Self-Care Tip #174 – Work hard to take care of yourself if you want an easier time taking care of others.
My marriage has never been better.
Kirsten had good posture. She made eye contact and she wasn’t fidgeting when she told me about the changes in her life. I hadn’t seen her in clinic for two years and apparently in that time she had set her husband free. She was seeing less of him than she ever had and they were both busier than any other time in their lives. Yet their marriage was at its peak. I felt like I was getting off the point of why she came and wondered if asking her for details was unprofessional. I did want to know. Lucky for me, she wanted to tell and I just let it happen, as if I was doing her a favor.
I admit, sometimes I get something out of my clinicals. I’m not always the best therapist. I don’t always keep things about my patient when I let myself receive, or even actively take from them. None of us are that altruistic. Therapy is supposed to be one place any of us can go, and know that when we go, we can expect to receive everything except the fee-for-service. Therapy should be the closest thing to a one way street in this non-altruistic world.
To my rescue, Kirsten said,
He has been meeting with friends, exercising, eating out and working the 12-Steps twice a week.
Yes he was sober, but he was also a bunch of other stuff. Taking care of himself, he became a better husband. Better body, clearer mind, happier, more attentive, less angry; she could hardly stop listing.
Taking care of himself took a lot of work but it made taking care of her a lot less work. True, she wasn’t the center of his life, she gave up on some fantasies, she didn’t ask him for more time, but all those in the past had only grown her own point of anger and blame and not the marriage dreams she thought they would – letting them go was a good thing. Yet, cutting him free still felt risky to her. She came to me because she was becoming more aware of what that fear was doing. When she was afraid, she was sabotaging herself. Bits of herself recognized that she could feel as free as her husband did.
To be free of fear for Kirsten, she needed medical help. Kirsten’s fear came from nowhere, out of the blue and was not only triggered by suspicions about her husband. To be free for Kirsten’s husband required other forms of self-care.
Question: What kind of self-care does your freedom need? How has your hard work on your own self-care spilled over into less work to care for others?
- Set Your Self-Care Free. It Is Not A Moral Issue. (friendtoyourself.com)
- Self-Care is Freedom, is Democracy, is Because We Are Accountable (friendtoyourself.com)
- Know What You Are Fighting For – Your Right To Journey. (friendtoyourself.com)