A Guide to Accepting Your Imperfect House
If you are the sort of person that believes that everything in life has something to teach us, then truly, our homes are fodder for a lot of growth. How do you accept a perfectly imperfect home? Whether you have been laboring with a "fixer-upper," or have the type of home typically referred to in housing listings as "move-in condition," there is nearly always something that drives you crazy.
For example, I have high hedges around my house. I love the privacy they afford since I live on a busy corner. However, I'm allergic to the leaves so have to be well-covered during the four or so hours it takes to trim them – no matter how hot it gets.
For many of us, our home, like our body, is the palette for perfection – a goal that is virtually impossible to achieve for more than seconds. While simple acceptance is the hallmark of a mindful person, accepting everything as it is, period, can be challenging for the best of us. Here are a few suggestions about making peace with your home's imperfections.
Before you can work on acceptance of anything, first you have to learn to relax. Even the busiest people can spare five minutes a day to meditate. All it takes is some simple breathing, which you can even do when you are sitting in traffic.
Our former editor, Chaya Kurtz, practices meditation every morning on the train, when she is wedged between frowning office workers and New York City contractors, all vying for the same subway seats. "Meditating on the train helps me to like my crappy little apartment," she claims. "By the time I get home, I am so grateful to be out of the train and off the city streets that my apartment feels like a haven, even though the ceiling in the hall is falling down. I use my commuting time to make my life more peaceful."
Appreciate what you have
Wrapped into many of the world religions is the concept of gratitude and appreciation – and while the focus tends to be our human relationships, it's just as easy to apply the concept to the pace we live. Sure, there will always be areas of our home we want to improve, but taking the focus off what is annoying or imperfect and choosing to appreciate the great tile in your bathroom or how your house stays cool in summer and warm in the winter is likely to bring a greater sense of satisfaction with your home.
Find solutions instead of complaining
While researching this article, I came across the Tiny Buddha website and I especially appreciated the concept the site's author expressed regarding solutions vs. complaining. "You could complain for a lifetime about the leaking roof on your house, but as long as you don't do anything about it, you are stuck with the situation," writes Alex Gjersten. "Instead ask yourself, 'What can I do to solve the problem?' And if you can't solve it, where can you focus your energy more productively?"
Focus on what happens IN your home
When you bring life-affirming family, friends, and even pets into your home, you have a great opportunity to enjoy and let the imperfections fade into the background. In addition, invite your friends to help with some of your projects. Working together on home improvement can be a great bonding experience and a wonderful way to create positive memories with those you love. In other words, let your house's imperfections work for you in a positive way. In many Native American traditions, including my own, life is a perpetual task of creating beauty – so relax and enjoy the process.
Cris Carl writes for networx.com.
Updated September 4, 2018.
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