My definition of a pot stirrer is: Noun - 1) a person who uses a kitchen utensil to mix food in a heatable container. 2) a person who can influence another person or a group of people into having either an uncomfortable conversation or an undesirable experience.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, it would make sense for me to share a story about making a wonderful turkey dinner and stirring pots of gravy, mashed potatoes and cranberries. But that’s not the pot stirrer I’m going to talk about today.
The hub and I go way back to 1996. You do the math; it’s a long time. We got married in July 2003 and became parents to our dog Bruin in December 2004. The reason these dates are important to share is because I had plenty of time on my hands between 1996 to 2004. Most of that time I was fully immersed in my advertising career, working crazy hours, but I didn’t have the life-changing, time-sucking, mind-numbing responsibilities of being a parent. I had plenty of time to stir pots - to get involved in family drama and family politics.
Yet in 2006 and 2008 when my two-legged children were born, I was still able to maintain my reputation as a “Pot Stirrer” - getting caught up in email fights, yucky phone calls and eventually text wars. Oh, I can’t leave out the drunken heated discussions that always added to the family drama. I’m not proud about any of this.
Instead of running away from my “Pot Stirrer” reputation, I’m embracing it! That role may have been mine in the past but writing a blog on thoughtfulness has really changed me. I’d go so far as to say that the blog has TRANSFORMED me. Finally, a month ago, I decided that while I was purging closets and getting rid of the junk in our house, it was time for me to get rid of that dumb reputation! I had just written an email pleading for the family to communicate. The hub automatically thought I was trying to stir the pot and even though my intentions were far from it, how could I expect him to know that I had been transformed? Why would he think otherwise? That last email was such a blessing because it caused a HUGE fight which led me to SELF-AWARENESS and has brought me to this point in my life.
As I was reflecting, trying to figure out how this perpetual cycle began, I learned that my need to prevent family problems actually created family problems. No matter how much I believed that proper communication would save many hurt feelings and uncomfortable situations, my heart-felt efforts never helped. For years, I would write family emails and have tough conversations all in the name of trying to PREVENT potential problems. Many, many times those efforts would backfire. I’m usually a peacemaker - except when it came to my family and it was killing me! How come I failed to make peace with the people I loved the most? Well, I finally realized that it was insane for me to try to “save” anyone from anything. That final email was the beginning of letting go and I’m really grateful.
This year for Thanksgiving, not only am I thankful for letting go, but I’m also grateful that I have found so much joy in identifying thoughtfulness and blessings all around me. Now, I can write more about thoughtful pinches instead of those family emails. It’s a win-win for everyone! I love my job, my mission and I love my family. I’ll be so busy spreading thoughtfulness that I won’t have time to keep the title of “Pot Stirrer” anymore. I’ll leave that to someone else. I’m going to stick to stirring pots of gravy, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce because those pots bring me joy.