I don’t like conflict. It’s in my nature to flow and smooth things out for myself and others in all ways. Comfort is my baseline.
When I Flow
Ask me to make home made Indian flatbread accompanied by curried, ginger and garlic lentils, served with a side of zucchini cubes, sauteed in mustard seeds and curry leaves. Ask me to sew a hem or construct a minecraft-lego-lava house to the left of the magical portal my son has meticulously instructed me on, I’m on it!
When I Don’t Flow
Ask me to voice ugly truths I have come to grips with in a personal relationship?…. Ummm no.
I’ve realized that I have, in certain relationships, been twisting myself in knots to avoid the laborious act of expressing what needs to be said. As a result of this self created torture, increasing the TLC I give myself to cope with it! This ridiculousness has allowed things to get inevitably and unnecessarily complicated.
I have been living by the mistaken belief that, when things get uncomfortable and awkward in relationships something has gone “wrong”. A lie of course.
The Truth About Relationship Awkwardness
The truth is, when relationships reach that growing pain threshold of navigating a challenge together, the gift of matured trust and intimacy awaits on the other side.
This sounds all good in intellectually explaining it and it seems an obvious no brainer as I type those words, yet something in my brain wiring is experiencing this as a major epiphany. It is what it is. What I think about me, how I see myself, is not necessarily accurate in how I ACTUALLY go about being and doing me.
Ahh the psycho-biological onion never seems to stop peeling.
The Ultimate Self Care
Truth is, in relationships the best self care in the short and long term, is to work up the fortitude to come out with it as respectfully as we can. The most mutually respectful thing one can do in a relationship is to show who you really are and put the ball completely in the other person’s court and be in that vulnerable place of seeing if they want to keep hanging around or not.
No More Lies
With this emotional risk comes the payoff of living cleanly and preserving that feather light feeling in the chest of having been true to yourself and your conscience, whether the relationship survives the growing pain or not. The alternative? Buying time in the supposed comfort of “not rocking the boat” and allowing the real connection to die day by day as your truth stays locked up inside your heart.
The ordure will inevitably hit the fan and in the meantime living within the confines of this fragile safety net can silently eat away at us. There’s also the emotional hangover of having to recuperate from that painful ordure splitting experience once it does happen.
The Comfort Cocoon
It is draining to live in fear. There is a subtle distinction between giving ourselves self care and distracting ourselves with creature comforts to avoid doing the uncomfortable, muscle building aspect, of living honestly…the ultimate self care
The conviction of living with purpose cannot coexist with convenience.
The Muscle in Honesty
Buffering oneself from making difficult choices with activities disguised as self care can become a habit if we’re not careful. This is the difference between those self care activities that are nice on the surface like a massage, a manicure or even exercise and those that direct us inward like journaling or meditation. All are good, yet their on a spectrum of what lengths they go to to take care of us on the inside, beyond the skin deep. The contemplative activities flex the muscle of facing ourselves, lending itself to the ability to face others.
End Of Life, Bottom Line Question
Ultimately, our self care is there to help us live honestly and that will be reflected in the caliber of our relationships. Having had 4 people in my life passed this year, this bottom line question takes center stage:
Are the self care activities I engage in helping me to more fully love and let myself be loved? Or are they a self pampering barrier to that love?
What do you have to say about distraction and self care? I’d love to know!
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