Sooooo, Valentine day. Is it a man made forced romantic load of nonsense, or a useful measure of how much a potential new flame, partner or even children have been thinking about you?.
Not in the how much they spend , but the gestures and thoughtfulness throughout the day. I know we shouldn’t need a day to do this, it should be in our relationship daily, but taking time to reflect and honour each other has to be a good thing, right?
I came across a piece I wrote on the eve of my birthday last year. I now feel ready to share it. The pain and disappointment has eased. I thought it could be useful to know, even though I’ve been a stress management coach and remedial massage therapist for many years, seeing hundreds of happy clients, balancing out negative energies and soothing souls all day. Sometimes my wheels fall off the wagon too. I don’t always communicate effectively, I contain and let it go, in a not so controlled manner. Here’s how it went, enjoy!
I’m absolutely fuming and disappointed with the whole thing of being a mother and being a wife. Countless hours I spend doing things for other people, putting their needs before my own, making sure they’re fed well, looked after, emotionally stable, entertained, dropped off and picked up from various, sometimes miles away destinations, at different ends of the day. I thought I was raising the next generation of caring and thoughtful boys, who would go on to cherish and nurture their partners and children and all living beings. But no. I’ve now come to the conclusion I live in a house of narcissists
It’s my birthday tomorrow. No big deal. I’ve heard my husband mention a few times, “oh I’ve not got you anything yet”, “I’ll nip out on Saturday (the day before)” So Saturday comes around, he’s got someone coming over to pick up some stuff, then we’re meeting friends for lunch, so he said he has 40 minutes. He’d tried to rally the kids a few times, but they were still in their pj’s, doing their various screen pursuits.
So I said, you know what, don’t bother, I don’t want anything. If you can only spare 40 minutes, how much care and thought is going to go into the present, I’d rather not get anything. To which a “oh I don’t know why you’re being like that, I can’t win, I say I’m getting you something…blah blah blah” So husband leaves the house, without a goodbye…
So I visit each of my gorgeous boys and express my upset that it’s my birthday tomorrow and they haven’t shown any forward thought to it, as you’re much more interested in what you’re doing now. Birthdays to me, are about recognising what that person has done for you all year and giving that extra thanks.
This is probably why I’ve never really liked my birthday. I do love to give to other people, it brings me great happiness. I do not expect anything in return, the energy exchange of the hug, thanks or grateful smile is enough. But with the people closest to me, who I give so much of myself to, I can’t help feeling disappointed at their lack of effort.
My middle son, (after he’d finished that match he was playing on ps4, obviously) did jump up and start making me a card, which is the best type. Then he text me to say he was walking to the shops, obviously not wanting to come anywhere near me in person. As I looked out of the window, the heavens had opened, with a flash downpour Adelaide is becoming famous for. My heart dropped, he was going to be drenched. So I grabbed my car keys and headed out to pick him up, just as my oldest was about to walk to the shops too. Our exchange wasn’t pleasant, as he was in defensive mode that Dad didn’t tell him, he didn’t know he’d gone, I was going to give him money, I didn’t get chance to get you anything..again blah blah blah. I said you have all year to buy a birthday gift for your Mum. Shall I adopt the same behaviour when it’s your birthday in a few weeks, Oh I didn’t have time to get you anything, there’s no party because I couldn’t be bothered to get dressed and lazed around watching TV all day instead.
The youngest he did say he’d make me a card, but couldn’t leave his game right now, because he couldn’t save it. So I said, if that’s the most important thing in your world right now, then you carry on. I’m just explaining how I feel. He decided he could leave the game and started to make a card 🙂
Stress in it’s rawness
Each person in our house dealt with this stressful situation differently.
Husband – defensive and deflection
Oldest – blaming others
Middle – slight aloofness, then acceptance and action
Youngest – bewilderment, reasoning, then acceptance
Me – rage, upset, flight, regret, sadness, fight, anger, bewilderment, numbness, acceptance.
We all have a belief system about ourself. Mostly we have been given this label throughout our life by subconscious programming from others. She won’t talk to you, because she’s shy….He’s so bold and will do anything, ….She’s a dolly daydreamer, always away with the fairies….. But what happens when we start to question that. We can no longer live this false truth. Mine has been, oh she’s the good one, never a bit of trouble. Which is positive and caring, but comes with an amount of burden too. What if I don’t want to be the one who thinks of others before myself, what if I matter too?
This exchange happened because of lack of communication. I wasn’t expressing my thoughts and feelings gradually, saying “you know what, I’d really like to be cherished and looked after on my birthday, It’s important to me”. Instead I’d say, “oh it doesn’t matter”, “I’m not bothered, I’ll put it money my dressing table/art stuff/insert blank here… Containing and releasing it all in one go, has a varied response on the recipient, which can deflect back onto the person trying to express themselves, but that’s their stuff not yours. It’s not your responsibility to nurture other peoples feelings when you’re upset at lack of care shown towards you, but it is your responsibility to say how you feel throughout, without any need for hurt and recrimination. I’m grateful every day to have a little family of my very own, because I know in an instant life changes, so I cherish every magnificent and mundane moment of life. It is ok to feel let down sometimes, it is ok to voice unpopular opinions and it’s ok to let it go and move on.
Things aren’t always what they seem
So there you have it. On the outside people can appear calm and collected, but the river runs deep. I hear all the time clients and friends saying, oh but their life is so perfect, I see the pictures on Facebook and they’re always doing this and declaring that. But is this real? The outside doesn’t always show what goes on inside. All we can control is how we feel. We need to realise we control our thoughts and feelings, they don’t control us. When we honour this and take control of our minds, we become very powerful. And with gratitude we also find happiness in everything. The leaves on the trees, the wind, the rain and all the beauty around us.
So on the eve of Valentine’s, what will your day hold? Will you find disappointment, because it doesn’t go as you planned in your head? Or will you take action, book a nurturing treatment, walk in nature, catch up with an old friend and make it the best day for you? The choice is yours.
Be Happy – Stress Less
6 Ridgeway drive