, and I though it would be nice to do some beach yoga and meditation. I did all of the above, by the way...and I am aware I have a three year old who is assertive and knows what he wants. He also has the ability to throw tantrums when things don't go his way, which I handle with ease (mostly). I mean, he's three. I'm teaching him to work through uncomfortable feelings and to ask for what he needs. That's my job, as a mom... to teach him shit! So, when I say I was ready to let go and relax, I mean I was prepared to help him through his own anxiety, disappointment, overwhelm...that kind of stuff.
What I wasn't prepared for was to go through the same process with my husband. Why do I have to help a grown ass man work through uncomfortable feelings? Because as I'm growing, he's growing. Because he is also struggling. Because my mission is to help people realize that their experience in life is a result of their choices. I love my husband and I have compassion for his experience. I struggle too, and I'm a grown ass woman! I am committed to helping him grow along with me, if that what he chooses. I know my growth happens fast, so if I'm frustrated he isn't there yet, that's my fucking problem, not his! Apparently that is where I am not great at letting go and relaxing. But, I did get some clarity on things so that I can continue being happy and relaxing and basically not sweat the small stuff.
Lesson 1: You have a limited number of fucks to give.
I have shed the belief that we should do things that other people expect us to do, but he isn't there yet (and may never get there).
As I go on this journey of self-exploration and self-love, I am making a lot of changes. Bless my husband's heart for rocking and rolling with me, because this shit has been like a roller coaster! Self-love has been the most incredible ride of my lifetime. Seriously. To really identify and dive off a cliff into self-exploration and love is indescribable. I mean, I'm not just talking the talk here, I'm walking the walk. It's scary as shit... and it's incredible. The ability to take a long, hard look at oneself and assess what is truly important is both hard work and strongly satisfying. Just because I have gone deeply into this process, head first, no safety vest, at a speed faster than light doesn't mean everyone else has or will. And that's okay, we all move at different speeds.
I'm thankful for this vacation and experience because it helped me uncover some of my personal frustrations and become free of them. It gave me the opportunity to ask myself, "what would make me proud?" Specifically, this ties into parenting styles. My husband and I do not see eye to eye on child rearing. I believe in love, compassion, and giving choices. I also believe parenting is about influence, not control, because we can only truly control ourselves. My husband believes in love too... and command and control. My husband is completely embarrassed and humiliated when our three year old throws tantrums, cries, or whines. I, on the other hand, expect all of the above and prepare opportunities for collaboration, choice, and yes...sometimes bribery. I am not easily embarrassed. I do not get humiliated. I attempt to meet my child's needs within reason (nothing that would hurt self or others) and my husband believes that I am "spoiling" him. He believes we must "make him tough." We have different beliefs. They are both fine. Neither one of us is trying to harm our child.
What is our shared purpose? We both want the best for our child. We both want to teach him that rules and confines of our society exist. My husband likes to stay within the confines, I prefer to push them. We both want to teach him consequences. I also want to teach him to think for himself and not just do something because "that's what we have always done" or "that's what other people expect me to do." My husband cares what other people think, what things "look like" to others, and thinks there is one acceptable way to do things (usually it's his way... but that's for another blog post). I, on the other hand, give zero fucks what people think, what things look like to others, and I'm certain there are 1,294,563,209,888,444,509+ ways to do things.
During our vacation, I found myself getting frustrated because my husband was complaining (which I lovingly call his man whine) about how our son was whining, crying, and generally displaying typical three year old behavior (which, I mentioned earlier, I was prepared for). I was ready to launch into my own inner dialogue about how it was so annoying to have to console two whiners, and then I remembered: I only have a limited amount of fucks to give if I want to remain truly happy...and none of my fucks have anything to do with pity partying with myself (I like parties, just not the pity kind)! My fucks are all about fun, freedom, connection, love, service, curiosity, and adventure. This situation did not have anything to do with any of those. If you haven't noticed, my fucks are (more appropriately called) my values. Why in the world would I focus my energy on something that didn't support my values or what is important to me? Why would I spend my precious time and focus on something that actually doesn't matter to me? How could I hone my thoughts instead to honor my own values? How could I have compassion in this situation? And that's when it hit me! I almost chose to be miserable. I almost chose to value something I don't actually deem all that important. I almost chose to be "right" instead of choosing curiosity and compassion. Ooooops!
So this, my friends, was lesson number one from my vacation. As evolved as I have become, I just keep evolving. Growth never stops, and I kind of love it that way (this is a never ending marathon and I love it)! I coach people on living their values all the time, yet, in that moment I almost stopped living my values. I almost inappropriately spent my fucks on something that doesn't support my happiness. So, I wanted to share this with you! I don't value everything! No one values everything! So Fuck it! That's what I suggest we all say: Fuck it!
I only really value what is most important to me. In order to maintain my happiness and keep my balance, I must be vigilant of my fucks. We must remember we only have a limited amount of fucks to give before our happiness is off balance and we've lost touch with the present. Because, the present is all we have and the secret to maintaining happiness is to accept what is and to assign our fucks appropriately. So, if you find yourself frustrated, pissed off, angry, sad, or any other emotion that is not leading you to be who you really are (love), assess what's at the root of that feeling. If you find whatever is at the root of that feeling is not in alignment with your values, I encourage you to say Fuck it! You have a limited amount of fucks to give, so don't waste them!
You could always live, love, and give gratitude in abundance instead. Or not. It's always your choice.