I had a chat with my husband last night over this question – have I lost my empathy? The answer thankfully is no!
What prompted me to ponder this question is that I have made incredible inroads with my anxiety disorder. I no longer break down into an uncontrollable crying mess when others I love are suffering. This to me seems harsh and very cold because this is how I have previously gone through their dilemma with them. I was essentially “living” the horror with them and literally feeling the pain. Now I do understand that this reaction is not healthy, but when you stop feeling for them in this way, it somehow feels inadequate.
My husband was extremely proud of me and explained that what I was doing was in fact being strong, supportive and empathising as it should be done. So essentially, I understand the pain and what they are going through, but am identifying with them because I have felt the same or similar emotions that they are now experiencing. I am not engulfing myself within the emotional pain and making myself sick over how they must be feeling.
It was not only nice to hear what he had to say, but it also allowed me to broach another subject with him – the fact that I was worried I wasn’t providing enough support for him. Owning your own business can be very stressful at times and his stress levels can run very high. Once again, because I wasn’t overwrought with worry, it seemed to me that I wasn’t “being there” for him. That maybe I wasn’t sharing his pain as much as I should.
What a weird and wonderful thing an anxiety disorder is!
It’s a new and strange feeling being able to stand back from a problem, fully understand it and “feel” for the person without drowning in the emotions. It feels like I’m seeing things from a distance because I am no longer falling into my own inner slump….like standing on the outside rather than being in there gloves and all.
I think I like this, it’s kind of freeing. The strength and resilience within is liberating. Being able to set myself free from a problem and see it objectively, look for solutions and act on moving forward must be a step in the right direction. Have I lost my empathy, no, I’ve just become a better friend, mother and wife 🙂
Have you lost sleep over someone else’s problems?
Have you ever over invested in someone else’s pain?
Have you ever suffered from an anxiety disorder?
Women are supposed to automatically tap into their parental intuition as soon as they become mothers, however I am not so sure I was given that gene. My husband on the other hand seems to have tapped into his. Last night for example, he “intuitively” knew that my son was putting reams of toilet paper down the loo – how was this possible? I dismissed it at the time, but sure enough this morning I find my son in the bathroom unraveling the paper straight down the toilet so he could get to the ‘telescope’! When I asked my husband how he knew, he just said “I don’t know, I just had this feeling“.
I have a friend who amazes me when it comes to intuition. I remember being at a mutual friends house one time where her husband was on the balcony with her two children. They were not visible to us, but mid sentence she swans out of the room and scolds the children for climbing the balcony rails. Now, I’ve heard of (and possess) eye’s in the back of your head, but x-ray vision!?!? Her husband didn’t even have time to react before she instinctively knew the kids would try to climb up. This woman is clearly connected to her intuition beyond my comprehension.
My Mum also possessed this “power”. Many of my friends parents did too. How on earth did they know what you would do before you had even thought about doing it? How is it possible that those mums knew EVERYTHING? You can’t even put it down to past behaviours or even knowing your child, these people seriously have some eerie psychic shit going on.
Even though I think my intuition may be a bit skewed, I’m not saying I am a bad parent. In fact, I’m pretty damned good if I do say so myself! I think though that my parental skills are mostly based on knowledge and learned behaviour rather than intuition. You see although I was the ‘baby’of 7 children, my mum used to mind anywhere up to 30 children at my house as I was growing up. I therefore have years of experience in dealing with children of all ages so much of it comes as second nature, but intuition, I’m not so sure mine is that finely tuned.
Are my parenting skills based on common sense rather than intuition? Do I rationalise everything too much? Am I too scared to rely on my own gut instinct? Do I fall into the trap of over thinking things. Do my anxieties go into overdrive and cloud my judgement (as you know by now….I worry, I worry a lot!). To sum up, how do I know whether I am making a decision based on anxiety or intuition or even instinct versus intuition?
With these questions in mind, I did as I always do….research, research, research!
Instinct versus intuition is a much easier puzzle to solve. I think my instincts are sound. The actions I do in an instant without thought are in fine working order, but the intuition side is still a little muddled. So, after wading through quite a few ‘airy fairy’ accounts of what intuition is, I found one that stated that intuition is where you are able to perceive something that is not plainly evident, where you can see beyond the obvious. Ok, so I can think of many times in the past where I have used my intuitive skills with friends or with clients. I can think of times where I’ve slapped myself upside the head because I didn’t listen to myself, but can I think of moments where intuition kicked in with my son?
As I pondered this question, I came across an article that explained that sometimes the less you analyse the pros and cons when it comes to decisions, the happier you are in the long term. The longer you mull over the decision, the less satisfied you are. There are many times where my anxieties take over when it comes to my son. Like every parent I want the world to be at his feet so I think about things that can go wrong, but for the most part, I just do what I do not in fear but in love. Maybe that is the answer….I do use my intuition. I do what feels right. Looking at the evidence in front of me, whatever it is I am doing, I am doing a bloody brilliant job of it, so why mess with it by over analysing it? 🙂
How well developed is your parental intuition?
Do you have a story of when your parental intuition kicked in?
Do you ever miss the person you used to be? I’m not just talking about the ability to bounce back after a big night, or to fully function on 4 hours sleep (although this would be delightful), what I mean is the traits you used to have.
Having gone through depression and ongoing illness for over 10 years, I seem to have lost a big part of myself. I remember one of my good friends describing me as having lost the twinkle in my eyes. Somewhere in all that was going on at the time I lost my sparkle.
My husband was telling me the other day that he had met this woman that reminded him of me – “you know the way you used to be”. He went on to describe a vivacious, chatty (oh yeah she could talk!!) and bubbly lady who had all the traits that I once possessed. This was not a hurtful comment, it was true, we both know I have changed a great deal and the reasons behind that, but it did get me thinking.
What happened to the girl that travelled Europe at 18 all by herself? The girl that was told a number of times that she lights up a room when she enters? The girl that would turn up to a party and know almost everyone who attended by the time she left? What about that girl that was ever so reliable and if she started something, then she would follow through?
Did the demon anxieties take over or have I just grown up? Have I become cold, cynical, untrusting? As you know I do suffer with anxiety issues. I worry, I worry a lot! I was once carefree and now, I seem to spend more time caught up in my own dramas and those of the ones I love. It is very difficult to break free of a mindset that you spent what seemed like an eternity in. Being sick all the time has a tendency to break you down and I worry that I have not only let it take over my life, but now as I am trying to move onward and upward that it is still holding me back.
As I embark on my journey in designing my new life, I would like to get some of that old girl back. It is sooo very easy for me to fall into old patterns, but new habits need to be formed. I spoke recently of living in gratitude and I now go to bed each night listing the things that I am grateful for today. Luckily I wake up to my sons hugs and kisses (you know its the only way mummy can wake up) so instead of the sinus headache setting the tone for the day, I get to wake up enveloped in love.
My husband luckily loves me just the way I am. I don’t wish to speak on his behalf as his story is not mine to tell, but I think it would be safe to say that it has hurt him along to way to watch some of those things in me die. I hope that as I move forward I can gain some of that back and take charge of the person I am going to be. Not just for me, but also for him- going through something like that with someone is extremely taxing and there is a helplessness that nobody (let alone a man) finds easy to deal with.
So what is it that I miss the most? I think it is the energy, being constantly on the go and having a very full social life. Also, the reliability and dependability – you could always count on me.
So how far have I come? I’ve discovered the causes of my ill health, I’ve taken charge of my diet, dropped the weight and maintained it helping me to claw back some of the energy that I once possessed. I’ve done a style workshop, went shopping with a stylist and feel more confident when I stride out the door. I raise my son to know that ‘where there is a will there is a way’. My husband and I have implemented date night to reconnect each month and we will finish building our pool later this year providing incentive to return to the “party house” we used to be (well a little different – that picture now involves a gaggle of kids in tow).
So, do I miss that person I used to be? Hell yeah! But I am determined to make the future person a slightly different and better version.
What do you miss about the person you used to be?
What is it about our youth that makes us look back longingly?
Have you been through something that has completely transformed your life?
Today I had a lovely surprise. It was unexpected but very welcomed – I have now lost a total of 14.5 kgs!!
My original goal was to lose 20 kgs. That would put me at the lower end of the healthy scale for my height, however once I hit the 12kg mark, I
found I was very happy with where I was and have maintained that weight for some time now.
I guess what was so lovely about the extra 2.5 kgs was that I had been sick for many weeks. If you have been following me on my blogs or social
media you would know I’ve been hit with an onslaught of different issues including the flu, intolerance to the antibiotics I was on, allergy
flare ups, sinus infections and generally feeling horrendous!
I have not been diligent about my maintenance program, have taken more “days off” than I was supposed to and have done absolutely stuff all
exercise (or basic moving around for that matter). So, it was with great joy that I jumped on the scales to see that I was dropping kilo’s
without trying….how nice!
It’s funny the things that can make you smile. Even though I am perfectly happy at this current weight, I was still thrilled at having lost more.
Maybe it was because these past few weeks have taken me back to the old days where every day was an ongoing battle with illness. Maybe it is
cause I’m a step closer to my original goal, or maybe I just needed a bit of good news for a change. Whatever, it has reminded me of the need to
be grateful for the little things.
So, today I pledge to try to live in gratitude once again.
Can you list at least 5 things you are grateful for today?
Has anything happened to you recently that just made you smile?
I had a huge response to my blog on starting an awareness campaign for lesser known food chemical intolerance’s. I was so grateful for the support and this generated a burst of enthusiastic energy but I still had a big question….how the hell do I do it?
Firstly, I decided to submit my story to ACA. Great start, but they must get thousands of story submissions, so I am guessing there will be a fair wait until it’s looked at and even then it may not make the cut. This will require some patience and maybe a bit of persistence, so where to from here?
Secondly, I approached the allergy and intolerance unit I attended to give me information about any groups or associations out there that I can join forces with etc.
Of course there is the endless hours I will spend trawling the internet to see what I can find, but that is where my creative juices stop 🙁
Now, I’m a fairly intelligent and spirited person, so if a 9 year old girl by the name of Katie Stagliano from the US can get others inspired to help feed the hungry (and I know about it) then it shouldn’t be that hard right? Plus, it’s not like I want to start a ‘not for profit’ or charity, so there should be some pretty simple ways to go about this, I’m thinking.
So, where to next? That is the question…
That is where you come in!
Have you ever started an awareness campaign, crusade or mini revolution?
Have you promoted your business to groups, committees or associations – what worked for you?
Please share any advice, tips, tricks and tactics to help me on my way.