Doing the dishes…happily?

I’ve struggled with doing the dishes and tidying the kitchen because on the one hand I don’t like it being messy and cluttered but on the other hand I’m tired of being the one cleaning it most of the time.

My wife and I have discussed it in the past but it feels like a stalemate.

I find myself again and again gritting my teeth and just doing it because “otherwise it won’t get done”.

So I decided to apply some of the Abraham-Hicks principles I’ve been working with and see if I can feel better about this situation.

It’s not the situation

It’s not the situation causing me to feel bad, it’s my thoughts about the situation.

I don’t need to know specifically which thoughts, and trying to hunt them down is usually counterproductive.

I already know I feel trapped because I want the dishes done, I’m tired of always doing them, and I don’t want to revisit a fruitless and aggravating discussion with my wife.

So what’s the opposite of all that? I want to feel free, I want to feel inspired and energised. I want to feel easy about doing the dishes.

My first thought is “they have to get done” and before I even get to the follow up I can tell this doesn’t feel good.

Do they really have to get done? Is that really how I want to approach these chores?

No wonder I feel stuck. The dishes are a burden even before I decide that I’m the one who should bear it.

Focus on the positive

After much practice at feeling better I had enough momentum to reconsider the situation and say “I love having a clean and tidy kitchen!”

Now it’s no longer a burden, it’s a statement of value. I love a clean and tidy kitchen.

And suddenly it flowed from there: I might not always have the energy to clean and tidy it. It might not always be entirely clean and tidy. But I still love and appreciate a clean and tidy kitchen.

And somehow with that positive statement I found I had the focus not just to clean some of the dishes…enough to make some room…but to clean all of the dishes. Three lots including some dirty pans from earlier in the week.

I cleaned them and dried them and put them away, not because they are a terrible burden under which I must suffer, but because I love and appreciate a clean and tidy kitchen.

Then I took the bin out and various bottles and cans that needed to be recycled. I kept going until the kitchen was as clean as it usually gets. I kept going until it mirrored the satisfaction and love that was guiding me.

Domestic insanity

I was definitely raised to see these kinds of chores as a burden, and carrying that attitude into my own home life is a shame.

All this time I could have been rewarding myself with love and appreciation for my clean kitchen, instead of forcing myself to endure the endless burden of dirty dishes that just have to get done somehow!

I can see now that when my wife did do the dishes I’d feel guilty that she was shouldering the “burden”.

It was a no win situation, but by finding a better-feeling way to think about it, it is totally transformed.

I like to think this is a microcosm of my Happiness work at large. Starting where I am, I’m finding that there have always been many things to feel good about, and many ways to feel good about them.

3 thoughts on “Doing the dishes…happily?

  1. This has helped me too! I know what you mean, especially as my former partner NEVER did dishes because it was beneath him to do them, literally!! In reading your article l realized that l too had started focusing on the happiness of the clean kitchen because for me, the thought of dishes for the rest of my life was snowing me under. It felt like a punishment for being a woman.

    Another thing l did though was get smaller dishes. It helps me eat less, and smaller ones feel much faster to clean. That may seem silly but it IS true, l can mentally handle dishes better because they are smaller.

    Thank you for this series!

  2. PS. I think it is marvellous you do them at all because l never had that. Not only that, my ex refused, l mean REFUSED to take out the dustbin too. So reading that you do things like this made me feel like you must really love your wife a great deal, and l admire that you do, and that you choose a practical way to express it. Having small children can be so hard, lack of sleep etc so a husband who chips in is amazing!

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