Striving for more or never satisfied?

It has been said, by several people including my husband and my best friend, that I am never satisfied.

I never took this as an insult.  In fact, I always approached it as a positive part of my personality.  I think that striving to be better, constantly wanting to improve on what you are, and working and looking towards future goals are all very admirable traits to possess.

I understand however that it isn’t meant as a compliment.  What they are really saying is that I am never happy with what I have and I cant ever be satisfied or appreciate the present.  I am unable to stop, and be thankful.  I can rarely be present because I am too busy looking ahead. I focus on what still needs to be done and not what has already been accomplished.

There are several parts about this situation that are difficult to address. The first is the basic differences in world views.  How do you resolve something so ingrained in your personality with your spouse or loved ones? Being raised with HUGELY different parenting styles we both have traits and characteristics that compliment one another and also challenge one another.

My MIL is a role model for positive behavior.  She has a knack for speaking only positive things, for making the best of each situation and for never vocalizing the negative.   While it is often difficult to know how she really feels about something-it is very enjoyable and pleasant to spend time with her.  My Mother on the other hand, has a special ability to be honest and forthcoming.  She always speaks her mind and you know where you stand with her.  She doesn’t often take things personally and has a tough skin.  Of course, her honesty is one sided, and can often hurt those who are more sensitive than she is.

So when resolving a marital issue–do you ask the other person to change (assuming that a person can change) and moreover is it fair to even ask them to?  Do you accept this as part of their personality or do you work towards a common goal or compromise and if so, how and what?

Is this simply about perspective which can be resolved with a word choice. Is this about manipulating the words to affect the desired result.  When you are comfortable speaking your mind, is it worth taking the few extra moments to pause and think about what you are going to say and how it will perceived; and potentially alter the phrasing.  Or is that compromising your true self to satisfy others who have more fragile personalities.

In disagreements where both sides feel they are justified —  who is ‘right’ and how do you decide?

All of these are subjective, I know.  Each relationship is unique and one can not possibly advise on how to resolve a situation like this for another person.  I realize that I am asking questions that can not be answered by any another except the parties involved.

I also realize that when our words are hurting people we love, regardless of how or why, that we need to alter the phrasing and delivery.

So, what I am asking is that you provide suggestions for how you ‘make the best’ of situations even if they aren’t going as planned.  How do you see and vocalize the positive when the first thing you see is what is wrong, not what is right?  How do you keep your mouth shut when something goes wrong, and look on the bright side?  Is there a way to offer suggestions without sounding like you are criticizing the progress.  For the ladies–how do you power through hormonal periods of your life and still remain positive and upbeat?

I hope that like parenting, if my arsenal is full of suggestions and ideas, then I can be better prepared to handle the pitfalls challenges when they arise.    Being prepared is a good place to start.

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Wheat Intolerance

I subject myself to torture.

On purpose.
Every few days.
It could easily be avoided, but I lack the self control to get a handle on it.
I have a wheat intolerance that causes severe abdominal cramps, pain that causes me to double over, and gas. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough add in chronic constipation, heartburn, and bloating. Couple these with pregnancy and you have a recipe for a very grumpy human being.
Yet I still eat wheat knowing full well that I will be in pain as soon as the food hits my lower intestines. I suspect that because the reaction is delayed that I tend to ‘overlook’ it in favor of the instant gratification of the flavor on my tongue. I have compared my ‘problem’ to drinking too much, having a horrible hangover the next day, swearing you will never drink again, and then doing it all over-again and again. The cycle of self-abuse (is there such a thing?).
The short story is that I have always had digestive issues. Since I was in grade school, I have suffered from unexplained tummy aches, constipation, and overall intestinal distress. When I started college however is when it really seemed to spike out of control–I was often in constant pain.
I saw a doctor on campus who said I had IBS, and put me on meds to help regulate the peristalsis of my intestines. It helped with the constipation, but not the with the pain or other symptoms.
Then, about 4 years ago, I met Elizabeth. We were coworkers and friends and she convinced me to try giving up gluten. I gave it a try and after just 4 days I was totally pain free. After having abdominal pain most days for decades I couldn’t believe how great I felt. I remember it like it was yesterday–feeling healthy and pain free for the first time.
So, why do I still eat wheat products–here are a few examples: bread, rolls, pasta, pastries, bagels, crackers, cookies, cake, baked goods, brownies (my personal favorite), Golden Grahams cereal, graham crackers, most cereals and cereal bars, soy sauce, pita bread, couscous, licorice, many candy bars and some ice cream…wheat flour is in practically every prepared food on the market.
I cook at home with frequency which helps to curb my appetite for these forbidden things. But, what about when I travel, or when I am not at home, or when we eat at someone else’s home? Yes, I need to plan more. Yes, I need to have more self control. Yes, I need to be more prepared when I leave the house to resist the temptation.
But what I really want right now is for my tummy to stop hurting from the french roll I ate at lunch.
If you are curious about wheat or gluten intolerance, or want to find some great wheat and gluten free recipes look here, and here.

Let’s practice letting go, shall well?

Weakness and vulnerability have never been easy for me. I have often been called fiercely independent. This has worked in my favor for most of life; having left home when I was 14 years old, a girl needs to be strong. When I met my husband we clicked partly because we are both extremely independent and strong willed.

The down side of being uber independent is that any perceived weakness feels like I am open to vulnerability and I get protective over that space. Being vulnerable for me has always been a perceived weakness. Can you see where this is going…? Upon meeting the hubby though, he convinced me that allowing yourself to be emotionally vulnerable opened you up to people. These here blog entries have allowed me to be emotionally vulnerable without feeling weak or defensive. They have also allowed me to become more in touch with my feelings and have an easier time identifying them and sharing them.

What I wasn’t prepared for however, was my third trimester of pregnancy. I am actually only 24 weeks along and technically at the tail end of my second trimester, but I feel huge and my mobility and energy is becoming more limited. This decrease is physical abilities is tough for me. I don’t remember feeling this way the first time around, perhaps because I was working, and not chasing after a 25 month old. We had both a housekeeper and a gardener and our financial resources we far superior to now so we were eating out with frequency.

Whatever the reason, I am very touchy and sensitive about ‘keeping it together’ and ‘getting everything done’. Basically, I need to still be able to ‘do it all’ or I start to feel weak. And the cascade of emotions that occur if I feel like I am slipping or anyone critiques (perceived or real) my abilities…well, it is all over.

So, in preparation for baby#2 I am going to again practice letting go. Letting go of control, letting go of my obsessive need for order and balance, and letting go of my wretched need to ‘do it all’. Like all things that involve me and control—the best of luck.