When a relationship isn’t working well in your life, it’s essential to find ways to take good care of yourself and find the community resources that make that possible. Most of us are under-supported when things are going well, but there is an even bigger chasm between what we need and what we are getting in terms of support when we’re stressed out or having a difficult time. My name is Rebecca Thompson Hitt and this is Thankful Thursday on the All Relationships Can Heal podcast. Today we’re going to be talking about the important role of self and community care in healing relationships.
Today we’re talking about my 8th and final guiding principle on this series of my 8 guiding principles.
Principle #8- No person is an island. We need to create communities of support for ourselves and our children. We need to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of our children.
Self-care really needs to be first rather than last in this long list of important things, so we’re actually going to be spending quite a bit of time on this idea FIRST. It is most critically important when you have a relationship that needs to be healed. We must take care of ourselves. We must do what we need to do to create a space where healing can happen for us, where we can understand the story in our body, our brain, and our nervous system, where we can have space to begin to see the story of someone else in a new light.
As you may have been able to see as you’ve listened to the first 7 guiding principles, knowing your own story, your own experiences, your own body is essential to knowing another person or for healing a relationship. In this podcast, we have repeatedly gone back to your experience, to what happened for you before we turn to another relationship to see what needs to happen next. You can’t say yes or no unless you’ve checked in with yourself. You can’t figure out where the boundary belongs until you’ve given some space to your own stories first.
And you can’t have energy to heal a relationship if your own batteries are completely empty and depleted. What supports you? What helps to refill your own love cup, as Pam Leo would say? Take a moment and write out 3 things that you love and that feel really good to you. Is there something there that you could do today or tomorrow? Or even this coming weekend? A few ideas I’ve heard from the people who I work with include going for a walk in nature, painting, playing the drums (!!), running, watching a funny movie or show, watching the sun set, taking a bath, doing Improv, Acro, rock climbing, riding a bike, going to the gym… That’s just a starter list, so please use it to come up with your own inspired ideas that feel good to YOU.
And we also need others to support us. We can’t do this healing work alone. We’re social creatures and we need one another. We need others to see, hear, and feel our experiences with us so we can heal those tender spaces. We’ll be creating this space together in our Healing Story Circles as we learn to listen to one another and cultivate the skills we need to heal ourselves and our relationships. Watch for more opportunities coming up in 2020 to experience Healing Story Circles.
I want to invite you to take a moment and think about who is part of your community of support? What do they do for you that feels supportive? These people may be local and bring you some food when you’re sick or may live far away and provide a listening ear and a friendly voice when you’re having a rough day. What does community mean to you? What does support mean to you? Are you able to make a request of support from someone in your community?
One of my favorite stories was one mom who was going through a lot decided to reach out to another mom in her community to have a listening partnership while walking. Each person takes a turn sharing something while they walk one direction for 30-45 minutes and when they turn around, the other person takes a turn. They get some exercise, time in nature, connection with another person, and listening. Community support doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Just think about what’s actually doable for you and who might mutually benefit from supporting you. Remember, the people who are most available to support you might not be people in the same life stage as you, so don’t rule out people who are older or younger than you are, people who have kids or don’t have kids, etc.
Take a moment and inventory who you have in your life who is willing to support you, especially those who can support you in your efforts of self-care directly or indirectly. Pause and take a moment to share your gratitude for them being in your life. Maybe even reach out and let them know how much you appreciate them. It matters. And if you’re looking around and realize you don’t have much support, ask what you can do to move in that direction and do one thing to move you closer to that, either community or your own self-care, whatever feels more doable for you in this moment.
Community is an essential part of self-care. Self-care often realistically doesn’t happen by OURSELVES, but instead with the support of others in our community to help make it happen. There are many ways our society tries to convince us that we should be able to do everything on our own, but it’s just not true. We need one another and expressing gratitude for the ways we are part of community is an excellent way to get more community and gratitude.
I’m Rebecca Thompson Hitt and you’ve been listening to Thankful Thursday on the All Relationships Can Heal podcast. I’ll be back tomorrow for Fun Friday!