Today I woke up and acknowledged that, while nothing is wrong, there is an uneasy feeling. I had known since the night before that I would need TLC coming my way and that I didn’t know where that was going to come from. Could I call my sister and blurt a lot of what I was feeling so I could relieve myself of it? Could I ask my partner to take time out of work for a call? Did I have to sit tight and know that “this too shall pass”?
At first, I assumed any TLC would have to come from me. Positive thinking literature would suggest that I need to nurture myself, and ask my higher power for nurturing or for the strength to trust that nurturing will come. Then other people spontaneously are attracted to nurturing me after that’s in place. Every day I work to turn around negative thinking (I’m even writing a book on the topic), and every day I more or less win the battle. But I’m exhausted.
I feel like I initiate almost all the healing I receive. I make the phone call, I gather community for support, I offer love and support so that I can display the behavior I want to receive. I initiate my ass off when I need healing (and at all other times)! But sometimes, it still feels like I’m shouting in a wilderness. When healthy self-soothing techniques fail, I resort to Pringles and whiskey. That takes a toll!
My realization further is that I do not ask for nurturing because I want others to discover for themselves that they are, in fact, in the mood to nurture and not that my need prompted them to act. Where does this come from? After doing formidable healing, I know that a myth I’ve believed is: Need itself is judged to be bad, so I cannot let any attention I receive stem from need and I cannot trust the act of nurturing (because people don’t meet needs because they want to, but because they want to get the ‘bad’ to stop for their own comfort). It again boils down to having decided in my immature mind that my needs are bad because they are not met, and that I therefore must not display needs.
But really, how do people know when to take care of you if you do not display need? How does my party host know I need the bathroom if I do not ask where it is located in their house? Learning to trust equals learning to ask equals learning to stand on my own two feet. So my self-sustaining survival instinct needs to learn that displaying need is self-empowering. This can only come from seeing evidence of it in action. So:
I threw up on my Facebook page an admission that I was feeling pessimistic (slightly beside the mark). My aunt responded with the usual “that happens to us all sometimes.” Mildly helpful, thanks. Then my guy chatted from work and asked was I feeling “pessy”. Awesome new phrase–I’m taking it. But then he called when he was on break, and said I was usually his sunshine, so he was concerned. That broke the ice a little. So I felt acknowledged for usually being the positive force of my nature. Then, I realized I didn’t want to play the role of “buck up little camper” for myself. So after a tap dance of trying not to ask for anything from him (“I’ll be okay; It’ll shift on its own; nothing’s really the matter”) I told him (screeeee!) that I needed a little TLC. And then through my squinted eyes…
It didn’t kill me. I have a need–I have needs. And now I get to tell myself that whether or not someone rushes over to my house with a bag of Oreos and a DVD of Amelie, that people at least are not going to shun me for expressing a need. My guy was really awesome about it–why was I surprised? And my sister listened and understood, which is quite awesome. It really helps with the self-soothing when I know others are concerned for my well-being. I need to initiate a campaign of asking more often.
Thank you for reading.