10. Don't sweat the small stuff
There was a time when the things people said or did not say about me troubled me to bits. It mattered a lot when people were pleased with what I did or liked the way I looked. I’d go insane when someone criticized my work especially when I worked hard on it and believed it was good. I actually would bend over backwards dotting my i's and crossing my t's just to please someone and get his stamp of approval.
There was a time when it mattered that the bathroom floor was wiped dry after someone used the shower. There was no way I could sit still if my clothes hung in my closet with the wrong end of the hanger sticking out. I remember spending nearly half an hour (even if there was more important stuff that needed to get done) folding my newly-ironed shirts and stacking them neatly according to color. I even broke a pencil once in school so that it neatly levelled off with my other pens.
Back in those days, the OC (obsessive-compulsive) disorder was not yet a byword. I just knew I was fixated on a number of details and would lose my peace of mind if these were not put in order. At work, the same OC attitude played out. Check for typos before submitting your work. Follow the given format for uniformity and neatness. Reduce the font size so that the printed version doesn’t come out too glaring. Adjust margin for better symmetry.
As I grew older (and wiser I hope), I realized that little things still mattered but people and relationships mattered more. At work, I learned that while presentation counted, people’s ideas were of greater value. And even if some of these ideas were not good or acceptable, it was far better to keep people’s sense of worth and confidence intact than ruin it for life.
At home, it was even more difficult not to sweat the small stuff. I found that sharing my life with another person doesn’t just mean sharing our dreams. Oddly, it also meant sharing the bathroom, closet space, work area, and yes, even time. It meant waking up in the morning blinded by the open shades because he adored natural light. It meant moving some of my stuff around to give him more space for his tools, gadgets, knick-knacks and other “toys.” It meant giving him that warm smile as he comes home from work after discovering our closet in disarray, only to discover he had been looking for his favourite shirt which I thought was good to be given away.
Relationships are difficult to keep, let alone keeping them pleasant on a day-to-day basis. But we are not meant to be alone in this planet. To keep our relationships and maintain their harmony, I’ve learned that it is best to let things slide. When little things tick me off or my OC radar goes off, I simply ask myself, “Will I die if I don’t get this my way?” And I know I won’t (at least not because of that small thing), and so I let things slide and hopefully, make someone feel better in the process.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Any relationship – marriage, family, friendships – they’re all far more important than getting things my way.
Linking with Soli Deo Gloria
Linking with Soli Deo Gloria