So, every relationship has it’s up’s and down’s, right? I am finding that in this day and age, EVERYONE has baggage, no matter how long you’ve had to get over and deal with your past. I have noticed that for me… I think I’m past something and then next thing I know it comes back to the surface in one form or another. Then, I have to go deeper and deal with it in a different way and become more aware, etc…
I have this guy that I love so much and although we’ve only been together a little over 2 years, we have been through some STUFF. When stuff first started, I was much better at being understanding and considerate, etc… I still struggled with being clingy and needy, but I was better able to catch it and back up. As time has gone on though, I find I’m not as understanding, that I’m frustrated and codependent/controlling and scared and fearful and I see that I tend to remind him of all his exes (who don’t trust him, who tell him what to do and basically, who does not respect him) and he will say or do things that remind me of my former husband. Things that make he feel like he doesn’t care how I feel, etc…
When I can back up and have some moments of clarity, I KNOW that my reactions are not helping either of us and they are pushing him away. Right now, we still make up, but there are times when issues come back up and the fights happen sooner and they are getting uglier and just all that mess, right?
So, my point in all this is… I love him and he loves me and I know we can build a beautiful life together, but not if we continue to go down this path we seem to be starting. I think… “Surely, there is a better way!”
I learned in Al-Anon that I cannot control others, but I CAN control myself! So, I went on a search for something that might help and I found Laura Doyle! For a year off and on I have been reading her blogs, participating in the FB community and trying haphazardly to practice the “skills” she teaches. I have struggled, because once things get easy and nice again, I forget and slide back into old habits.
Lately, things have been tough and they have lightened up some and gotten better, but I want to practice these skills until they become a part of me. The awesome thing is the VERY FIRST skill that she tells you to practice is self care! What? Seriously! And you must hear what her definition of self care is…
“Focusing time and effort on activities (or non-activities), that make you feel good, IN THE MOMENT”
So, this isn’t about doing things that make you feel good later and you know what else? She says to plan pleasure FIRST, not after you get your chore list done AND, she says that your time seems to expand when you put yourself first! In fact, this is what she says about planning pleasure first!
“The indispensable first step to having a great relationship is to make yourself happy by practicing self-care.”
When you think about it, in relationships we always think the other person should make us happy! When we are single, we say, “Make yourself happy!” When we are in a relationship, we say, “If they aren’t making you happy, you should leave or end it.” When did it become someone else’s job to make us happy?
I’m not saying stay in a miserable, toxic relationship. What I AM saying is that you cannot rely on or expect others to make you happy. Ultimately, that is your/my job to do it for ourselves.
Anyway, one of the first things in her book I’m reading says to:
“Make a list of twenty things that you enjoy doing just because they make you happy. This is not a list of things you feel you should be doing, but things that delight you. The more frivolous the better!”
So… I realize this is already long, but I’m going to post my list of 20 here… IF I can come up with that many!
- Reading books that AREN’T self improvement, just fiction for the sake of reading
- Watching a girly show, or movie with drama, laughter, tears
- Savoring a chocolate bar or sweets/dessert
- Holding the new grandson when he’s near… looking at pics and videos of him when he isn’t
- Writing and sending an encouraging letter or card to someone else, or even just a catch-up letter
- Connecting with my older children, as well as family and friends I haven’t talked to in awhile.
- Blogging feels good when I need to vent or I’m excited about something
- Drinking a hot cup of coffee with a pastry of some kind
- Getting a mani and/or pedi
- Getting my hair washed, cut and styled at the beauty salon ( I LOVE when people play with my hair!!!)
- Dancing (alone) – but want to practice to get better so I feel more confident to dance in front of others – I also want to do a “sexy” dance routine for my man, so… dancing alone might be a good thing to work this routine up and get confident with it!
- Listening to music for whatever mood I might be in
- Trying new foods that I don’t NORMALLY order just to do something different
- When I’m feeling all domestic, I enjoy cooking
- Dreaming and planning for the future, but not when I get too obsessive about it
- Sitting outside in the sun or breeze, not doing anything, just sitting… maybe a drink to match the weather
- Drinking an alcoholic beverage with a nice dinner, or during a girls night or just because – trying a drink or type of alcohol I’ve never tried before ties in with this. I don’t enjoy getting drunk though…
- Having deep, meaningful conversation (hard to do by yourself and nobody seems to have time for it these days – but I DO crave it)!
- Naps are fun, even short ones
- Go for a walk, just to walk, not to be in a hurry or exercise or any of that, just to be out in nature enjoying the scenery
Other Self Care Ideas
I linked the above url due to that list of 20 was harder than it sounds and I had to google this article to help me with ideas on the last few! Seriously, I asked myself the question on each one, do I enjoy this activity or do I enjoy the results? For instance, I enjoy feeling like I look pretty with my make-up on, my nails done and my hair fixed, but I do not necessarily get excited to paint my nails, fix my make-up or hair… it’s just a means to an end. UNLESS… I am not rushing for work and I have time to just play around and experiment, etc… So, my list of 20 are all things that make me excited when just thinking about doing them, not how I will feel after.
Hey, it’s a start! LD (Laura Doyle) says you should PLAN to do at LEAST 3 fun self-care items/day and that if you are feeling grumpy or dissatisfied, then you should do more! The idea is to fill up your own tank of feel good!
So, what do you all think of this? Anyone familiar with Laura Doyle’s relationship coaching? What do YOU like to do for self care fun? PLEASE… don’t think that her entire teaching is that self-care will make your relationship work, lol! It’s just the starting point to feeling better and being responsible for yourself! We all know things look better and have a more promising outlook when we ourselves are happy and doing things to take care of us!
Feel free to join me in this adventure!