You can't give what you don't have
I've been saying this phrase over and over again to my clients in my practice. Everyday I see people who are stretched beyond capacity and are grasping at straws to keep their anxiety at bay. They are constantly in crisis mode, basically firefighters putting out fires. So I tell them, you can't give what you don't have. You can't help everyone around you if you don't have patience or energy. You can't run all day if you haven't slept well. You can't be present when your mind is always occupied.
So I repeat again, you can't give what you don't have.
Truth? Can I be really real? I honestly need to follow my own fucking advice.
I connect with my clients because I am right there with them. I know what it feels like to work, to parent, to "adult" and keep going until my head explodes. I know what it feels like to grin and bear it and try to seem like everything is okay when it clearly isn't. I am almost daily trying to give what I don't have.
There are consequences to this, by the way. Not only is it impossible, but the effort leads me no where good. Headaches, muscle tension, poor sleep are my go-tos when I am overextending myself. Frustration, lashing out in anger, impatience that often lands on my husband and children, the people I love most in the world. That's when the guilt starts. So I go back to the drawing board tomorrow. Tomorrow I will be able to give what I don't have if I really put my mind to it.
"The definition of insanity is repeating the same mistakes over and over again and expecting different results". Did you know that Albert Einstein didn't actually say this? I've read it comes from Alcoholics Anonymous literature. People love this phrase because it makes sense, and yet we all keep repeating the same mistakes.
I need to self care, right? This is what I talk about with my clients and in my own therapy. The thing is, self care can be a really annoying thing. For me self care doesn't look like massages and pedicures. No, for me self care looks like daily walks and making a schedule and sticking to it. Making my bed every day and getting the kids' lunches prepared the night before. That sucks. I wish the answer to my overwhelm was a facial but instead it's facing the things that I want to avoid but that ultimately help me feel better.
I'll be honest again. I know what it feels like to have something to give because I've worked very hard to take care of myself, even when it feels counterintuitive. I may lose my way every once in a while, but I know how to jump back onto the path. Sometimes I have to walk a different road, one that is new and bright and so I need to learn new ways to give to myself. How did I get to this point? I learned to face some very deep and self sabotaging beliefs that were guiding my behavior like, I'm not worth it or disappointing people means they won't love me anymore. Those beliefs were driving my choice to prioritize everyone and everything above myself.
I know that I'm worth it and that anyone who wouldn't love me because I disappointed them wasn't worth my love anyway. When I can really connect with the supportive thoughts, my actions are guided by self care.
So, are you giving what you don't have?????