"Don’t do anything that isn’t play" was a big lesson in enjoyment that I took away from reading Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life. I think this wisdom goes a long way towards shifting perspectives so that we can find the enjoyment even in our “chores” and “responsibilities.” Which is something I struggle with a lot. I have a very hard time enjoying doing the dishes, laundry, even driving because I think of all the things that also need my attention or task I would rather do.
But Rosenberg offered a challenge to his readers. Think about I time when you used the phrase, “I have to/I should [clean the house, walk the dog, go grocery shopping, pay bill]”? Have you ever justified doing something with the phrase “I don’t want to, but I have to”? I know I have. I say it unconsciously all day.
Now reconstruct that thought using the words “I want to ___ because I need ___.” So in my case, instead of complaining “I have to clean the room because my daughter made a mess.” I might say “I want to clean the room because I need a certain amount of order and cleanliness in my living space.”
This shift in focus does a few things. It helps point our attention into a positive mindset. Instead of focusing the reasons we have to do something on others (kids, pets, the government), we focus on why we need to do this, the choice we are making and the good things that we receive from doing things we don’t always find enjoyable.
So for example, I decided that my needs for order and cleanliness were not as important as my needs for rest/relaxation, I feel more liberated to make the conscious choice to not clean right now. It might seem cliche or even simplistic to say we don’t really have to do anything. But the truth is we do have a choice. We can always choose not do something; just sometimes we have to experience the undesirable outcomes of that choice.
When I choose to focus on why I want to do something and what need it fulfills for me - instead of seeing it as a burden or something I’m forced to do - I find that even my most despised tasks becomes a little more enjoyable.
Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy atLiving Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Read about how others are make their lives joyful. We hope you will join us next month!
- No, She Doesn’t Sleep Through the Night - And It’s Not So Bad! - This post on Partners in Kind is about our family sleep habits, how we tried CIO, and how our family learned to let go of the ‘standard’ in order to enjoy a good nights rest for all of us.
- Don’t Do Anything That Isn’t Play - Momma Bee at Raising a Revolution is inspired by Marshall Rosenberg’s (nonviolent communication) advice “don’t do anything that isn’t pay” to find the enjoyment in doing even the most mundane and disliked tasks.
- Shared Hobbies - Jorje of Momma Jorje shares her progression of hobbies, since hobbies can wax and wane. She also explains why sharing a hobby makes it the best.
- The Joy - Relaxation Relation - At Authentic Parenting, Laura discovered how much enjoyment is related to relaxation.
- Simply Enjoying Life - Mandy tries to focus on enjoying life at Living Peacefully with Children by cutting out some things and changing her perspective on others.