For most of the past 18 Christmases, the special day was celebrated at my sister’s house. Although not so much the biggest fans of dinner parties, my sister and brother-in-law would host the Christmas Day lunch as they had the biggest house to accommodate both sides of the family. Lunch was traditionally the good ole Aussie BBQ with a touch of side salads and variety of cold meats and the like – the usual fare that would leave you thankful for wearing pants or skirts with elastic waistbands. Cleaning up was always the “fun” part and that was another good reason to have the luncheon at my sister’s since they have a dishwasher (I, on the other hand, AM the dishwasher). My sister has two pieces of household machinery that she swears she cannot live without: the washing machine and the dishwasher (I suppose you could say the refrigerator is pretty important too but if the fridge dies you could just eat out). So it came as no surprise that she went into hyper-crazed mode when her dishwasher died just before Christmas a few years ago.
That year, I spent Christmas Eve at my sister’s and she suddenly proclaimed: “My God! My God! Why have you abandoned me?” Now, I have to point out that I am from a pretty spiritual and religious family, so for her to say that was pretty serious (for the non-Christians who may not be familiar with this phrase, these were the words uttered by Jesus Christ at his Crucifixion)! So I stopped and reminded her that there were people in the world who were homeless or had no family to celebrate Christmas with and that a broken-down dishwasher would be the least of their worries!
OK, so enough of picking on my sister (after all, she is probably reading this right now!). We have all been guilty of losing perspective on things happening in our lives – forgetting about our own blessings and feeling like the world is caving in around us at the slightest mishap. Exaggerating our bad experiences and turning them into insurmountable disasters is not unique and very easy to do. I am, by no means, a saint when it comes to over-dramatising my dilemmas.
One of my worst offences is when I let things that go badly at work affect me outside of the workplace. I would stress, get grumpy (or as my family would say, grumpier) and my level of tolerance would drop to near-zero. But then, when the tears have stopped and I have alienated all my friends and family and I am left with nothing but talking to myself on Twitter, I take a deep breath and I repeat to myself “I’m not trying to cure cancer here!” Unless, of course, your job IS to cure cancer, in which case, it just might be an insurmountable disaster you are facing (oops)!
Oftentimes, you learn the hard way that the things that are getting you down are doing so because you have lost perspective of what is important. I have said before that we can only work with things that are within our own control and not those outside of it. So when others are annoying us, it is easier to change your own attitudes than to change theirs (doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try – I’m just saying your first step is to alter your own actions). So if the dishwasher has broken down, think about those who are not fortunate enough to have a plate to eat from. And if someone at work is annoying you or making bad decisions, think about whether your reaction/attitude/behaviour is giving them half the grief as they are giving you…chances are they aren’t even thinking about you, so why waste your positive energies on them? Easier said than done…yes, I know…and believe me when I tell you I blog to remind myself always to keep things in perspective and that they are never as bad as I think they are.
So as we near the end of the Chinese Year of the Tiger and look forward to the Year of the Rabbit, let us keep in mind that things are only ever as bad as you let them be and let’s keep the smiles coming! 🙂 And if all the positive talk doesn’t help…I just turn on White Collar and enjoy the ride!
Toodles and go spread the love! xox