Another week has passed! I didn't have my baby, although I did get a little nervous on the full-moon this Monday because I've heard babies like to come on full-moons.
However, he stayed put and instead I used the time to stock up on nourishing post-natal foods like supplies for homemade granola and bone broth soups. This stage of gathering my resources has been inspired by this wonderful book on postpartum care (thank you Lauren for the great recommendation). It's helping me to see the cultural importance of supporting new mothers and how essential it is for new mothers to receive the help.
(I've also taken some great classes at the Breastfeeding Center in downtown DC. If you are expecting and/or need to get outfitted for parenthood, I highly recommend their services.)
Another week also means I had time to record an additional relational self-care video. As some of you may know, I'm creating this ongoing series as the antidote for the pain of trying to "fix" other people while sacrificing our own happiness in the process.
I hear this pain often from my clients. Frustrated, they talk about how much they wish their spouses or mothers or sisters would get healthier. They know how much happier they would be if they could only get them to.... (fill in the blank here). When they refuse to listen to us, it's only more painful.
I know this pain because I've gone through it most of my life. Because I didn't feel comfortable in relationships, I thought it was my job to get the other person to change. This caused a lot of unnecessary suffering because, as we all know, I was NEVER going to get the other person to change.
Focusing on changing the other person often kept me from taking healthy action for my own well-being. Sometimes I really did need to let go of people who felt toxic. However, I only knew that I needed to leave when I really accepted them for who they were. Seeing fully, I walked out the door and closed it behind me.
Other times, I was over-focusing on another person so I didn't have to change. Spending my mental and emotional energy wishing someone else would change meant that I didn't have to focus that energy on myself. Once I let go of my fantasy to rescue this troubled person, I was left with the reality of the changes I needed to make. As I humbly began to make those changes, I saw that the person ceased to bother me so much. Sometimes they actually began to make a few natural changes on their own. Go figure!
Whatever the outcome, trying to "fix" others has been a huge hindrance in taking charge of my own self-care. Understanding this tendency in myself has helped me to begin to the process of letting it go. This has opened vast amounts of space for me to actually be happy. I think we all deserve this happiness. It's with this intention that I share the next video in the series with you.
But before we get into this week's lesson...
Have you checked out the first video on how to differentiate your emotions from others in relationship? You can see that one here.
Or the second one on how a little intentional care can change the tone of your relationships? If not, watch it here.
Also, in last week's video on why we are afraid of commitment and/or attract emotionally unavailable people I share a huge relational breakthrough. Check it out here.
In this week's video, I talk about the concept of belonging. As Brene Brown discovered in her groundbreaking research on vulnerability, we almost never talk about belonging without talking about love. To us, a feeling of belonging is built into a feeling of love and vice versa.
This is wonderful, but what happens when we don't feel like we belong? What if we are born into a family or community where we have to sacrifice our authenticity in order to belong? What do our lives look like when we think we have to people-please so we can be accepted?
These are deeply essential questions that we will struggle with until we achieve a real sense of belonging in our communities. Lord knows I've struggled with them for years. Yet with help, I've found a few tangible ways to achieve an authentic sense of belonging. It's highly imperfect but it's also changed my life.
If you are struggling with feeling like you don't belong in your life, then I want you to know that you 100% deserve to be loved and accepted for who you are. This week's video outlines how to do just that.
This video on the importance belonging will help you:
-let go of sacrificing your sense of self in an effort to "fit in"
-understand the loneliness that comes from hyper-independence
-create a community where you feel a real sense of belonging
-learn to regulate between your desire for authenticity and your need for acceptance
As you watch, I hope you realize that it's not a weak thing to need other people. We all need other people! We are built for connection and begin to wilt when we aren't able to receive the love and support we desire.
Just like everything, our self-awareness that we want to belong is such a wildly important first step. Yet realizing we need to be supported by other people doesn't meant it will happen overnight. We might make a few awkward attempts and unconscious missteps. Alas, this is life in all it's imperfection.
My suggestion is that we just begin the journey to come together. We place one foot in front of the other. When we are tired, we can rest and eat delicious snacks. If we need to cry, and we probably will need to cry sometimes, we let ourselves do just that. We stay with ourselves and find that over time, others will have joined in beside us, their footsteps foreign yet familiar.
Then we can learn to walk together, which is always a bit slower and definitely a whole lot messier. There will be squabbles along the way and someone will definitely eat the last cracker. Yet the joy of being together will make it worth it. Being within it is so fun. It's so very why we are here.