Something new I'm trying & I'd love to hear any other thoughts on unexpected things that have turned out to be self-care?

relationship

#1

My husband lives in a place of shame these days and often when he’s been drinking heavily, he asks me “why do you even like me?” It’s easier some days than others to answer that question when he is drunk, but it always makes me so sad to know that he feels unlovable and unworthy. I tell him that I love him enough for both of us and there are many reasons for that. One day I decided to make a list in my phone and have been sending him a text message every day for the last few weeks of reasons why I love him. It started as a way to remind him that he worthy, valued, loved and seen, even when he feels like it the least. But the act of making the list, updating it, and sending a text every day has served as an important reminder for me too as to the MANY reasons why I love him and am in this relationship. On the hardest days, the ones where I don’t even want to send a message because I am so mad, or frustrated, or tired, these texts have helped me to pause and think of something that makes me smile, or laugh, or a happy memory and I realize that what started out as an exercise for him has been serving an important purpose for me too.

It can be so easy to forget all these positive things when you’re in the thick of it, and I know if we forget it, so must our loved ones, so I wanted to share in case this is useful for anyone else :sparkling_heart:

I’d love to hear any other thoughts on unexpected things that have turned out to be self-care.


#2

Love this @Tlee22 I think so many of us here can relate to the ups and downs! It’s easy to let a down day spiral. I always found bits of joy in knowing I could care for someone who made it so difficult to do so. It was the first time for me that I truly felt selfless and knew I had that capacity. That knowledge and practice brings me joy.

I also listened to a goop podcast on empathy exhaustion yesterday and they talked about there being science to show that loving kindness meditation (Buddhist practice Tong Len) where we imagine someone or someones in a healthy state, removing pain, suffering etc. Actually lights up the reward system in our brains - sounds like your adaptation / application of the daily reminder to be kind practice is doing exactly the same thing :heart:


#3

I love hearing about why and how things like that work, very cool! I’ll have to look more into that meditation too, I think it could be a really helpful exercise to imagine him free of suffering. I feel slightly emotional just thinking about it :heart:


#5

I love this too @Tlee22! How has your husband been responding to the notes?

Lately I have been trying to turn chores into more meaningful rituals. Self care has been so important to me these past few years - so much so that I’ve been turning my attention to things like yoga, writing, Al-Anon meetings, community, reading, etc. and letting the house kind of… fall apart. And that’s totally OK. But recently I have been able to pay more attention to my home and realize that I’m ready to tackle the mess and make a more peaceful living environment as a part of my self care. It’s tough, especially because I’m so lazy when it comes to house work. One little thing that I noticed that I’ve been enjoying is after work, instead of parking the kid in front of the TV and then scrolling mindlessly on my phone while snacking, I have been spending a few minute with my son doing some kind of writing or coloring practice while he has a snack. Then I let him watch a little TV and I run my essential oil diffusers, make a cup of tea, and get started on one household task that is quick and easy - dishes, starting dinner, throwing in a load of towels. Something as small as the diffusers and tea make it not so bad. Sooo I bought a bunch more oils. :wink: And I’m just super proud of myself for getting house work done on a weeknight. AND my son is benefiting from less TV and more Mommy time. WINNING.


#4

@jane @Tlee22 I am currently reading “Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living” by Pema Chodron, which is all about loving kindness meditation and Tong Len practice! Highly recommend. :hearts:


#6

It’s been interesting. He doesn’t typically respond, but sometimes later on in the day he’ll make a comment about something I’ve said or a memory I’ve reminded him of and we have a little chat about it. I think it’s a little painful for him to read them some days, because it goes against the messages he’s telling himself about being a POS, worthless, etc. I think that means he needs them even more. I’ve also been sending sober quotes from IG and I can tell he’s thinking about them, so that’s a win for me.

I can really relate to the feeling of letting the house go and I’m so glad you found a way to incorporate those tasks in in a way that feels manageable. Just feeling a little bit productive always makes me feel a little better, but it’s definitely a balance between wanting to completely veg and do nothing and get things done. I love my diffuser too! I’ve been making blends to calm anxiety (for both of us) and it does always brighten my mood.

I just downloaded “When Things Fall Apart” by Pema Chodron. I’ll have to do that one next!