There’s a thing I do in relationships which has been making relationships of all kinds incredibly difficult for most of my life. I take everything very, very personally. I can’t hear emotional criticism without falling deep into a black hole of self loathing, where the only thing that makes sense is leaving the relationship to spare everyone the awful reality of me. As I type this, from a well-rested, un-triggered and objective perspective this sentiment is totally ridiculous, but in those bleak moments it feels very, very real. On Tuesday, therapy day, I arrived at a new reality where I finally learned that resistance is fertile.
I sat in our therapist’s office with both of my partners and listened to feedback directly linked to my parenting shortcomings and for the first time I was able to talk myself down from the ledge. As I teetered on the lip of that black well of self loathing my inner voice said “hey, don’t do that. You’ve made some mistakes, some big ones, but you’re working really hard, and growing and all of the wonderful change you are making will be bigger and more memorable than any pain you’ve caused because you’re waking up now, and that is awesome.”
It wasn’t easy. I don’t want to mislead anyone here. As I realized my inner narrative was shifting, sounding so cheerily unlike me, my gut was to scoff at this, to dismiss it as cheesy and foolish but somehow I pushed through. I don’t know how I did it. I resisted the urge to go to that bleak place, and a bounty of open listening and present attention was waiting. Instead of having a shitty post-therapy day I enjoyed a yummy lunch with my partners at our favorite Mexican restaurant, and then got some good work done.
Here’s what I’ve been doing, and I think my success is thanks to these combined efforts:
Taking my vitamins regularly
Making careful, less carb-intense food choices and ‘treating’ myself with fruit and good chocolate instead of whatever crap I can grab from the candy shelf. (In our new house, the candy shelf will be eliminated.)
Exercising every day with at least twenty minutes of yoga
Going to bed earlier to make sure I can get eight hours of sleep and still wake up at 5:30 for my quiet, meditative yoga time
Tackling home organizing projects
Approaching work and money with care and organization
Taking self-imposed time outs when I need to, adjusting plans to reflect my level of anxiety (I love you, and I’ll see you soon, when I am more able to be present in your company!)
My internal/emotional process is finally slowing down, especially when I am triggered. There is time and space to be objective, and more empathetic. I can take better care of myself, and those around me. I’m resisting the old normal, and even in the moments when I slip, when I can’t catch myself before falling into negative behavior, I can bounce back more quickly and make apologies and amends with humility and grace.
I am good. I am a child of the Universe. I can change and grow and be deserving of the abundance of love in my life, and so can you.