“If I continue to do what I’ve always done, then I’m going to get what I’ve always got. “ –Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
I sometimes catch myself grumbling about how something I dislike in my life never changes, like how dishes always manage to pile up in the kitchen even after one day. For a while I was blaming my partner for not cleaning, but then he went away for a weekend where it was just me in the house, and the dishes still piled up. So then I blamed the small size of my kitchen believing that if I only had a bigger kitchen then it would be easier to clean. The more I blamed the mess on something external, the more frustrated I became.
Then I remembered what has now become my mantra: if I continue to do what I’ve always done, then I’m always going to get what I’ve always got. I finally took a step back and looked at what I was doing. The problem was that I disliked dishes piling up yet I was not washing/putting away my dishes right after using them and I was allowing them to pile up. I wanted my partner and my kitchen to change for me, but I wasn’t changing myself. So I changed what I had been doing (by the way, it was not easy accepting that I was the cause of my own frustration, I got defensive and wanted to find fault with anything other than myself). I put the dishes away right after using them and the kitchen stayed much cleaner, and I was much happier at the end of the day! I’d like to say that I kept that habit, but I didn’t, the dishes still pile up because I get lazy. But I do feel less irritated about the mess because I feel empowered knowing that if I want something to be different, I can choose to do things differently.