So we discovered a leak under our kitchen sink earlier this month. Sadly we hadn’t discovered it soon enough to prevent mold. Not wanting to expose the little ones to any potential mold exposure we moved into a hotel. Luckily for us, we checked in the day before the Hill and Woolsey Fire broke out. One more day and we’d have found no hotel room. Given that we were likely here for a little of a long haul, we were very lucky to have found a two bedroom two bath suite at the local Residence Inn complete with daily breakfast included. Needless to say the kids were ecstatic.
So while on vacation I usually will indulge in drinking caffeinated coffee. You see my hubby is an amazing brewer of coffee. And well, let’s face it. Illy Italian coffee is the real deal.
So for the first 3-4 days we both woke up and enjoyed an absolutely delicious cup of coffee.
On day 5, I started to notice that I was hypersensitive to sounds. Everything was irritating me. I didn’t sleep very well that night either. Never fell into a deep sleep. I felt every toss and turn that Jason made (he obviously wasn’t sleeping well either). He was breathing too loudly, tossing too much, tugging at the sheets when he did…you get the picture- everything annoyed me.
And yet- what he was doing wasn’t new behavior. He was a super light sleeper, prone to waking up at o’dark hundred and then tossing and turning, or reading till he put himself back to sleep.
What was different was my response to it.
My response was different because I had introduced something into my chemistry that I usually never consume.
Heavily caffeinated coffee.
No noticeable difference the first couple days.
But then, the caffeine started to build up.
And started to alter my chemistry.
Which manifest in new behaviors.
Which if unchecked could have (and definitely have in the past) been unhealthy to our relationship. Staying in close quarters for an extended period of time, and going to work and continuing business as usual. It could have been disastrous!
The next day when he asked if I wanted coffee, I declined. And told him why.
Interestingly I observed that it had affected him too. Even though he DOES have caffeinated coffee daily. Just one cup of good espresso made into a short latte.
He was impatient about practically everything.
Because I had acknowledged my own irritation and recognized it early on.
Because I had checked it.
Because I had shared it with him.
I was now able to remove my emotions from the conversation and gently remind him that he too was experiencing symptoms as a result of the coffee.
His knee jerk response was ‘it’s not the coffee.’ But he knew better.
And I knew he knew.
So let’s just speculate how this would have gone down, had we NOT addressed this early on.
- I would have woken up that first day of being irritable with very poor sleep and snapped at him for every toss and turn. I would have admonished him to be more sensitive to me. That if he couldn’t sleep, the least he could do is let ME sleep.
- Lack of sleep would have led me to have less bandwidth to be gentle and compassionate with his impatience.
- So when he snapped at me for the slightest, I would have snapped right back.
- We would have likely blamed each other for whatever inconsequential thing was causing us to be irritated with each other.
- And pretty soon, full blown war of the roses!
- And unchecked this would have continued.
- And in the close quarters that we are, our kids would have been fully exposed to behaviors and words from us that would have been potentially damaging.
So often in our relationships that falter we fail to be able to see our role early on to nip it in the bud. It’s so easy to assign blame to someone else or somewhere outside ourselves. Especially when life throws a curveball and we are hoisted from our comfort and regularity of actions. One of my mentors used to say ‘you can’t see your own eyebrows.’ Meaning you need others to point out certain things to you about yourself. You can’t see it for yourself.
So how do you become self-aware so that you can catch yourself in the act of being an a$$?
- Meditation helps you to center and ground yourself. It also helps you to not take yourself too seriously.
- Developing self-discipline helps you to develop body and mind awareness. This simply means having small daily actions that you do for yourself NO MATTER WHAT.
- Having an attitude of gratitude for the small things. Whisper thanks the next time you get a sweet parking spot. When coincidences happen, or when mold causes you to have to leave home for an extended period of time, say thank you that you caught it early enough for it to be just 3 weeks out of the house instead of 3 months. You get the idea. There’s ALWAYS a silver lining if we look for it.
How can that be good for self esteem?
If we’re a parent, what message are we sending our kids?
If we’re in a partnership/marriage/relationship…how can we expect our significant other to respect us, if we don’t respect ourselves enough to follow through on our word?
We teach people how to treat us by the way we behave.
What are you teaching people?
To love and respect you and acknowledge your contribution with gratitude.
To think of you as SO dependable that you’ll do anything for them, even at the cost of your own health and sanity.
Taking care of yourself is not selfish. It’s self love. Self love is good for you. And it’s particularly good for the people you love, the community you serve and the world you are changing.