So what my bed looks like a beautiful bowl of whipped cream all day or my kitchen counters get cluttered actually holding stuff or my shelves are covered with personal memorabilia and books I’ll probably never get around to reading. And what’s with the towels no longer perfectly straight in my bath area? What in the world has happened to me!!! Oh – wait – I’ve always been like this.
One day, recently, I was straightening everything up before my family came over. Making the bed. Straightening the towels. Cleaning off the counters. For my family – who know me. I was cleaning and preparing and, absolutely YES excited for the company…but…was the effort really for them or for me? Hmmmm…was I embarrassed everything wasn’t perfect (as it never is)?
My second curiosity was that I was “cleaning for company.” Again…what’s up with that? They aren’t company – they are my family. Then I remembered as a child I was taught to always clean for company – people who don’t live with us – basically strangers because they were my parent’s friends. So, as an adult, anytime anyone would come over who didn’t live with me became “company” in my mind and autopilot pushed me into gear to clean (just don’t open THAT closet door or go in THAT bedroom where everything was thrown right after the doorbell rang.) I was taught to prepare – present a “look” that really wasn’t me…for company.
But my son is not a stranger. He’s my family. Third thought. What if I considered him a guest? My guest. And that my cleaning is not so much about not showing how I really live or my true self, but that I want to honor him with a nice space to be with me. Comfortable still, but tidy and clean, as more of a way to say Welcome! Opposed to Oh my God! I don’t dare show you my true self! (whom he knows very well by the way.)
Fourth insight: He’s not here to see my house anyway! He’s here to hang out with me.
So, I think to honor anyone who comes through my door as a guest with a welcoming space is a really nice thing to consider, and I’ve started practicing this new perspective. But who else could I offer a welcoming space? Who else could I honor? Who else actually lives here? ME!
It really does feel nice when all is in order. The bed is made. Towels straight. Shelves tidy. Food in the fridge. Windows and floor sparkling. I’d really just gotten comfortable over time with 85% effort. The remaining 15% – meh. I didn’t and don’t want to become overly anxious that it’s not 100% (what is?), but I know I can do better than 85% and will consider more options on how to do that for ME. Plus, I’m so appreciative and grateful for this space I call home, that I want to maintain it better out of gratitude to God, my source. The cool thing is that as I’m able to honor myself, I’m honoring God, and when I have a guest by surprise or expected, I can focus more attention on them (honor) and not be anxiously rushing around straightening up or wondering “what are they going to think about me?” or other negative loop thoughts about myself. Such a self-centered way to be. Blech.
So, as I’ve started learning how to honor myself during my inner-self explorations, along with vacuuming up falsehoods and negative thoughts and throwing the bag away, keeping a tidy, clean home for just me is no longer a stretch and actually makes me happy. I am now a guest in my own tidy home! And when someone comes to visit, I’m not anxious about what they think about me because 1) those negative anxieties are GONE and 2) it’s not really about me! It never was! It’s about how can I better spend my energy honoring them, my guests. 😊
Hi! I’m MJ! And I’m a survivor of Domestic Violence. This blog, yes, is for other survivors of Domestic Abuse. However, sometimes I like to write about other learning curve events or thoughts in my life.
Through VictoryLife House, survivors can find information to help them through the trauma they’ve experienced. Through this blog, I hope you also enjoy these random types of musings.
Life without abuse IS an option. Choose life!
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