It’s an indescribable feeling when you realize that every bad thing that someone has done or said to you has had nothing to do with you.
Let me say that again, because it’s imperative that you get this, and understand that this is not me saying that you are worthless (although, even if I did say that, it is your choice to either accept or reject that belief about yourself). Most everything that anyone does to you or towards you is about them, not you. You’re not that special, my friend.
Now…let me follow this up by saying that I am going to talk about this in terms of myself, as I think that will allow this to make more sense. I love my husband dearly. He is amazing! But sometimes, he gives me love overload.
A description of “love overload” is me coming home after a long day of work, probably beating myself up mentally about not being satisfied about where I am in my life or feeling gross because of the junk food I allowed myself to eat that day (or some other minuscule ordeal), and my husband being in his chipper, optimistic, lovey-dovey mood and me thinking “(rumble grumble) really?!”
So I’m sure you can see how this pans out sometimes:
“Get off of me!” (This statement is best paired with squirmy eyes)
“Ugh! Can you just give me some space?”
“Why are you always in a good mood?” (Paired with a nice facial expression of utter resentment)
So, what is this really about? Is this me not wanting my husband to love me and offer support my way? Is this me disliking these kind characteristics of his?
Let’s be real. It’s all about me. I’m pushing away what I feel I don’t deserve to feel in that moment. I’m pushing away an opportunity to be in the moment and to enjoy feelings that might actually make me feel better.
Something important to point out is a word I used twice in that statement above: feel. So, what is it that I’m feeling that tells me I’m not good enough or that I don’t deserve to be happy after the day I had or perhaps some of the things I’ve done? A five letter word that’s beginning to move to the center of the psychological stage: Shame.
I think the best definition of shame I have read that makes the most sense is the one depicted by Dr. Brene Brown (The Gifts of Imperfection – highly recommend if you’re intrigued by the shame topic). She defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.”
So, as I continue to practice mindful thoughts, feelings, and actions in my own life, I have to remember that when I walk into my home after a long and strenuous day, my actions are my own and are not forced or caused by anyone else.
I also understand that it is my husband’s own responsibility to mindfully remind himself that the way I respond to his “love overload” is not about him, but about me. He’s not that special! (Of course, beyond my playful pun, he is the most special… and we often take our shame, and other negative emotions, out on those closest to us. They are the safest bet because usually we know they won’t leave us.)
I am grateful that we have a relationship where we can actually talk about these things. I’d also love to know your thoughts.