Winter’s over and once again the newness of life is springing forth all around us. Birds chirping, squirrels scampering, kids in the park, outdoor cafés opening – yes, time to shake off the winter blues. Now, don’t get me wrong. Winter has its advantages: time to hibernate, contemplate to-do lists, and put on a few not so noticeable extra pounds, just to name a few. I think I can speak for everyone when I say, “Come spring, come!”
So now the arduous task of spring-cleaning. You know, putting away those winter coats and sweaters, cleaning and storing heavy covers, cleaning the fireplace hearth for the last time, exchanging winter shoes and clothes for the lighter garb. What a joy or better yet, what a chore! Well, I’ve got a few spring-cleaning tips for you, but maybe not the ones you might expect. It’s time to spring clean our relationship houses.
I think I’ll try and use the spring-cleaning analogy to keep you on board. Let’s start with:
Face it; relationships are not easy to keep clean and tidy. However, storing stuff in the “closets” of your mind and heart will not solve relationship problems. Communicate (not talk) with your partner, friends, family and listen with a desire to share your perception of what needs to be cleaned-up. Notice the word “perception”. There are always two messages: the one you send and the one they receive. First step in healing is to get on the same page, and sometimes this requires a dry cleaner, also known as a counselor. Begin the cleaning with an acknowledgement that no one sees things exactly like you do and if there cannot be a meeting of the minds, then maybe it’s time to discard, especially when the closet is spilling over into the living room, bedroom, and kitchen because one or both parties refuse to clean up. Of course, this should be done after careful inventory to make sure you have done your personal soul-searching and given it your best effort.
My drawers are so full of socks, long johns, and leggings you would think I live in Antarctica. Recently relocating back to the east coast from sunny southern California has me collecting every piece of faux-fur lined item I could stick my body into. Well, it’s time to breathe again and my drawers —at least for a season—contain only the lighter pieces of slip-ons and light leggings. But those warm, furry pieces were so comfortable! It’s hard not to want to snuggle back into them. Hurt, pain, and disappointment can be like this. It’s easier to live a “poor me…it’s all your fault” existence than take personal responsibility for the “it takes two” mentality. Do you know how something gets lost in a drawer? Somewhere in the relationship, you lost yourself or stuck yourself in a drawer just to hide out and survive the winter onslaught. Maybe it’s time to pull yourself out of the drawer. Instead of waiting for that friend or partner to come around, just do you. No one can live your life for you or create consistent circumstances for your happiness.
The winter is over with its dark tones, comfy layers, and closed windows. It’s time to lighten up! Bring brightness into your relationship. Stop waiting for your partner to come up with ideas to add pizzazz to your life. The D.C. metropolitan area and other cities across the country offer wonderful outdoor activities (for free). The beaches, mountains, parks are a brief hop away. I love Living Social, Amazon, and other social sites offering amazing deals for get-a-ways, dining, and sightseeing. Go, ahead. Bring some freshness into your daily lives. Have a picnic in your living space. Revisit that museum. Plan breakfast on the balcony. Bring sunshine into your mind and into your activities; especially when it appears winter wants to linger.
Obviously, I’m trying to lighten up a serious issue for many of us. Relationships take a lot of personal and collective effort but when it comes down to it, it is a choice to thrive together or barely survive together. And yes, we do make wrong choices but that’s for you to decide and find the courage and the strength to do a little or a lot of spring-cleaning.