August is here! And with it, I am most likely in the month when I will deliver my baby. As you might imagine, I am feeling everything right now. My nesting instinct is intense (you should have seen me in Target today) and my emotions are as strong as they are varied.
Mostly, I feel like things are developing as they should (imperfectly of course) and I suspect this baby will arrive exactly when he should.
Until that day, I am excited to keep sharing my hard-won lessons for practicing self-care in relationships.
For so long in my life, relationships felt messy. I didn't know how to set boundaries and got my feelings hurt when other people did. I feared abandonment in relationships - romantic, familiar and with friends - and thus, had a really hard time committing to people. When I did invite another person close, I spent most of our time together scared he or she would see the real me and decide to leave. Sometimes they did and if they didn't, I usually did.
I watched other people have healthy-seeming relationships and felt confused. I just had no freaking idea what I was doing wrong. Did I need to lose weight? Should I be more outgoing? Should I be reading more and thus seem more intelligent?
It took a lot of work -- and I mean a lot of work -- but eventually I had some substantial relational breakthroughs. Particularly over these past couple of years, the quality of my relationships has increased and I enjoy being with others so much more. And thank goodness, I didn't need to lose any weight or change my personality to make that happen.
This ongoing weekly video series outlines the lessons that helped me the most along the way. Since relationships are such an important part of our lives, I don't think we can leave them out of the self-care conversation.
To me, understanding real self-care in relationships seems like the next logical step for us to keep developing as cared-for human beings. Although the work has to begin with us, we just can't keep these lessons inside. It's only in sharing them that we can transform our personal self-care into the larger care we are craving for our world.
But before we get into this week's lesson...
Have you checked out last week's video on how a little intentional care can change the tone of your relationships? If not, watch it here.
Or the week before when I covered how to differentiate our emotions from others in relationship? You can see that one here.
In this week's video, I share my breakthrough insight on intimacy. For years, my dear friend Lindsey has talked about this great buddhist-inspired therapist and writer named Bruce Tift. She told how much his teachings had helped her in her marriage and as a mother. She suggested I listen.
Of course I was stubborn and ignored her suggestion for a while. Then, I finally had a listen to his interview on Sounds True. And Lindsey was right -- it was so amazing! Immediately, I understood why I was always so drawn to emotionally unavailable people and why the more I pushed, the more others pulled away.
Bruce's lessons on intimacy are too good to not share. So in this week's How to Stop "Fixing" People (And Finally Start Being Happy) video, I break down Bruce's teaching as simply as I can.
Understanding this teaching has helped me:
-be ok with fears that arise around commitment
-soften my perfectionism in relationships
-attract emotionally available people
-not run away when things get challenging
I hope you get as much from it as I have and that it improves the quality of all of your relationships, including that important one with yourself.
As always, learning is great but we really have to practice our self-care. This week, notice when you start to pull away in a relationship and experiment with leaning in instead. (Or vice versa if your pattern is to cling). If you're feeling abandoned, ponder if YOU could be the one who is really afraid of commitment.
These aren't easy lessons, but taking the time to learn them can help unblock a lot of hidden fear. Understanding our deeper fears frees up a tremendous amount of energy. We move out of avoidance and into the world.
Personally, I believe we need this energy to consciously create the world where we want to raise the next generation. I imagine it as a world founded on the strength of our relationships. I see it as a world where we are free to lean in and out, as needed, and for our choice to always be treated with care.