How I learnt to love something that I used to hate… cleaning!
There are some things in life that you will have to do whether you like it or not... dishes, laundry, buying/making food, keeping your body (and bike or car) in good working order.
If you resent doing these things (or spending money on them) then you're destined to be miserable of a regular basis, like I was, every time I did the dishes.
I used to hate doing the dishes, like H A T E it.
Beyond hate, I despised and resented the dishes.
I ignored them and wished they would disappear or die a painful death.
I blamed other people and outside circumstances for the creation of more and more and more dishes. I dreaded waking up in the morning to… dishes.
I started batching my plates, saucepans and stirring spoons to reduce the output of dirty dishes so that I could spare myself 30 seconds with my hands in that horrid, foamy water.
I would bitch and moan about my hangnails and dry skin to anyone that would listen, and secretly wish that my husband and I could stop being "foodies" and just buy more pre-prepared food so that we didn't make so many damn dishes.
Can you tell it was an issue for me?
It was out of control. It was making me crazy.
To be honest I didn't want to deal with my hatred of dishes, I just winged to my husband about how frustrating it is that we couldn't afford a dishwasher. First World Problems right?
The lightbulb came on for me when I was chatting to a client about how living in the present moment can set you free from negative thoughts about your reality. I had my answer.
I was so disengaged from the present while I was washing up that I was living in a fantasy world where having to clean the plate that I ate my dinner from became a daily epic tragedy.
The cleaning of the dishes wasn't actually the problem, it was my negative thoughts about how bad doing the dishes was that pulled me away from experiencing the present moment as it was unfolding before me.
So I pulled out all my mindfulness tricks... breath-focus, expansion, sound-focus and observing and naming thoughts. I mindfulness-ed my way through a week of dishes and I was in a much more peaceful place.
I still didn't like doing the dishes but at least I wasn't actively hating it anymore. This alone made a big difference to my wellbeing. Focusing on each moment fully allowed me to step back from my ranting mind and use the task as an opportunity to be present. I softened into it.
This method was confirmed to work by Tyler Tevooren of Riskology in his post about learning to enjoy doing his laundry.
I started to wonder about how my life might change if I could convince myself to actually enjoy doing the dishes. I had already seen some pretty rapid improvement in my mood, it couldn't hurt to see how far I could take it.
I experimented with a few different things that didn't really work, like affirming that "I love doing the dishes" but then I stumbled onto gold.... I switched my focus from the task itself, to the result of the task.
Repeating "I love doing the dishes" wasn't working for me but then I changed it to "I love having a clean kitchen", and everything changed.
My energy changed, my spirit was on fire. Hell yeah, I fucking LOVE having a clean kitchen.
I was fuelled by love instead of hate.
The excitement of what I would get as a result of doing the dishes was enough to keep me happy AND present throughout the whole process.
After a few weeks of now feeling overjoyed to get my results, I began to look forward to doing the dishes.
Then guess what happened, we bought a dishwasher! Thanks universe!
Even though the dishwasher does most of the hard labour for us these days, there's still dishes to do and I cheerfully get them done.
What task would you like to learn to love?