The worst loneliness

Posted: January 17, 2013 in Personal

The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.
–Mark Twain

I have been struggling with something and it’s been worse the last few days. My self esteem is in the crapper. The obvious reason is easy to determine– I am in a relationship for the first time in a while. I have been very happy but all of a sudden, in the last week, I have not felt very good about myself and that has resulted in my being really defensive particularly with my sig other (feel kind of dumb calling him “boyfriend”, at 42 years old it just seems weird).

I spent a good portion of today pondering what triggered it and what I need to do to make the situation better. Ultimately I think I have figured out what the trigger was but I can’t go back in time and change anything about it. Nor can I take back my not so pleasant behavior of the past week. The only thing I can do is go forward.

Yet I don’t know how to go about making myself feel better about me. I mean, I know I need to engage in more self-care. For the average person who hasn’t been in therapy before, self-care refers to the every day things a person does to meet ones own needs and those needs range from physical care such as getting enough sleep to complex emotional care such as managing one’s anxiety or setting proper boundaries. I know this and I even know what actions I can take in order to improve my self care and it definitely needs improvement.

My real problem is I don’t know HOW I can do those actions. For example if I exercised regularly I would not only look better, I would have more energy, sleep better, and reduce my IBS symptoms. Except I don’t know where to squeeze it in. My lunch hour? No, because I often end up using my lunch hour to run errands or I work thru the time to make up for time missed for other reasons, like illness, appointments, etc. Early in the morning? This would mean less sleep and I already feel like I am not getting enough. At night? I have two and a half hours on work nights to be with my son before he goes to bed. Once he is asleep I finally get about a half an hour to an hour of quiet time to read, write or watch something other than Yo Gabba Gabba. Then I go to bed. The weekends are worse because then I am usually juggling my son, my daughter and her soccer tournaments which start up again this weekend, and time with my sig other and his son. Not to mention the errands and cleaning and laundry that needs to get done on the weekends. Do you see what I mean? It always comes down to trying to decide what gets sacrificed, who gets shortchanged so I can have the time to engage in self care.

This isn’t a new dilemma….every mother that ever existed probably at some point has gone through the same analysis. In the end I can’t bring myself to shortchange the time I spend with love ones. And I am already more lax in cleaning and laundry than I really feel comfortable with being. So what can I do?

I am just going to try to change some aspects of my communication habits because it’s one of the things I can do. First I need to listen more and give people the benefit of the doubt. If I have reason to doubt them, I will question them in a non-accusatory an open manner. Defensive communication usually involves rapid fire, knee jerk responses. So the second thing I am going to do is to pause before I speak and weigh what I really intend to communicate. And third, I need to let those close to me know that I am struggling with this and ask them to help me by being patient and telling me when I am being defensive.

As for the self care, maybe things will get better when the kids are more independent, in about 20 years. Just kidding….sort of.

  1. Not a mom, but I still cherish my ‘me time’ and would really dislike any attempt to make exercise ‘fun.’ I was thinking about one of the tiny pedal-exercisers used for physical therapy – I could sit on the floor, blog and read and pedal away. And not have a huge expensive dust-collector in my living room.
    I’ve had therapy and didn’t get much out of it – I dislike talking about my problems to anyone. I think your idea is a good one, but be cautious of using the warning to others as an excuse to be snarky. I’ve caught myself doing that!

  2. I’ve totally been where you are (sometimes still am), but from someone a few more years down the road in motherhood, I just want to say try not to wish these days away. When you are where I am, you will wish you had them back. In the meantime, I am sending you virtual strength and esteem. You are stronger than you know. 🙂

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