Last weekend, I got a call from a man I hadn’t heard from in 20+ years. At first I was glad to hear from him. But then –
He didn’t ask if it was a good time to talk.
He didn’t ask how I was or anything about my life these days.
He did go on and on about the current political morass, the virus situation, how he’d been ‘dragged through’ a devastating divorce…
I’m not one to sit around and complain – not only is that boring, but I’m too busy to spend time on that.
Instead, I consider what I don’t like, and if it’s something I can change, I’ll take what steps I need in order to do that.
If it’s something I cannot change, I try to change my attitude towards it, so at least it doesn’t sit inside my mind scraping at my internal peace.
So in the middle of one of his complaints, I asked, “Sounds like a lot to take – what are you doing to alleviate your stress?”
The silence was palpable.
Instead of answering my question, he started ranting at me that I must be ‘one of those woowoo pain-in-the-*** mindset advocates whose head is in the clouds and needed to ‘see reality’ and come back to earth.’
HAVE YOU HAD ENOUGH YET?
I don’t need that kind of invasion of my space! Right then and there, even as he loudly continued, I hung up.
He called me back.
I didn’t pick up.
He left a message about how rude I was, and that I’d never hear from him again.
I laughed, and thanked goodness!
As far as I know, there isn’t one rule that says I have to sit there and listen to anyone indulge in self-pity and rage.
And I certainly don’t have to hear blatantly mistaken opinions about me and my life from someone who hasn’t connected in over 20 years!
Years ago, I’d have probably tried to be nice. Not any more. There would have been exactly zero benefit to either of us.
WHERE DOES REAL SELF-CARE START?
I think what we all need is the ability to recognize when we are being invaded, abused, manipulated or pushed around by someone.
Then we need to get past our ‘want to be nice’ conditioning, so we can do what it takes to get back to, or stay on, an even keel.
You know when someone is talking to you and your belly starts to ache, or your heart squinches in, or you feel like you’re gasping?
Or you start feeling confused or mush-headed?
That’s when you need to put your hand up and say, “Excuse me, I need to see a man about a horse,” or some other non-sensical phrase that creates a pattern interrupt.
Then you quickly escape to the bathroom or your bedroom or out of the house, so you can take a deep breath, re-center and regain your sense of inner peace and solidity!
Next, you choose whether or not you want to go back and try again with the person, or simply stay away.
ARE YOU LIVING YOUR OWN LIFE?
Stop living someone else’s ideas of what your life ‘should’ be.
Stop ‘being nice’ and doing what mom or dad or hubbie or wifey wants you to do!
YOU get to choose how your reality feels.
YOU get to choose what you want to do.
YOU get to choose who you want to hang out with – if anyone.
Take your own path. And take delight in it!
If you live by anyone else’s ideas, or someone else’s dream, you are not living at all. You are dying on the vine.
And you are probably full of deep-seated, unconscious anger and despair at not being able to fulfill your own potential.
Do the REAL self-care.
Ask yourself, all day long, is this what I really want to do?
Is this (boring/hard/tedious) chore furthering my freedom/creativity path?
Or is it something I think I ‘should’ do?
Is this situation adding to my ability to contribute?
Am I being of value?
Is this experience allowing me to feel love, joy, inspiration?
Asking questions like that is the Real Self Care.
Because if you are less than pleased with the answers, you’ll be able to choose and make new supportive choices, and create your life from there. The way YOU want it to be.
Image: Relax, Oamaru Limestone, 7″ x 10″ x 1″