Even though I already have the final book of the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, I still haven’t started reading it–what with so many of the other things I had to do, plus I told my dad he could bring it with him and read it first. So, I am still stuck with Richard Carlson’s Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and I am not really complaining about it.
Most people don’t know about this book (DStSS, not the Inheritance Cycle), so I think it not only helps me but others as well when I post snippets from the books–chapters that I think speaks out to me the most. I hope that’s true, though. I’m not really sure. 🙂
Anyways, I’m on the forty-first chapter of the book now and this chapter–which I am about to share to you guys–is entitled Avoid Weatherproofing.
And this is what that chapter has to say:
The idea of weatherproofing as it pertains to peaceful living is a metaphor to explain one of our most neurotic, ungrateful tendencies. It comes from a friend of mine, Dr. George Pransky.
Just as we can weatherproof a home for the winter by looking for cracks, leaks, and imperfections, we can also weatherproof our relationships, even our lives, by doing the very same thing. Essentially, weatherproofing means that you are on the careful lookout for what needs to be fixed or repaired. It’s finding the cracks and flaws of life, and either trying to fix them, or at least point them out to others. Not only does this tendency alienate you from other people, it makes you feel bad, too. It encourages you to think about what’s wrong with everything and everyone–what you don’t like. So, rather than appreciating our relationships and our lives, weatherproofing encourages us to end up thinking that life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Nothing is ever good enough the way it is.
In our relationships, weatherproofing typically plays out like this: You meet someone and all is well. You are attracted to his or her appearance, personality, intellect, you not only approve of your differences with this person, you actually appreciate them. You might even be attracted to the person, in part because of how different you are. You have different opinions, preferences, tastes, and priorities.
After a while, however, you begin to notice little quirks about your new partner (or friend, teacher, whoever), that you feel could be improved upon. You bring it to their attention. You might say, “You know, you sure have a tendency to be late.” Or, “I’ve noticed you don’t read very much.” The point is, you’ve begun what inevitably turns into a way of life–looking for and thinking about what you don’t like about someone, or something that isn’t quite right.
Obviously, an occasional comment, constructive criticism, or helpful guidance isn’t cause for alarm. I have to say, however, that in the course of working with hundreds of couples over the years, I’ve met very few people who didn’t feel that they were weatherproofed at times by their partner. Occasional harmless comments have an insidious tendency to become a way of looking at life.
When you are weatherproofing another human being, it says nothing about them–but it does define you as someone who needs to be critical.
Whether you have a tendency to weatherproof your relationships, certain aspects of your life, or both, what you need to do is write off weatherproofing as a bad idea. As the habit creeps into your thinking, catch yourself and seal your lips. The less often you weatherproof your partner or your friends, the more you’ll notice how super your life really is.