The dishwasher challenge

dishwasher-clipart-dishwasher.jpgDamn! It happened again! It is a pattern that I have problems with breaking. Something apparently very simple… turn on the dishwasher before going to bed.

This morning I woke up because of our male cat making a lot of noise. He does this when he really wants to get outside. As it was almost time to get out anyway I decided to go downstairs and open the front door to leave him out. I then started the morning routine. It is in this routine of ranging all clean dishes, pots and pans that I am to find out if the dishwasher has been turned on or not.

Actually, when looking at it, I kind of have a brief moment of relief when I open the dishwasher and while doing so I hear the click of the soap dispenser cover clicking back in its open position. That sound is very reassuring and allows me to continue my routine with a just very tiny sigh of relief. Apparently I am kind of aware there is a possibility the dishwasher had not been running and I kind of anticipate the f**k moment when I grab the handle to open the dishwasher.

So, why does this happen, and why so often. On average once a week I do everything needed to have the dishwasher running except for one thing… close the lid until the click. Why do it wait? Why do I hesitate and not close it fully when I am done putting in all the things? What Am I waiting for?

Let me walk back to the situation of last evening to see if I can find out what is really going on. After dinner I started rinsing dishes and pans, filled the dishwasher and washed every other item that does not go in the dishwasher. The items I wash by hand like big pots and knives I leave drying on a dripping board. The routine was as any evening except for the fact there was a fresh loaf of bread that had to be cut in slices. As this is producing crumbs and a knife and cutting board to clean I knew I had to do this just before going to bed.

Bed time. I went to the kitchen collecting the last cups and items for the dishwasher, put them in the dishwasher, added the soap and turned it on. I did not fully close the lid and I started doing the cutting board and knife. This is the crucial point. For some reason I decided not to fully close the lid until it clicks causing the dishwasher to start. This is the very moment that I hesitate, almost unconsciously, to start the machine. Why? Because there might be another item I want to put in it before it starts running?

All the other episodes of me not closing the lid properly, meaning not doing the very last step to have the dishwasher start its program, are alike. There is a  slight change in the routine, something that causes the unconscious me to put this step on hold.

So, what to do about it? I have to become more aware of the steps I do in this routine, not on an automatic pilot, but aware of the actual situation. And I have to face the deeper layers to find out why I am hesitating in taking that last step. Looking at it in common sense tells me that there is no reason for not doing that last step. If I consciously had checked the situation I could have seen there were no items left to put in the dishwasher. But, especially when doing things in a routine, there is no reality check. I am doing my things on an automatic pilot. Why? Is it because I kind of consider the tasks as being boring or a nuisance?  Of course I will immediately deny that it is, but if I look at this self-honestly I see that there is a history here of not enjoying the fact I have to do some tasks in the evening, just before going to bed when I usually are more than ready to go to sleep.

So, something futile like the fact of not closing the lid of a dishwasher is actually an opportunity to investigate underlying patterns that eventually lead to better know myself and allow myself to break these patterns and better myself, to create a better version of myself. The process is not simple and requires me to be thorough and especially honest with myself. How futile or seemingly unimportant the point I am investigating might be, the first reaction is to come up with excuses and explanations on why this happens. I’ve done this regularly, for months, to myself and to my partner. Why? Because I feel bad when it happens. It causes me to express a loud F**K charged with frustration when I find out that AGAIN I FAILED. I self-judge myself as being whatever and immediately start to come up with reasons and excuses to explain myself why it happened again in an attempt to tell myself I am not a failure. In other words, I am attempting to compensate for the failure feeling by repairing it and thus causing a polarity.

The only way to solve this pattern effectively is to stop the reason why this pattern exists. This requires me to dig into deeper layers of myself to find out why I act in a specific way. What is the trigger and what is the memory connected to it. Not an easy task. To enable myself to effectively work through the steps that will eventually lead to breaking this pattern and many other related patterns, I use the tools and the buddy support of my DIP course.

In the following posts I will start digging and share how I am walking this process.


2 thoughts on “The dishwasher challenge”

  1. Hey Pieter, you might want to use the “not doing that last step” as a metaphor, and see where throughout your life you were not able or resisted to take that last step. Once you gather memories about it, it might be easier for you to see what pattern or personality you’re dealing with.

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