“Picking your battles”…what a splendid little treasure.
I love that saying. It’s acknowledging that things can feel like a battle, and therefore validating of the hardships, but also pushing you to take ownership of what you decide to take on and what you don’t.
That’s what I was thinking about today as I changed the toilet paper that had been placed on top of the empty tube of the last.
“Pick your battles”.
Have you ever heard anyone tell you how they’ve been fighting about the same thing a million times? People that have been married for years, and the wife or husband is aggravated at their partner for doing the SAME thing?
I’ve been in two relationships where someone said they were going to quit smoking at some point, only to realize that their struggle to quit smoking would also become mine. At that point, I realized that my options were either to never date a smoker again, or to understand that even if they said they were going to quit, it might not happen, and I have no right to make an issue of it because by now, I should know what I’m getting into. I have to consider a new battle, where we are both compromising instead. I will still hold people accountable for their words and actions, but not at the expense of my own inner peace.
This is when acceptance comes in. And I’m not talking about the type of begrudging acceptance that sounds a little bit like this:
“I mean I hate it, but it’s not going to change so whatever, I accept it.”
That is chock-full of resent and it isn’t acceptance, it’s resigning yourself and that means it’ll fester and come bubbling up at some other point where you will hold the other person accountable and in turn, create resent in them.
Truly accepting means releasing yourself from the result of that situation.
Another example of not accepting a situation is the passive-aggressiveness that comes with it. Let’s say, for example, that you ask your husband to please change the roll of toilet paper, but you’re afraid he won’t. In fact, you’re pretty sure he isn’t going to. And sure enough, he doesn’t.
Then you come back at him with something like this: “I knew you weren’t going to change the roll of toilet paper because you NEVER change the roll of toilet paper”. What else could someone respond to this besides, “well then why did you ask me to do it?”. No matter what response you give him to that, it is now null and void because he is right…you went into it with an attitude that wasn’t conducive to success. But hey, at least you were right. 😉
“But Maelle”, you might be thinking “I feel like it should be a partnership where my husband changes the toilet paper.”
Of course! I agree! It isn’t in not expecting your partner to act like one, or not communicating your needs. You deserve to be heard! And a partnership is a give and take!
What I am talking about here in regards to picking your battles is picking the type of energy you’re going to give something.
Does this truly merit getting mad over?
Are you going to be in a bad mood and feel completely depleted of energy afterwards?
Is all the energy you’re going to spend on it going to be an effective method of you getting what you want?
You can always be look for creative ways to get your point across. For example, if he doesn’t want to change the roll of toilet paper, then simply take the toilet paper out of the bathroom. Watch him get caught in a bit of an awkward emergency and you’re stilling keeping your inner peace. There’s also the mother that changes the wifi password every time the kids don’t do their chores. Want the password? Do your chores. Sit down and communicate. Or, decide that you don’t care if you’re the one that changes the roll of toilet paper ever again, and simply do it yourself from now on.
Many times, what might end up happening, is that when people don’t feel any pressure on them, they actually feel grateful and make the change themselves.
You are consciously choosing inner peace.
And, if you’re anything like me, you really do have to choose your battles if it means you will have more energy on a day to day basis.
And remember, others are picking their battles with you as well! It’s all about giving and taking, and working together.