Sometimes happiness comes under the most unexpected of circumstances.

Object to Nothing

Posted: August 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: happiness | Tags: , , | 11 Comments »

new tattoo!

Last Saturday evening I was dining with a couple of friends and their kids, and we ladies decided to set a challenge for ourselves for the week.  We decided that we would embrace the adage that my sister is so fond of “Object to Nothing.”  The idea behind it is that if you have an open mind, you might find a new path interesting, instructive, even life-changing.  It’s also a means of making sure that you are not thwarting with negativity opportunities that are coming your way.

As soon as I left, I started finding challenges to this new intention.  Layla didn’t want to sleep at her dad’s house.  Instead of saying no, I simply told her she would have a great time and that I would see her the next day.  Then I convinced her to blow me a kiss from the upstairs window of his apartment so that I could make my escape.

Upon returning home, a local guy that I didn’t know (and didn’t have any friends in common with) friended me on Facebook.  He seemed cute, and I thought maybe he’d turn out to be interesting.  He then sent me a few messages telling me how good he thought I looked.  Well, I was flattered and kept an open mind.  I couldn’t object, right?  He proceeded to “chat” with me on FB (their form of instant messaging) and told me his whole life story.  I “listened” with a spirit of openness, thinking there might be an amazing opportunity here.  As luck would have it, he was thirty, going through a bitter divorce, on disability, working at a gas station, and living at his parents’ house.  Oh and he smoked (that’s one thing I am fine with objecting to).  However, I had set this intention and was going to find a way to honor the spirit of it, so I finally asked him if he thought we had anything in common.  He said he didn’t know, What did I think?  I said, Not that I can see.  He apologized and unfriended me.

As the week progressed, I found that the lack of objection was getting a bit tough.  I took the kids to the market with me.  Boy did that stretch my creativity!  Can we get root beer Mama?  I couldn’t say no.  So I said, What do you think?  He said, no.  I agreed with him.  Then at home, it was the constant onslaught of requests for television and sugar.  Again I diffused the situation by asking them questions.  Do you think that TV is the best use of your time?  Amazingly enough, he admitted no.  Instead of refusing to give them sweets, I asked them whether or not the food in question had a lot of nutritional value.  Now don’t get me wrong, I did give in a few times when my questions didn’t work, but that seemed okay because the spirit of this intention was to be flexible and not to have rigid preconceived notions.  Objecting to nothing forced me to be a more creative parent and person, to encourage my kids to take some responsibility over their life decisions, which was really great for them.

Then came the big challenge…my ex bringing his girlfriend over to my house while I was out.  After my anger subsided that day and I was able to look at the situation with a cooler head, my first thought was that I violated the “Object to Nothing” principle.  But you know what?  I realized instead that I had reached my bottom line where my core values really came into play.  My house is my own.  While I want my ex to feel comfortable here, I don’t want him thinking that he can invite someone else over without asking me first.  This is now my sacred space, and I needed to make that clear to him.  However, I did own up to the fact that I was resisting too hard against the idea of the girlfriend and I ever being friends.  I was arguing too vociferously that she was just not “my” kind of woman.  So, in the spirit of non-objection, I told him that I would invite her over to join us for dinner sometime so that we could get to know each other better.  Or maybe I could have coffee with her alone some time.

I have to say that this intention was really beneficial for me.  It required from me a lot of diligence and presence of mind.  It made me question and analyze my gut reactions to people and events.  It made me realize how many times in a day a mother says no to her children.  It also forced me to clarify what’s really important in my life because having a spirit of willingness doesn’t mean you have to be a pushover.  Objecting to nothing didn’t really change anything in my life per se, but it did change my way of thinking.  And that is always powerful.

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So tell me, what do you think of my intention to object to nothing?  Could you do it?  Would you want to?  How might it impact your life to have a spirit of openness and willingness to experience new things?  Try it and get back to me.

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11 Comments on “Object to Nothing”

  1. 1 Kent Pelz said at 7:29 pm on August 22nd, 2010:

    If the Dali Lama can find a way to not make an enemy of the Chinese government and it’s treatment of Tibet, I guess I can find a way to stay objection-free to the trivial little things that attempt to rock my boat.

  2. 2 Molly Monet said at 7:38 pm on August 22nd, 2010:

    If you object, it just creates resistance and makes your nuisances seem stronger.

  3. 3 BigLittleWolf said at 8:18 pm on August 22nd, 2010:

    I find this fascinating. I think it’s probably instructive – including knowing when you’ve hit the boundaries of your core values (as you put it, beautifully).

    Your approach of responding to your kids by asking questions (and letting them say no to themselves) was so smart. For the most part when my kids ask for something, the assumption is that the answer will be yes. They’re reasonable and hard-working kids, and because the answer is generally yes (and not a knee-jerk “no”), when something really must be a “no” it’s rarely met with resistance.

    I think your desire to not have your ex’s girlfriend in your space is perfectly natural, by the way.

  4. 4 Molly Monet said at 9:05 pm on August 22nd, 2010:

    It’s great that your kids get lots of yeses. Mine generally do too, but they are little and still like to ask for sugar and TV, especially since they get more of them at their dad’s place.
    It’s funny because a friend of mine who reads my blog told me that she wouldn’t mind the girlfriend thing but that other things about my ex would drive her nuts. We all have our bottom line but it varies from person to person. Thanks for your support on that though!

  5. 5 Mandy said at 10:55 pm on August 22nd, 2010:

    Love the idea of “object to nothing” – I’ll have to try it this week. I can see where it might come in handy with my two teenagers.

  6. 6 Molly Monet said at 8:04 am on August 23rd, 2010:

    Let me know how it goes. It’s great to see you here, Mandy. We happy divorcees have to stick together!

  7. 7 Renee Tobias said at 1:18 pm on August 23rd, 2010:

    Nice – very insightful and I admire your creativity! I can see how this exercise doesn’t mean simply becoming a yielding doormat. A big part of it is saying yes to your own values and your own Self. You’ve inspired me Molly, I am going to give it a try.

  8. 8 Molly Monet said at 1:45 pm on August 23rd, 2010:

    Thanks for joining the discussion, Renee. It’s the kind of thing David would challenge us to do, don’t you think? I really liked it and the lessons turned out to be different than I thought. Let me know how it goes for you!

  9. 9 Jenn said at 7:28 am on August 26th, 2010:

    Wow. This post made me realize how much I probably do say “no” to Sunshine. I am going to try your trick and ask her what she thinks more often. I am fairly open to her new stepmom. I just feel like I more or less have to create a good relationship with this woman who is so influential in Sunshine’s life.
    Jenn recently posted..10 Ways to Help Your Child of Divorce Be More Resilient

  10. 10 Molly Monet said at 7:49 am on August 26th, 2010:

    You bring up a good point Jenn. I should get to know her better. She entered my ex’s life as a fling and he kept saying it wasn’t serious but a year and a half later I think we can say that it is fairly serious. Thanks for being inspiration.

  11. 11 Listening without Waiting to Talk | Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce said at 3:34 pm on September 5th, 2010:

    […] but by no means easy, task has been an eye opener for me this week.  As with my recent goal to object to nothing, it required a presence of mind that has been both challenging and yet very fruitful, and it led me […]

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