“No matter what gets done and what is left undone, I am enough….Yes. I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.” Brene Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection.
Conflict, itself, does not ruin relationships and couples with good communication skills are not guaranteed good relationships. Conflict is in fact essential to a healthy relationship because when conflict is faced and worked through feelings are expressed and understood and generally a positive atmosphere is maintained. It is important to change what is going on inside of you as well as what goes on between you.
Have you noticed that when highly stressed even small decisions become difficult? Do not be hard on yourself as this is a normal consequence of stress. When we are stressed the primitive part of our brain may see stress as a threat and activate survival mechanisms, and these mechanisms interfere with cognitive (thinking) ability. What happens is the middle and lower brain reacts quickly to threats and prepares you to fight, flee, freeze or collapse. To do this effectively it shuts down the upper brain which is responsible for cognition. Making good decisions are deemed of less importance than basic survival.
So what can you do if you are stressed and are having difficulty making decisions? If you can, avoid making a decision until things have calmed down. De-stress by saving 30 minutes a day to exercise, read, meditate, or watch television. Seek guidance: get a second opinion by someone who is calm.
I am reading a novel for pleasure, “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon and came across this description of the impact of sexual abuse by the main male character.
“It’s..difficult to explain. It’s…it’s like…I think it’s a though everyone has a small place inside themselves, maybe, a private bit that they keep to themselves. It’s like a little fortress, where the most private part of you lives—maybe it’s your soul, maybe just that bit that makes you yourself and not anyone else.”…”You don’t show that bit of yourself to anyone, usually unless sometimes to someone that [you] love greatly.”…”Now, it’s like…like my own fortress has been blown up with gun powder—there’s nothing left of it but ashes and a smoking rooftree, and the little naked thing that lived there once is out in the open, squeaking and whimpering in fear, trying’ to hide itself under under a blade of grass or a bit o’ leaf, but—but not.. makin’ m-much of a job of it.” “I’ve been close death a few times,…,but I’ve never really wanted to die. This time I did.”
“[You] know the fortress I told of, the one inside me?…Well, I’ve a lean-to built, at least. And a roof to keep out the rain.”
A simple statement which often produces an “Ah, ha” moment with clients in session. How often do we do the same behaviours which lead to the same results and yet we get frustrated by these results. Taking note of what we are doing that is leading to frustration and make a small meaningful change can be the start of something wonderful.
“Healthy self-esteem is essentially internal. It is the capacity to cherish oneself in the face if one’s own imperfections, not because of what one has or what one can do. Healthy self-esteem presupposes that all men and women are created equal; that one’s inherent worth can be neither be greater or lesser than another’s. …We can still recognize our gifts and limitations, as well as those of others. But our basic sense of self as valuable and importance neither rises nor falls based on external attributes.” By Terrence Real in his book “I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression.
We so often live our lives trying to achieve the acceptance of important people in our lives. Sometimes we meet that goal and oftentimes no matter what we do, what we achieve, we seem to fall short. By looking towards self for acceptance, by living our lives to what is meaningful and importance to us, we can feel okay in this world and love who we are.