Maybe shocked is a little extreme, I have managed to give myself whiplash again, emotional whiplash, which may also be an overstatement. I’m so dramatic today! I have a nasty kink in my neck again. I have family in town this week, and have been spending time at my parents, it may have been the nite on the couch. Although I don’t want to belittle the toll emotional work can take on a person. I struggle finding a balance. I feel guilty taking time for myself, or saying no to any activity. But I know that until I give myself the time and attention I need, I am no good to anyone. So although the family is here, and I have the week off work I set aside 4 hours to read my book and do some homework. I went to Starbucks and grabbed a tea latte and a cake pop to go, I set out my poster board, a fresh box of tissue, a mirror (because part of my exercises involved looking at myself and talking out loud, to myself, It felt forced initially, but I think it evolved into a good tool), a pencil, a new gel pen a couple note pads, and some markers. Different colors and thickness, including some smelly felts Vanessa had sent me in the mail a few weeks ago.
I put on some music, and sat on my floor, it was stormy outside so a good day to start in. I had marked a few exercises in my book, and made some headings on my poster board. I wanted to run away, but as Vanessa had so eloquently put it, I was sitting in a dirty diaper, time to change it. This book talked about a “self love tree” the roots being ones self worth. Each chapter started with a quiz where you determined your pulse, or strength level, then was followed with exercises and mantras, examples of others situations. As I went thru I discovered some of my branches, like self awareness, empowerment and expression were vibrant, lush, and in full bloom. I realized that my self pleasure, trust and acceptance branches have been getting more attention and lately and have greened up. My self esteem branch has always been fairly sturdy, not always full of foliage, but sturdy. It was no surprise that my self care branch, well, it has no leaves, and a couple nasty cracks. My self compassion and forgiveness branch is so withered it’s on the verge of breaking. I put others first, and I never forgive myself. I feel that unless I give, I don’t deserve to receive. I need to change my hardwiring. I can, and should take care of myself before I take care of others, I deserve love regardless of what I give, and I will be supported when I choose to support myself first.
I pride myself on being compassionate of others. Understanding, empathetic, aware and understanding of peoples situations and struggles. Why do I not apply such love and care to myself? Critical of every choice or feeling. I deserve compassion, no matter what, and without cause. I have to learn how to give it to myself. Could I have done things differently? Of course, but I was doing the best I could with what I had. I didn’t know then what I know now, I couldn’t have, and there will be times where I won’t know again. Until I can forgive myself, I can’t fully forgive anyone else. This path of life is life long learning, like a toddler learning to walk, you wouldn’t berate a 2 year old for falling over, you offer him a hand and help him back to his feet. Although looking great in tights, knee boots and a cape, I am not a super hero. I don’t have superhuman strength, I can’t read minds, I don’t have a truth lasso, dammit… I deserve to give myself the compassion I pour out to others, and let go of some of these perfectionist, crazy making ideals I collar myself with.
The last branch shocked me, as I opened up the chapter on self respect and honour I smugly thought to myself, this chapter… I’m going to nail this one… Well the results of my quiz were astounding. This branch, not a leaf on it. The wood is good, but it’s not flourishing. What the heck? Really? I respect myself, I don’t do things that are risky, I’m not promiscuous. I let go of toxic relationships, I know I deserve respect, and I honour my self? Yeah I do… I thought I did. I was reflecting that my ex didn’t respect me, loved me, yes, but respect…? Not really. Goldy made me feel respected, and it wasn’t until then I saw any deficiency.
So what was my problem? I do respect myself, I honour myself, I know I am important and valuable. But I don’t command that respect from others, I let people disrespect me. I even make excuses for them. I lost myself… they have a lot going on… yadda, yadda, yadda… I am respecting myself, but not expecting it from others, which makes that branch weak.
This is a great example, I have a friend who is always late. we arrange a time to meet, she is constantly 15-30 min. I feel disrespected, my time isn’t valuable to her. What do I do? I start without her, or I make plans before I actually want to meet in order for her to make it on time. I am manipulating the situation, and she is being disrespectful of my time. I discount my feelings about being left waiting, and minimize the importance of meeting at the agreed upon time. I need to stop. If it is not possible for her to be on time, I must respect myself and stop making plans. Or I need to express to her, how being left waiting makes me feel. And then stop making plans.
“Respect and unconditional love are not upgrades, they are mandatory. If you want to be in a relationship with me, I need you to respect and honour me.”
I had my eyes opened. It was a reflective day, and I ended up writing so much I used up a gel pen, the entire thing! I picked away here and there on my triggers for over giving, and it evolved throughout the day, what it boiled down to was, when I am not getting my needs met, I over compensate by giving. Unconsciously I am trying to spurn reciprocity, without being concise about what I need, often not knowing what or why I need it. Interesting. It isn’t a specific event or pattern, but it is always when I feel not enough. Blaming myself for someone else’s deficiencies.
I finished my book, cleaned up my mess, packed my bag an thought a bit about what I wanted to do. I decided a 30 min gym trip would do me a world of good, so instead of rushing to see the family I went for a good, quick, but good sweat. Today is the same, family still in town, but I slept in, leisurely got ready, looked at couches and appliances, went to starbucks and blogged. I will do a little packing as well. I do feel guilty, like I should spend the day either with the family or being ultra productive packing. Not really caring or compassionate to myself.