I use to b a person who lived by my TO DO list. If I didn’t check enough things off, then I felt like I didn’t accomplish anything. I made sure I worked out regularly, got enough sleep and ate healthy homemade meals. These things were important for my health and wellness, but I became so rigid, any disruption made me extremely irritable. I measured my own value by how much I stuck to my schedule and “got things done.”
I tried to approach my husband’s cancer the same way. Make lists, get things done and things will get better. Well, this approach has not worked.
This Can’t Go On
After multiple nights of waking up at 2 am, thinking about not only how much dealing with cancer sucks, but also pissed off that I can’t sleep and will be suffering tomorrow at work because of it. I kept thinking, this can’t go on. I have to fix this! But I couldn’t fix it.
Those of us who are pretty disciplined, at least in certain areas of our life, usually set high standards for ourselves. When we don’t achieve that standard, we get mad and berate ourselves. This is what I was doing every time I felt self pity and resentment towards my husband and his cancer… everything. I kept thinking I should be strong and positive. It is what it is, there is no use complaining about it! At the same time, I just wanted to stomp my feet and bang on a table. My true thoughts were, I just want this to get easier!
I Should Be Better Than This
I’m a grown woman, wife and mother, and here I am wanting to throw a temper tantrum at the unfairness of life! I’m also a coach and understand that my thoughts cause all my feelings. I should be better than this!
I was sharing these thoughts and feelings during a coaching session with another coach when she offered up that I should be kind to myself. Nothing has gone wrong here. Have some compassion for yourself. With what your going through, its OK to have feelings of frustration, anger, and self pity. You just need to decide how long you want them to stay.
This was freeing. I had been feeling so bad and judging myself for my feelings of resentment and self pity. I was feeling bad for feeling bad!
Treat Ourselves Kindly
We find it difficult to treat ourselves kindly. Want to control ourselves and the world around us. We want to have it figured out, be able to handle any challenge. We measure ourselves by what we accomplish, how much we get done. Then when we fail in our own eyes, we end up either with too many glasses of wine, or stuffing our faces. Still, the result of this over time is that we stress ourselves out and end up burnt out.
What is burnout but merely our inability to treat ourselves kindly. I’m not talking about treating yourself to a hot bath with candles. And I’m not talking about wallowing in self pity. I’m talking about allowing yourself to feel the sadness, anger, frustration. Feeling the unwelcome emotions without trying to stuff them down with food, alcohol, and TV. Being kind to yourself also means not feeling bad for feeling bad. Sometimes this means talking to yourself with compassion. My mentor, Brooke Castillo says to herself “what’s a matter, love?”
Give Yourself Time And Space To Feel Bad
So, when you’re going through a particularly rough patch in your cancer journey, give yourself time and space to feel bad. Anger, resentment, frustration, self pity – let them all be there without judgement. When you allow them to be there, it’s so much easier to decide when they need to go.
Imagine your life if you take just one action today to take control of your mental health. If you do nothing, then nothing will change. Take just one step to get back in control of your life again by scheduling a free consult. This one phone call could be the pivotal moment in your life.