A client recently said to me, “I finally figured out that whenever I am complaining about someone else not giving me what I need, I first have to look and see if I am giving it to myself. And if I am not giving it to myself, I need to start there.”
She was sharing how overwhelmed she was feeling and that she repeatedly kept getting frustrated at her husband. Didn’t he see how overwhelmed she was?! She just needed him to back off and give her a break! Later she realized how much she wasn’t giving herself a break. How hard she was pushing herself and driving herself. Her husband was not the cause of her overwhelm, she was.
Whenever we begin to notice our frustration with others building, the first place to start is with ourselves.
First, ask yourself: Are you listening to yourself or are you ignoring your inner voice calling for a break?
First, ask yourself: Do you appreciate all you are doing or do you just keep hammering yourself to get more done?
We do it all the time — we look to others to give us what we aren’t giving ourselves. We want others to appreciate us, but we don’t appreciate ourselves. We want others to listen to us, but we don’t listen to ourselves. We want others to love our bodies, but we hate our bodies. We want others to give us a break when the last thing we ever give ourselves is some love and kindness.
And we take it one step further. We take the stuff we are beating ourselves up about and project it on someone else. So we make a gigantic story that someone is disappointed in us when in reality we are disappointed in ourselves.
It reminds me of a story from last summer. I told myself and my husband I would pull the weeds in the backyard, but it never happened. So I kept telling myself what a lazy person I was and how my husband was so disappointed in me that I hadn’t done it yet. I thought to myself, I wish he would back off about the gardening… I just haven’t gotten to it yet. (Side note: He never mentioned the weeds or the garden.)
As I headed out to the garden, I said to my husband, “I’m finally going out to pull those weeds I promised I would last weekend. Sorry, I didn’t get to it earlier. I know it has been driving you crazy.”
My husband looked at me and said, “What weeds? I didn’t even notice you hadn’t done it.”
Here I had been beating myself up for days about the weeds and my Monger had told me what a terrible person I was and how annoyed my husband was at me about it. I had built this huge story in my head that my husband was annoyed about the weeds and was upset that I hadn’t pulled them when I said I was going to do it seven days before. And in reality, he didn’t even notice I hadn’t done what I said I would.
He wasn’t monitoring me or my weed pulling! I WAS.
I was the one who was beating myself up. I was the one who was hammering myself for not following through, for not getting my chores done, for not being true to my word. I put my negative thoughts about myself all over him. It is a sneaky little way our wily Monger shows up in our lives and convinces us we are terrible people.
So the next time you notice yourself thinking “Ugh, I wish they would…,” ask yourself: Am I giving this to myself? Am I treating myself with kindness?
And if you are and you still wish your husband would step in and do more, then lovingly ask. Speak up for yourself and ask the need. When we appreciate all we are and all we are doing, asking for that need comes from a place of kindness and respect rather than bitterness and resentment.
All this month, I have been telling you about A.S.K. and teaching you the three steps: Acknowledge your feelings, Slow Down and get into your body, and Kindly pull back and see the big picture.
But since A.S.K. is more nuanced than just doing these three steps, I wanted to bring back Abby and hear how she implements A.S.K. around a common problem that I hear from just about everyone: What do we do about the issue of “not having enough hours in the day.” Check it out on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or over here.
Sign up to receive my Sunday newsletters filled with tips and tools to tackle your High Functioning Anxiety.