My February Blog Overview
In this month’s post you will find information and inspiration about the following things:
The Power of Decorating
Bringing It In
Following a two year journey of wrist pain and all which that encompassed,
it was finally time for my partner to have surgery on his tendon.
Yet from the moment the scalpel made contact with his skin, our life roles changed dramatically.
All of a sudden I adopted a share of someone else’s life; all of the things he couldn’t do.
I don’t want to bore you with the semantics of what a person can’t do for themselves when they only have one hand available. Instead what I want to share is what I learnt as the person who took on someone else’s role:
1. An increased awareness of my personal capabilities.
How often do you stop to question why, in a relationship, you maintain the roles you have?
During this time I carried out tasks that would ordinarily fall to my partner because of his physical strength, because that’s just the way we’ve always done things or simply because he’s the guy and I’m the girl.
Once I was doing more of the stuff he usually does, I was able to recognise that I’m more capable than I actually give myself credit for.
2. Increased levels of efficiency.
When you find yourself doing twice the volume of daily tasks, it’s amazing how quickly you reassess the efficiency of how you carry out tasks in your relationship. We all fill our days with the things we do yet when you do the role of two people you have to squeeze more in. Thus to get it all done you have no choice but to become more efficient.
3. A maximized use of time.
Your amount of free time drops and you experience a real sense of using up every spare minute that you have available to you. This drew my attention to how much more I could get done in my own life if I didn’t waste time.
4. Increased levels of frustration.
As you use up your resources (energy and time) you naturally become more frustrated. You have a higher level of appreciation for your resources and therefore a growing intolerance of them being mismanaged or abused.
5. Improved quality of sleep.
With all of this maximisation and use of energy comes an essential need to recharge.
This was a change outside of my control. A change governed by my body. I was heading to bed earlier. Sleeping much deeper, with almost no recollection of restlessness or dreams and waking up still with a sense of tiredness.
6. A heightened sense of worry towards the other person.
Conscious of the mounting frustration, I became increasingly aware of my rising desire for him to heal.
I would worry significantly about whether or not he was doing things that would inhibit his recovery.
7. A depth of appreciation.
I respect that not everyone has the luxury of knowing their partner’s condition will improve.
Therefore I was aware of my appreciation that our situation had an end. This served as a regular reminder that the role change would not become permanent. Instead I could see it as an opportunity to take learning and gratitude back into my normal role.
8. ‘Superhero’ moments.
It’s funny how your senses rise in situations such as these. My hearing and intuition were the ones I noticed the most. I’d pick up on moments where I was needed and swooped in at the speed of light to take control.
So overall we are over the worst. Life is slowly returning to normal and his wrist is getting stronger by the day.
What I’ve taken from this is that sometimes in life we just have to make the best of it. We find ourselves in situations that are far from ideal but we can grow as a result of them.
Maybe ‘role swapping’ is something you want to try in your relationship for a designated period of time, just to see what you both gain from it.
Overall I think it made us appreciate one another more. But on a personal note it definitely made me more aware of my capabilities and limitations.
The Power of Decorating
Re-decorating started this month, completely by accident.
I had wanted to change my living room floor for several months to make my home more ‘dog friendly’. However I completely overlooked the knock-on effect this would have on my house at large.
The moment I removed the old carpet, it occurred to me that the skirting would need to be removed, which would damage the walls, which would mean repainting and so on and so on.
Without meaning to, my decision to change the floor meant my entire open plan ground floor was suddenly the hub of a renovation project!
This triggered a chain of reactions.
Firstly I was consumed with a sense of pointlessness. As I sat cutting up the carpet with a Stanley knife (the carpet I’d once waited so long and saved so hard for) I took stock of all the previous effort I’d put into my home. Thinking back to the first time I’d shelled out for paint, flooring and skirting boards I wondered what had been the point. Ten years on and I was tearing it all up. All that time, effort and money – gone!
Would it be the same again this time? In another decade would I be here once more?
Perhaps I’ll look after it better this time around.
Secondly I was struck with apprehensive overwhelm. When the moment of realisation about the scale of the project hit, I felt engulfed with dread. What had I done!
It seemed like a good idea at the time. The time before I realised the scale of what I had started. That which now needed to be finished.
Then the tiler arrived, enthusiastic and ready to begin. In came all of his tools, the contents of his van and out went my three dogs for a week’s stay at my parents. Both elements I’d failed to consider in advance of the moment they occurred. Life suddenly felt chaotic and I just had to ride the wave.
A week on and the tiler had finished, I stood taking stock of how my home had changed.
It was a time for excitement and anticipation. Feeling close to an end result and allowing myself to enjoy drifting into images of the future.
This cheery spell was short lived when the magnitude of the work still to do kicked in!
As I sat on the newly tiled floor and painstakingly smeared sealer around the tops and bottoms of all of the new skirting I was rewarded with internal peace and quiet. It’s a job that required concentration to the point that all of the other noise inside my head temporarily found somewhere else to play.
Finally, as the furniture started to be placed back into it’s usual home, a sense of accomplishment started to rise up inside of me.
“Wow! It really is quite beautiful. I hadn’t expected this when it all began but now that it’s done, I’m so happy with how it looks.”
As you can see my impromptu month of decorating brought with it a roller coaster of emotions and an outcome that surpassed anything I might have anticipated. My advice to you here …
Understand the true scale of what you embark on when you decide to change a part of your home. Then prepare accordingly.
Bringing It In
The final section this month is about a technique I shared with a therapy client.
It’s called ‘Bringing It In’.
And it’s designed to help anyone guilty of overthinking, worrying or being consumed with thoughts about the past and future.
I find that when you draw back to the here and now life is generally okay in this very moment.
Yet when you start thinking about the past or future you quickly lose yourself in a mass of internal dialog, overwhelming thoughts and emotions that can spiral out of control.
The trick is to remember to ask yourself,
“What do I need to do to bring it in?”
Essentially what have you got to do to detach from the outward thinking and return to the here and now?
In doing so you can almost immediately reduce any unwanted sensations, thoughts and feelings and regain a sense of control over yourself.