As a caregiver for someone with cancer, you spend a great deal of our time taking care of everything and everyone around you. Household chores, work, kids homework… the list is never ending. You might feel exhausted, unhappy, and maybe even stuck. When this happens, it’s very easy to neglect yourself. You start letting your self go. You stop exercising and eating healthy. You stop caring about our hair and clothes.
This is the exact time that instead of neglecting yourself, you begin to understand and cultivate your relationship with yourself! This is especially important when your partner has cancer!
What Is A Relationship Anyway?
Most people think a relationship is between two people. That is not entirely accurate. Really, a relationship is just the thoughts we think about the other person. You can have a relationship with someone who is no longer alive or who may be far away and you don’t speak to very often. How you think about them will determine your relationship with them regardless of how often you actually interact.
Relationship With Ourself
We also have a relationship with our self. Just like with other people, our relationship with our self is determined by the thoughts we think. We can have a crappy relationship with our self and not even realize it. We may talk badly to ourself, scold ourself, or not honor our commitments to ourself. We can get in a rut of negative self talk with out even noticing. We may berate ourselves or beat ourselves up. We may look in the mirror and groan, call ourselves fat and disgusting.
Nothing Good Comes From Being Negative
All of this negative self judgement has no upside! It only serves to bring us down further in the dumps. Sometimes we think by getting mad at our self, we’ll be motivated to do better. Not true. Negative thoughts lead to negative action.
Why It Matters
As someone who has a partner with cancer, you want to show up as your best self. However if you are struggling to connect and love yourself that will be reflected in how you interact with others.
Our relationship with ourself is the basis for our relationship with everyone in our lives. If we are judgmental with ourselves, then we are for sure judgmental with others in our life. When we can first learn to be loving, kind and forgiving to our self, it will then be easier to be loving, kind and forgiving to everyone else.
What Is Your Relationship With Yourself?
Start becoming aware of how you talk to yourself. Do you say mean things? Are you judgmental? Do you hold yourself to an impossible standard then get angry when you don’t meet it? Do you keep your commitments to yourself?
You have to expose these unintentional thoughts for what they are, just thoughts. Sometimes awareness can be powerful as you may not have even realized how negative and judgmental you are.
Soften Your Thoughts
If you have been really negative with yourself, the first thing you can do is just soften those negative thought. When you soften, you just take the negativity out. You’re not switching to thinking your wonderful, your just changing the thoughts that you are bad, or wrong, or stupid. For example:
Instead of thinking “I look fat”, think “this is my body right now.”
Instead of thinking “that was stupid!” think “next time I’ll do it differently.”
Most Important Relationship
The most important relationship you have is the one with yourself. When you cultivate your relationship with yourself, you will find it easier to connect with your partner and everyone else who needs you.
Connection with others starts with connecting you your self! I urge you to start becoming conscious and aware of your relationship with yourself.
Resiliency is built from the inside out, so start treating yourself with kindness and respect.