A Mirror + Permission
Light House Lady,
I asked my husband the other day if he thought I was or would label me as an anxious person. I was a little surprised when he said yes. He said it was more like OCD, than anxiety though. It was eye opening to me when he told me that the way I behaved had always bothered him and the boys but they had learned to deal with it because that was just who I was.
To be clear- it is true that I do not do well when my house is out of order, messy, or cluttered. I go to bed with a nice and neat home because I want to start my day that way. When I am done using something, I put it away. I file paperwork, pay bills, and throw junk away. I don't have piles. This may seem like cleanliness or good habits but I do know that if it's not in order, I MUST put it in order so that I feel at peace.
Recently, I had been around someone whose anxiety over tiny details was unnerving and upsetting to everyone in the room and that was what spurred my conversation with Matt. This person's behavior bothered me so much that I wondered if it was because it was something I knew existed in me- but I needed confirmation. Which I received.
So, I gave my husband permission to confront me with kindness when I went into that mode. I told him if I was making others uncomfortable with my behavior, in any way, then I needed him to come to me, and gently remind me that nothing bad was going to happen if things were a little messy and to promise me that he would help me clean up at a later time. And I trust he will because he always does. Matt is a stellar man.
When I was young, I had a step parent who went berserk over any mess in the house, unless he made the mess but sometimes even then. This environment created a connection between messes and angry blow-ups and the resulting anxiety. No one gets angry at me now if the house is messy but the connection between messes and anxiety is still there. Interesting, right?
I learned this: if something is happening around me or someone is doing something that upsets me (like I experienced with this person who obsessed over every single thing)- I need to look inward to understand why. It's more about me than that other person. And then I need to talk about it with my family- with the ones whose my behavior impacts the most. Consider taking it a step farther and giving someone you trust the permission to confront your behaviors so you can become more aware and make small, gradual changes. Join me in evolution and in the renewing of our minds and souls.