My 2014 Epiphany
There was one moment in September when I needed to make a choice. Honestly, I can’t recall what that situation was. It’s all a blur to me. But what I do remember was that exact moment when clarity rose above chaos. My heart quieted my brain and simply whispered, “What’s the more loving thing to do?”
Since that September epiphany, I’ve been using that question as a compass when I’m faced with two dilemmas: (1) when I have absolutely no idea what to do, or (2) I’m tempted to do the less loving thing.
Here’s an example. I’m super tired after work, but my son asks me to play Pluto in the Lego town he has set up in between blankets and pillows. All I want is to curl up in bed and play a game of Plants vs. Zombies until I fall asleep (the equivalent of shutting off my brain after office). So I’m there in my pajamas, my iPhone in one hand and a lego block with Pluto’s head in the other. That’s when the question comes up. What’s the more loving thing to do?, I ask myself. If you answer play with Pluto, you’re partially right. What I’ve learned in this whole loving thing is that you should also learn to love yourself. So what happened that moment (and similar moments in the future) was this: I played Lego with my son. When he was beginning to act like a zombie because he was sleepy, I put him to bed then played Plants vs. Zombies. My son will come first, but that doesn’t mean I scrimp on my own end-of-the-day reward too.
The question applies not only to the more loving thing you can do for others, but also to the more loving thing you can do for yourself. It’s so easy to play martyr and victim to a lot of situations, especially when things don’t seem to go your way. So the more loving thing to do is for you to stand up and move, to make a choice, make way for action.
Here are more concrete examples of how the question has helped me have a more loving way of living:
- I leave our room as neat and cared for as I can. No more toys to be picked up tomorrow or towels that are haphazardly flung on the bathroom rack. The more loving thing to do is to leave the room neat and welcoming for whomever uses it next, whether it’s another family member or yourself.
- I am more open to my husband’s choices. This comes up a lot in room design. My husband likes things organized a particular way, and it’s sometimes opposed to how I want things organized. It. Is. Challenging. But the more loving thing to do is to listen to the reasons behind his choice, AND at the same time, be honest about my own opinions. This question has helped me become more patient, more honest and a better listener.
- I am more conscious of the little things that make my boys happy. My husband’s pajamas laid out in bed when he comes home late from work. My son waking up to his favorite bear beside him. Indulging my husband with his favorite juice drink from Jamba. Indulging my son wanting to “kiss like a fish” several times even when I’m in the middle of chores. Lots more other stuff that one can easily dismiss thinking they won’t notice if I don’t do it. But I would know, and I would know that I did the less loving thing. And so I take action.
- I take better care of myself. I wear night cream before sleeping. I find ways to get my bi-weekly manicure-pedicure indulgences. I choose the healthier dish. I buy the bigger-sized shirt because frankly, an XS just doesn’t fit me anymore. The more loving thing to do is to be honest with myself too!
I still fail, though. There are times when I know I shouldn’t say anything but can’t help snapping back with a venomous reply. There are times when I’d choose the greasier dish because well, it’s Christmas, I’m fat and don’t care anymore. It’s not an easy question to answer via action. But what I’m learning is that the more you do the more loving thing in repeated situations, the easier it will come to you. Practice makes perfect, right? That’s love. It just keeps getting better and better.
This was my 2014 epiphany. It’s an insight that I’ve shared with some friends, am now sharing with YOU and an insight that I’ll carry on to the new year.
In the new year, I wish you compassion. I wish you kindness. Most of all, I wish you love.
I hope “What’s the more loving thing to do?” helps you navigate your way to a more loving life this 2015.
<3 This post is dedicated to my LEAP 61 family, who have inspired me to embrace vulnerability and to surrender to love.