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How Are Doing the Dishes and Dealing With Feelings Related?

Doing the dishes is like talking about feelings

Not everyone is convinced that feelings are important.

I get that. If you are one of those people who is not totally convinced that feelings are that big a deal, this is for you.

I explain it this way often to my clients…

How hard is it for you to wash a dish?

Usually the answer is: not that hard.

Right. It isn’t.

But we also resist it sometimes. Maybe it is the repetitive nature of the task or the fact that it is never done. There are always more dishes that need to be done, as long as we eat or drink, which we do because we have to sustain human life. Feelings are similar, they are always coming up, never done.

Then I ask: what would happen if you stopped doing the dishes?

Well, if you really stopped doing the dishes, there are a host of issues that could come up.

First off, you run out of dishes and utensils that are clean. Which means no one can cook anything and you are eating and drinking straight from the fridge. A slight regression, but not THAT big of a deal.

If you live with anyone, more than likely, people are already bothered at this point. Maybe arguments even start up. Whichever kind your home culture prefers: the nagging type, the loud kind or the silent resentful variety.

The other thing that is happening is that you are now eating out. More expensive, probably less healthy than what you could make at home. In the long run, money and health issues coming up.

So, at this point, relationships are suffering, your health and your bank account are being impacted.

Maybe not horribly at first, but remember, you are not doing the dishes, so this is where things are headed for the long haul.

Now you have to think about what happens with those dirty dishes. At some point, they are likely going to attract pests. And that’s a whole new level of hassle.

Recently a friend and their family had to evacuate their apartment and pack out or wrap all the perishables (with an infant!) so their apartment could be fumigated because of cockroaches. They lived next door to an apartment unit that is a corporate apartment so people only live there for short periods. Somebody must have left food or dishes that were not cleaned up (or missed by the cleaning staff) and an infestation started. My friend’s family moved back in after being vacated for the better part of a week and there were still cockroaches. So they had to move their ENTIRE apartment (with an infant) to another unit in the building.

So, now you are potentially dealing with infestations in your home and your neighbors are impacted?

All from not keeping up with the simple task of doing the dishes, which have to be done?

Just like the dishes, dealing with our feelings as they come up are not that big of a deal. Just like doing the dishes, not dealing with them leads to big issues that impact multiple areas of your life: relationships, finances, physical health, your home environment. Not to mention your internal world and your daily lived experience.

So, you practice (practice being the key word) recognizing them. You practice allowing them. You practice communicating them.

It might be: “I feel pressured and rushed right now, can we talk about this later?” Or “I felt sad when you said that”. Or “I feel frustrated”. Just simple little things. Like washing a dish.

We get to be closer, understand each other more, feel healthier.

I know feelings can be unpleasant, but don’t let that be the end point of that experience. There are lots of things in life that can be uncomfortable. Does that mean you stop right at the first sign of discomfort? No, you show up.

This is emotional health. Recognizing that you feel. And doing what you need to do to care for whatever is coming up whether it is just having to do with you or it is something coming up between you and someone else.

Just do the dish. Sometimes it’s a pan with lots of stuff crusted on it and it takes some effort. But I promise it’s worth it.

If you need support figuring out how to recognize or care for your feelings, we’ve got you. Contact us.

Also, check out this post about the messages your feelings are communicating to you, that could be a good next step too.

If you want a guide to what your emotions mean and where they show up in the body so you know when they are present, sign up for our email list (refresh the page and there will be a little banner that drops down). You will get a little cheat sheet for that you can save on your phone.

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