“The only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself.” …
Simple to say, but not always easy to do. Thanks for the quote, Richard Bach, I do agree wholeheartedly.
There is no perfect script for when we need to BE THERE and when we need to leave people BE. The rule is that there is no golden rule. What one person may be grateful for another may find invasive.
First things first. When it comes to BEING THERE, which framed in Emotional Fitness terms I am referring to as BEING emotionally present. So what I mean is to hold an emotional space without shame nor blame with an open heart. It is often far easier to do for another than for ourselves. However, if we can’t BE THERE for ourselves to honour ourselves first and foremost we can get into deep shit when it comes to intimate relationships. If we refuse to work on our own Emotional Fitness and BE THERE, that is emotionally present and honour our own sadness, anger, happiness and anxiety, our heart’s energy tank will not have much in reserve. As a consequence we can unexpectedly experience compassion-fatigue and emotional burnout.
To keep our heart’s emotional energy tank full we have got to BE THERE for ourselves. Like we have to put petrol in our own car, we have to put love into our own heart. By ourselves, for ourselves. If we don’t we can’t give it away. And, more often than not when another needs us to BE THERE for them they are looking to draw on our heart’s love tank. If we are running low through emotional neglect, BEING THERE for a loved one can drain us in a heartbeat. Then it is easy to feel resentful and used. However, we have no-one to blame but ourselves.
Do you give someone your car to drive on a long trip with an empty tank? OK only if we are cranky as hell would we do that. Generally, we would make sure our car was fuelled up so it could take them where they need to go. Our heart’s emotional energy tank (our happy tank) needs love to fill it up too. Otherwise we will get nowhere in intimate relationships. We have to be self-sufficient when it comes to filling up our love tank. It is not our lover’s, children’s, parents, friends or colleagues job. It is ours.
So BEING THERE for ourselves simply put requires we fill up on emotional fuel. Not occasionally. Daily. We fill up our body with food and water (physical fuel) daily for without good nutrition we run low on physical energy and become flat, cranky and tired. We run out of puff. Emotional fuel is just as important. If we live alone any ritual that fuels us with love will do the job nicely. It might be a snuggle with our pet, a morning walk with Mother Nature, singing to our heart’s delight as we get ready for our day, prayer, yoga, meditation, any of these practices are about BEING THERE for ourselves.
BEING THERE for lovers, friends and family is an intimate dance unique to each union. Remembering the five languages of love are vital when it comes to choosing ways of BEING THERE for those we care about. Just because we may find words and hugs comforting, others may find it invasive, preferring you sit with them in silence, watch a movie and share a cuppa tea.
If you have never heard about The Five Love Languages there is an amazing book written by Gary Chapman that goes into great detail that many of my Emotional Fitness clients have found enlightening. Here is my quick summary on Gary’s Five Languages of Love …
1. Words of Encouragement. For some verbalising repeatedly how much we care, love or understand what they are going through is invaluable. Words kiss their heart more comfortably and gently than human touch can.
2. Acts of Service. Are preferable for those who find too much conversation tiresome. So mowing their lawn, cooking a meal, picking up their kids or some groceries is a beautiful way of BEING THERE instead of trying to get them to talk.
3. Quality Time. May involve no words or acts of service, but just sitting in silence with them or perhaps listening to music or watching a movie. Just hanging out and giving the gift of our time can be a heartfelt blessing for those who cherish our undivided attention when they are upset.
4. Physical Touch. Can be number one for some of us. Holding our hand, a silent, long, heartfelt hug sometimes says more than a gift or words ever can.
5. Gift Giving. It is the thought that counts for those who treasure gifts. It might be a chocolate Freddo Frog left on their pillowcase at night, some wildflowers picked with love, or a homemade cake that warm the cockles of their heart without a spoken word being needed, just a smile.
If not BEING THERE is an issue between lovers, parents and children or friends and family it may be worthwhile asking ourselves what “language of love” we feel our nearest and dearest would value most. As we review this list it’s also helpful to know our own top two BEING THERE preferences. If we are clear on our own personal preferences we can better BE THERE for ourselves in solitude if we are feeling emotionally low and need to refuel. What will fill up one person’s heart tank with love may well drain another’s. There is a no one size fits all approach in my view when it comes to BEING THERE for ourselves and others.
One last tip when it comes to BEING THERE for others. If another is consistently relying on us to BE THERE for them, unwilling to commence BEING THERE for themselves, we may need to review our energy output. Sometimes we enable others to self-neglect if we become rescuers instead of helpers.
Rescuing is about fear and codependency, and has more to do with meeting our emotional needs short term than what is best in the long term for the other. Helping another without our ego’s attachment is the purest form of humanitarian love because it is not about what it will give us because we are empty and wounded.
Helping is about what we can freely give to others because our heart’s energy tank is already full and we require nothing, not even thanks in return. Those of us that keep ourselves Emotional Fit are better able to BE THERE for others without feeling drained or resentful.
I will leave you now with a brief but beautiful excerpt from “The Invitation.” This passage questions self-loyalty when another consistently asks us to BE THERE for them. It is a tough, emotional workout when the time has come to commence saying no so we stop any co-dependent enabling continuing.
“Can you bear the accusation of betrayal from another, and not betray your own soul”
Lotsa love Cynthia xxx
© Copyright 2016 Cynthia J. Morton Emotional Fitness™