01/08/2017

Please Excuse My Self-Care

Posted in Encouragement, General, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , at 12:54 pm by The Water Bearer

So often in my own life, and in the stories I’ve heard from loved ones, acquaintances and potential clients, self-care takes a back seat. Usually because we have somewhere along the way believed the stream of accusations of our selfishness, whenever we disappoint someone, either from critics around us, or our own internal voice. We find ourselves with no free time or energy, as we try to meet all the demands and responsibilities placed upon us.

We then transform into people pleasers, consumed by pedantic expectations, driving us to twist and mould into the cookie cutter shape someone else has decided we should fit. We tend to fall into the mindset that if we put everyone else’s needs before our own, then we must be right. Righteous even!

After this song and dance routine for a few years, it can be common to hit a wall. I don’t know about you, but I found it exhausting trying to keep appeasing each new unpredictable disappointment in those around me.

We are prickly creatures sometimes, us human beings, and we have a knack for taking our crap out on those closest to us. If we are lacking in self-awareness we fail to understand where the line is that allocates blame, and unable to own our own disappointments. Rather, we let fly on others, with only excuses and accusations for the outbursts.

For those of us who have commonly been on the receiving end of these outbursts, becoming a “People Pleaser” is almost second nature. Cleary accusations and guilt trips are obviously things we instinctively want to avoid, and it is often easier to change ourselves accordingly, especially when there is no apology in sight to release us from the blame.

The reason this constant shape shifting drives us into that wall, is because shape-shifting actually prevents us from knowing who we are, what our purpose is, and where we draw self-esteem from. Which is completely unsustainable long term. Plus the inner discomfort is toxic, and it usually manifests in our lives in self-destructive and unhealthy ways. Binge drinking, eating, smoking, promiscuity, and other addiction based behaviours.  Shape shifting consumes our self-compassion and our joy, leaving us with a tank emptier than an oily rag.

If we think about it logically, we only become more selfish when our tank is empty, we begin to put up walls so that we have fewer people to please. Often that empty tank leads to some form of physically illness and we suddenly realise that our illness is a wonderful way to shift the blame off our shoulders, a great excuse for failing to meet the demands of our relationships and our lives ….”I can’t keep you happy when I’m not 100% can I?”

Now be careful if this is starting to sound familiar, because it can become a viscous cycle!

This is a common reason why so many avoid regular therapy, or avoid any serious steps to develop their faith. They avoid making any positive changes in their diet, exercise regime or bad habits, and it’s why they remain stuck in a rut with staggering levels of low self-esteem, unhealthy relationships, and selfish misery.

However, setting aside time and effort, creativity and passion for your self care and the things that fill your soul, is actually going to benefit more people in the long run.

Hear me out on this.

It seems everyone now is talking about self-care vs selfishness, and the difference between having self-interest and being selfish. Is it more and more common for people to use ‘self care’ it as an excuse to get out of doing the things they don’t want to do? Which actually if you think about it, takes healthy self-care and turns it into selfishness. HOWEVER, if a little self-interest helps generate more self-awareness, less reactive behaviours, and increases joy, self-compassion and tolerance. The fall out it seems, is that self-tolerance leads to increased ability to tolerate others, self-care increases our ability to care for others in healthy ways, spreading joy and peace. Perhaps the only negative consequence is that we just might piss off a few high maintenance people along the way. Which we were probably already doing for the wrong reasons before, and I can tell you, that they will singing a different tune when you find your tank full enough to actually help them when they Really need it!

So go ahead, give yourself permission to take care of yourself! Attend that Sanctuary Stretch Class, take ten minutes to listen to that Scripture -Meditation, enjoy some quiet moments in that warm bubble bath. Start that project you’ve been pondering. Set in place some healthy practices and protect your need to honour them. You not only Deserve it.. you Need it!

www.sanctuarystretch.com 

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03/06/2013

A Slave To Guilt – No More!*

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , at 4:12 pm by The Water Bearer

Slave

I used to think my Dad was narrow minded and hard to please (back when I really didn’t know him). He would ‘tut and huff’ under his breath if he came across something that bothered him, and I always felt guilty just being myself around him. I later learned that he wasn’t tutting at me, (He was tutting at the increasing level of evil which he felt all around him), but I was so used to guilt trips, that I thought I was disappointing him each time I heard that “Tut”.

After 10 years of close relationship with my Dad I came to believe I was good enough. Good enough for him, and good enough for God. When he passed away and took his place with the stars, I knew his approval, acceptance and love for me could never change. He loved me and was proud of who I am. This realisation gave me a wonderful freedom from the guilt that had haunted me all my life. Then everything changed. I began to work hard on building boundaries against those who used guilt to manipulate me. Those who tried to make me feel not good enough, so that I would change to suit them.

It seems a popular topic at the moment. Many feel guilt from expectations, and the difficulty of establishing a healthy boundary with those who use guilt to manipulate. And many more think their expectations should be forced onto others, at the cost of being kind, or giving grace. They become manipulative, without even realising it.

The problem with having expectations is that you can be thrown into a negative mindset when they are not met. I remember being adamant about what I thought others should do, especially a romantic partner, a parent, or a sibling. It caused me to be constantly disappointed, surrounded by drama, and bitterness grew easily in my heart.

We all have various expectations, it is what makes us human, but are they reasonable expectations, or are they restrictive, high, and unreasonable?  Do we expect others to behave in ways we have determined to be right or acceptable, and find it unbearable when others have completely different views? This can make personal relationships extremely complicated and difficult.

Guilt has some terrific benefits to the human condition, it convicts our hearts when we need to correct the choices we have made. To develop and grow into who we really want to be. The consequences of our choices is what brings about this healthy type of guilt. Sometimes we can come to the conclusion, for ourselves. Other times we forget to self-assess and it takes an outside source to point it out to us. These can all be beneficial experiences in the long run,  if we are open to them.

However, when someone tries to force us to feel guilty because we didn’t meet their unreasonable expectations, this guilt changes from being beneficial to being manipulative. It is up to us to get honest with ourselves, to consider if we trust ourselves to decide, and if WE can live happily with our choices. The reactions of others may or may not be in line with our thinking, and it seems to have become too common to slip into trying to please every man and his dog, as a priority over what we believe is right for us, living guilt free.

This is such a complex issue and so many variables make it hard to give one simple answer. That being said, I have found that being a “people-pleaser” (i.e. trying to stop people being disappointed in you) only gets you so far before you begin to lose sight of who you are and who you want to be.

Setting a healthy boundary decreases this manipulation. This boundary might be, to consider the feelings of others, but only so far as to weigh up the possible consequences of your choice, and accept that they may not like your choice. Recognize that coming up against opposition doesn’t automatically make you wrong, or in need of a good dose of guilt. Think it through, are they being reasonable or not? Are they supporting the choice you are making for YOUR own reasons? Or are they putting their own expectations over your permission to choose for yourself?

I am so very glad that I had Dad to show me how toxic high expectations can be. He taught me to aim for grace over restriction, to try being accepting instead of dissatisfied.

Life is hard enough without tripping over the graceless expectations from others. We are human after all. The ability to get it wrong and change is upon our own shoulders, no one elses. Grace is a blessing waiting for us to grab onto. Give Grace to others, but also Give Grace to yourself and be freed from manipulative guilt!

Free

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