A few weeks ago, Captain America and I had a disagreement. I know it probably comes as a huge shock to find out that neither of us are perfect in every single way, but we’re definitely not. Luckily, we’re both the type of people who are willing to put in the effort to make things work – like our relationship – which is why 99% of the time we’re happy as clams. And as the universe loves to point out to me, work is the key to success…
Anyways, as I lay there in bed next to him, steaming from my ears, I realized something. I want to be one of those couples that always kisses each other goodnight. It might sound corny, overly-romantic, or un-realistic, but it’s true. I’d like us to be one of those old married couples that can honestly say that at the end of the day, no matter what had transpired earlier, they still got into bed with a kiss. And then I realized, the only thing that sets those couples apart from the rest of us is that they just freaking do it. Even if they’re pissed off at each other and don’t want to – they do it anyways. Because when you decide to do something, you owe it to your relationship to follow through with it. Paul and Linda McCartney are a perfect example of this; regardless of the difficulties they must have encountered, the couple only spent 10 nights apart in their entire 29 years of marriage – because they made it a priority.
So instead of sitting and stewing, I rolled over and gave him a kiss goodnight, and went to sleep.
This might sound like kind of a silly little revelation on a silly topic to some of you, but to me it held greater significance. Not only is it important for me to remember this specific instance on the eve of our marriage – but it’s also important for me to remember in general, in other areas of my life. Because the real point is, sometimes in life you just have to do things that you don’t want to do, in honor of the greater good. Like eating your vegetables. Or getting up in the morning. Or cleaning the kitchen…or kissing your significant other goodnight. (Really, these are things you should want to do 99% of the time, but then again, some days are harder than others).
I personally, have not always been good at doing things I don’t want to do. In fact, I have mostly been pretty terrible at it, and I have fought getting better at it, tooth and nail. But still, I’ve had to do it a lot. Especially since becoming sick. Anyone with a chronic illness knows just how much of life can become about doing things you really don’t want to do, but absolutely have to in order to survive. And frankly, it sucks. And I still really didn’t want to. And you know what? Sometimes I planted my feet square in the ground like a mule and said “Hell no, I won’t!!”
Which only sent my mother into a tizzy, because she is the absolute Queen of Powering Through. This is the woman who broke her elbow, had surgery, and went through physical therapy with a metal plate in her arm – all without ANY pain medication at all, not even an aspirin! Not by choice, of course, but because when you’re allergic to just about everything, you don’t exactly have a choice – if you break your elbow and you ever want to use your right arm again, you freaking do what you’ve gotta do, even if you hate every stinkin minute of the process.
But as with most things your mother tries to teach you, I never really got the lesson until I figured it out for myself. You see, what I really learned in that instance was something that life has been trying to teach me for quite some time; You can spend all sorts of energy pounding against a wall that you wish wasn’t there – or you could just shut up and climb over it already.
That’s the biggest difference, I think, between the people who are successful in their lives and in their relationships, and those that aren’t. Successful people know that success has nothing to do with how you think things should be, and everything to do with how hard you’re willing to work to make them that way – even when you don’t really want to.
How do you find your motivation? How do you push yourself to finish tasks that you just do not want to do?