checking in on the checking out
Post 2 of 3: Why is it so common to not show up for ourselves when we are hurting and need it the most?
The default response to high amounts of stress and emotional pain is often to shut down and disengage. We use all kinds of means to do this: over sleeping, eating, drinking, shopping, binge watching Netflix, falling down the internet rabbit hole... you name it. While there is definitely a time and place for taking (frequent and liberal) breaks, an unconscious global shutdown does so much more harm than good.
Sometimes we are aware of this and tell ourselves we SHOULD get off the couch, go for a walk, call a friend, do some yoga, etc., but we still don’t. This is in part because when we are suffering we don’t want to exacerbate the pain by being disappointed in ourselves too. Unconsciously we end up being scared to even try to show up for ourselves. Our all or nothing thinking believes that if we can’t do ALL the “healthy” things “right”, that we may as well not bother trying, because the last thing we need to feel when we are down is more inadequate.
Both the default shutting down and the all or nothing thinking are seriously getting our way. It’s in the stress and the heartache of life that we have the most opportunity for growth, connection and enlightenment. But all of that growing is challenging and sometimes depleting, so we have to make efforts to lovingly take care of ourselves in the process.
Even if we do just one loving thing for ourselves when we are in need, it’s better than none, and more often than not one loving gesture inspires another and another and another.