Self-Care Tip #195 – Take care of yourself to give Love to others.
Belen came in, confident. She was comfortable in her element. Working in her area of specialty was her delight and she didn’t worry about clocking hours or mixing it up with family. Her work was part of what family meant to her. It was what brought pleasure to her life.
“Wonderful!” you say. And yes, it is. “Why then did she come in to see me?” you ask. Glad you asked.
This was Belen’s third marriage. Marriage was not where she felt confident. Talking marriage was when her lip surfaced, quivering on her face, transforming her. In the past, Belen had often dropped her husband’s name, laced him into stories she told and her ring was a favorite finger toy. I had the impression that Belen was proud to be married to this man. But it wasn’t until today that Belen spoke about Ben directly.
I sat up because I was curious about this emotion that had flickered behind it all until today, when it was front and center.
In this case, Belen was afraid of her emotions in fact. She was aware of them, but they were in a foreign code to her. Tap-tap-pause-tap-tap-tap-pause… and so on. She started by telling me about their evenings together.
Ben was a grazer who expected open time with her. Belen, however, was a barn girl. When she sat with her husband in their “open time” over a slow dinner, a drink, watching him read a book beside her – it took everything in her reserve each day to stay put. All her nerves were dancing, telling her to get up and work. It was what gave Belen her quality of life. Her work was her self-care. Ben’s time to meander through thoughts and play was in contrast, what gave him pleasure in life. He waited all day, pushing through a task driven job, to come home and do this.
Potential negative energy was coiling up inside and Belen was afraid that she might be overcome by it. Belen did not want to think about what that might end with. Another failed marriage? Losing this man she was so glad to be married to? Dying alone? She looked at me sideways, ashamed of her emotions.
I’m turning into Crazy Wife. I yell at him for things that are no big deal.
My answer came too fast this time. It wasn’t graceful or polite. I regret that. It’s never been a forte for me and one of the reasons I recommend my patients find a psychotherapist who will patiently stand beside them rather than collar them and drag them to water (like a certain psychiatrist I know.)
Do what gives quality to your life. Claim it when you do and don’t hold him responsible for it. He’ll feel guilty and defensive. ‘Oh, I have so much work to do honey. I can’t sit here…’ You are not a victim. This is your choice.
Unfortunately, there was more along those lines, but like Kevin Blumer says,
I wish the blog world was the same as the real world where people have a chance and can think about things before they (say) them.
Alas, at least we have our keyboards, pencils and erasers.
Belen was losing her lovely confidence to resentment because she wasn’t doing what she was wired to do. She wasn’t owning her choices. She thought loving her husband meant that she shouldn’t and because of that, she was only giving him her uncared for self. She didn’t realize that doing what gave her joy was the best way to Love others.
Question: How do you help the people you love realize that when you take care of yourself, you are taking care of them too? (This should get interesting!) Please tell me your story.
- Love & Marriage (pawprintsinslavery.wordpress.com)
- The Paradox of Positivity: Are Some of Us Being Too Positive About Our Spouses? (psychologytoday.com)
- How to Predict Whether You Should Stay or Go (psychologytoday.com)
- Work Hard to Take Care of Yourself If You Want An Easier Time Taking Care Of Others (friendtoyourself.com)
“I’m happy when you’re happy.” I have heard that so many times as I have been healing. I wasn’t working; I wasn’t volunteering; I wasn’t raising children. I didn’t really know what to do with myself, and, having always been someone for someone, doing anything for me seemed foreign and wrong. However, I had always wanted to paint or draw; to play with photography; to write; to catch up on so much reading, and I never allowed myself those luxuries because I was so busy trying to impress someone, keep someone from not likeing me..or loving me. Now, I had the time (HAVE the time) but I still have trouble doing the things I’ve always wanted to do. Gotta get the house clean, the laundry done, the drawers straightened, before…But, when I do get a drawing done or read a book or…the reaction from family and friends is, “Good for you. It makes me so happy to see you doing something you want to do, and look at how happy (or relaxed) you look!” I don’t have to make the people I care about understand that taking care of me is taking care of, or loving, them. I have to make ME understand that it’s okay to take care of me and that, in doing that, I’m taking care of them.
great twist nancy! convincing ourselves is really the 1st step. consistent w “everything starts and ends w me.” what’s the point if we don’t believe it 1st? nice. many thanks.
I am really loving this grazer/barn girl dichotomy you are starting to weave in your pieces. First, I love the metaphor, and second, I love that it can be one of your unique features of Sana and her writing.
I am a barn girl who wishes she could be a grazer and like it, but who knows she is a barn girl and has made peace with it.
When I need some time, I explain to my kiddos that I need to “re-energize my batteries like charging an iPod” (is this the modern era or WHAT?), and that I will be a better and more fun mommy when I have recharged.
i thought i recognized u chewing my hay when i wasn’t looking.
I used to have this feeling of resentment towards my husband, even early on in our relationship that would cause me to give him attitude and snap at him for no apparent reason. He just seemed so carefree all the time and was able to joke around and be happy all the time, while I was this depressed grouchy person who had a hard time even smiling. I don’t know why I felt this way toward him because I loved him so much. I guess I resented the fact that he had friends and a close family. He had a nice childhood, total opposite from my dysfunctional upbringing. He was very socialable while I am an introvert. Sometimes I still feel that feeling of resentment coming over me and I notice that I still give him an attitude and purposely ignore him at times…just because I’m jealous that he has such a carefree spirit and it isn’t hard for him to happy. I’m too occupied at times with my jealousy and that is what keeps me from concentrating on my own happiness instead of someone elses. Since I’ve been on my meds, things have been getting better. I find myself not really caring about how happy he is and focusing more on my OWN happiness. I mean its not like I do not want my husband to be happy. Instead of hating how good he feels, how many friends he has, or just him enjoying himself, and me sulking about not having the same enjoyment he has, I need to do what I need to do to take the necessary steps to achieve the same kind of happiness instead of being envious. It’s a pretty embarrassing thing to admit to feeling such resentment towards my own husband. I want the both of us to be happy together. Like I said, my meds I feel has helped out a lot, but I have also started to do things that I enjoy on my own, like riding my bike around the neighborhood and working out and going to the library. Since I’m feeling better about myself and doing the things that make me happy, I no longer am so preoccupied with how my husand is and me being so depressed because of it. It has made our relationship better and I am a happier wife and mother.
jjen, here u go hitting us w these amazing stories of yours. thank u very much for reading and sharing. what a journey. what insight u have. u r a woman claiming her freedom. something many would die for. keep on.
Oh dear, this resonates, I’d never thought about it before, but Belen sounds an awful lot like me!
don’t b disappointed. this is good news. u r way forward from where u might hv been if u didn’t see yourself, good and not so good all in lovely u. i celebrate these moments w people. time to party as far as i’m concerned. hugs
This is an “aha” moment for me! I used to think I was wired to work and take care of others and could not just sit and be. It did and still does give me a sense of need in taking care of others, but I was also a control freak! I married a man who has no problem “being”, and I have learned the best things in life through this relationship. Yes, there is work to be done, but it can almost always wait. We have learned to tune into each other’s needs. Sometimes, my nervous energy causes me to have to do something, but I’ve found that in learning to just be, I’ve gotten in touch with the most important aspects of my life and our relationship with one another. Did this make any sense to you at all? I suppose it is all a matter of balancing my needs with those of others.
such a compliment really that this resonates w you. thank u suzicate for your thoughtful comment. and yes, it made perfect sense, the balancing of needs. that’s what’s lovely about taking care of ourselves. it actually gets things into balance a lot easier than manhandling the “weights” on the scale. hugs.
Just visiting quickly! 🙂
I so agree, once you’ve found time to engage in activities that give you joy you’ll inadvertently pass on that newfound joy to others.
i felt the wind but it didn’t smell 😉
thanks for reading and commenting sweet u. keep on.
this one is hard and i think its also hard for the person on the other side to see this they have to realise it the way i did it was this is what i was like a year ago no good to me no good to you what am i like now so use commparisons there for you are backing yourself up
it is helpful isn’t it, to remember and use memories as markers in our lives? thanks kevin. keep on.