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Friday, March 4, 2011

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

What's stressing you today? Have the little things of life become big things because you're having trouble letting go? Is your stepchild relationship experiencing a small leak that's about to lead to a blowout?

How we react to what happens around us determines a hostile or peaceful outcome. If my stepson shoots a glaring look my way, I can choose to ignore it or I can let it ruin my day. If my stepdaughter challenges my thinking on something I believe in, I can spout off a defensive remark or I can stand firm in my position while shrugging my shoulders.

There are a multitude of things that happen every day in our stepfamily relationships that are not worth getting stressed about. When we identify which battles we want to fight, and leave the rest alone, we find more serentiy for our journey. 

My good friend and stepfamily authority, Ron L. Deal, says his whole perspective on life changed after he lost his son from a brief illness. He says he doesn't stress anymore about a spilled drink in the living room or whether every paper gets put in the recycling bin. Life is simply too short to spend our days bothered over trivial matters.

In his book, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff... and it's all small stuff, Dr. Richard Carlson says he plays a game with himself called the "time warp." He says, "I made it up in response to my consistent, erroneous belief that what I was all worked up about was really important. To play "time warp," all you have to do is imagine that whatever circumstance you are dealing with isn't happening right now but a year from now. Then simply ask yourself, 'Is this situation really as important as I'm making it out to be? Will this matter a year from now?' Once in a great while it may be -- but a vast majority of the time, it simply isn't."

So, next time your stepchild leaves his laundry in the washing machine and goes to school, leaving it for you to finish, remind yourself that it won't matter a year from now. That doesn't mean you don't address the issue when he comes in from school and seek to correct it from happening again, but it does mean you choose not to stew over it the rest of the day.

Are you sweating the small stuff in your stepfamily relationships?

Related Posts:

Let Go of the Guilt

Stepfamily Trap: The Danger of Denying our Feelings

Sick of Stepparenting?

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2 Comments:

At March 9, 2011 at 4:11 PM , Anonymous Sue said...

You know ... I really used to sweat a lot of small stuff. The problem? I couldn't see it as small. And? I felt like I had given up so much (because I had) when I got married that I clung to the small things like they were my lifelines.

It took me a long time to learn to let go of things and pick my battles. (A good friend used to tell me to ask myself, "Am I ready to die on this hill?") Fortunately, my stepchildren were patient. And? Because they were so ready to have a mother in their lives? They were pretty forgiving of most of my "mistakes."

It is still painful to do sometimes--taking a deep breath and letting something go--but I think I have come a long way in ten years.

 
At March 9, 2011 at 10:27 PM , Blogger Step Parenting with Grace said...

Good for you Sue! My brother-in-law uses that same comeback with his kids, "Am I going to die on this hill?" There are so many things in a stepfamily we could stress over but the main person we're hurting is ourself when we allow others to destroy our peace of mind. I think you're on the right track as you learn to pick your battles, then let everything else go (as you take a deep breath). :)

Gayla

 

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