Spring cleaning is coming, so why not to start now?
Officially, spring starts on March 20th. The freezing nights make us feel that it is very far off, however, it is coming. Spring brings with it the option to do some spring cleaning, not just in our surroundings, but also from within us. It is a good time to work on our relationships with ourselves and our loved ones. We can work toward shifting the focus to what matters most to us. Yes, this is a personal decision, but at the end of the day, we all want to feel joy and be pleased with what we have and who we are, so we might as well just make the choice.
Part of the spring cleaning can be focused on “cleaning up” the language that we are using toward ourselves and others. Words can be harmful, toxic, or painful. Sometimes we are not aware of the powerful impact that our words have on us. So, the next time you communicate with yourself, pay attention to the impact your language has on you and try to see if you can replace even one word and explore the possible differences in you. It might be awkward at first, yet, with practice it will become more comfortable and help create a change in your relationships.
March is also International Listening Awareness month. This can really go hand in hand with our need to appropriately communicate with ourselves and others, and to be able to truly be there for our friends as well as for ourselves. We need to be in-tune with our basic needs and work toward accomplishing them. These go beyond the basic needs for survival, but can include love, safety, acceptance, boundaries, and others—it is different for everyone. If you do not know what these needs are, then this is a perfect time to figure out what they might be for you. Being able to truly listen is important, especially with our kids. When they come back from school, we need to fully be there for them. Be aware of non-verbal communication – make eye contact, smile, or simply give them a hug. Even if we are anxious about whatever happened in our day, we need to make sure that we are available for them. Now, that spring break is coming, it can be easier to try and practice that. Ask them open-ended questions and pay attention to what are they trying to tell you. Show them that you care and that you are curious about their lives. Work on just listening to them, without jumping to tell them what you think about the situation (I am still working on that myself). It is just like working on developing body muscles, the process requires practice and dedication. When they are able to figure out what they need, it will help them feel empowered and capable.
When we are truly listening to what people are saying we can improve the quality of our relationships. When we are distracted, it makes it harder to be able to properly listen. The noises around us distract us from being in tune and fully listening to the people around us. These noises do not just make it hard to listen to, but also exhaust us. When we can reduce these noises, we are able to find purpose and joy in our lives and focus on our goals, while creating meaningful relationships around us.
March brings spring and spring represents a positive renewal where the snow and the cold transform into warmer, more pleasant weather, the naked trees begin to bloom with flowers, and we receive more daylight hours. So go outside, by yourself or with your loved ones, breathe, and enjoy the season. You don't have to struggle in silence...