Stop Battling Yourself
Last week in my email newsletter, I asked for help through a survey. Many of you took your time to fill it out, and I deeply appreciate your thoughts and insights. (If you haven’t filled it out yet, you can click here. )
One of the submitted Questions from the survey is from a mom with whom I can completely empathize. I have been this mom many days, on more occasions than I’d like to remember. Perhaps you can relate too?
“Teresa, I love what you’re doing! And I want to do the “right” thing for my family, but I find myself being so exhausted and drained – more so than I ever thought I could be. I am worried that my fatigue is negatively affecting my parenting and I’m going to repeat cycles that I am working so hard to break. It’s hard to ‘transform childhood – transform the world’ when all I want is a nap! What do I do?”
And here’s my response, which I’d love to actually be able to share with her over a cup of tea.
I totally hear you. The fact that you are even wanting to foster equality for yourself and your family is a huge feat. And I want you to know that this is something I am always working on as well. Equality in families, in parenting, creates a crazy, amazing, challenging life where people connect to who they really are, learn from each other, bump up against each other, reconnect, heal the hurts, and keep doing that every single day.
So, not only does it TAKE effort to achieve it, but it also CREATES situations that require more attention too.
We have to balance so many things as parents, the needs of children and our own needs. We have to balance our internal expectations as well as the external expectations around us. Sometimes we have so much to do, that we can’t take time for ourselves and the tiredness mounts.
So first, I want to give you a great big hug. One of those hugs where you just let it out, in a big sigh.
The kind of hug that parents need, but we don’t often get.
The kind of hug that says, I understand, I’ve been there, and I am with you right now, together.
The kind of hug that also says, we can do it!
I have a couple of friends where that is the kind of hug we give each in those moments when we have the look in our eye that says, I feel like I am barely hanging on here.
But when we’re not with someone who can give us that connection and support, sometimes we have to do it ourselves.
And let me be clear when I say:
The power of that hug is in the full presence and the letting go of the battle against how we’re feeling.
When we are with others, it is sometimes possible to sink into the feeling and let the other person hold us up in that moment, right? So my question for you is…what does that look like when we need to give ourselves that level of support? How do we create the full presence with ourselves?
This is an exercise that I do often…. maybe because I feel tired a lot and I want things to be easier too!
I offer my strategy as something to try on for you. If it works, fantastic. If it doesn’t – that’s information too.
I close my eyes.
I take a deep breath.
I allow myself to be as tired as I truly am.
I stop fighting what is happening in the moment.
I feel the weariness.
I feel the weight of everything on me, and I allow myself to be fully present with the tiredness.
So let’s say you are standing in the kitchen.
You feel your feet on the ground and breathe in deeply.
And you feel the weariness and tiredness in your body.
And you just let it be that way without judgement or trying to change it.
You notice all the thoughts and feelings in you.
You feel where the tiredness is in your body.
You relax your jaw, drop your shoulders and lean in to all that you are feeling.
Give yourself that big hug and allow yourself to be fully present with everything happening.
It’s okay to give into the feelings and stop fighting them.
We learn to be at war with anything that we deem “bad,” whether it is feelings, actions, people, food, ourselves. The energy we spend fighting against how we feel is exhausting.
When we allow our feelings to just be there and accept them without judgment (or even just a little less judgment) it is like giving yourself that big hug of love and acceptance. It is just what we need.