Learn Your Limits

It’s difficult to offer support to someone when you need it yourself.

alejandra-parejo-48310.jpg

I remember my nursing instructor telling us the age old saying “you cannot pour from an empty cup” and while I definitely felt it applied to my nursing career and studies, I’ve had a hard time applying it to my life in general. I’ve spent many days feeling overworked and at my breaking point; my cup has been running low and now, well… it’s empty. I suppose I have no one to blame but myself. I watched my cup’s contents slowly dwindle down to a few spare droplets until one day there was nothing left and I was left dumbfounded when I tried to pour over and over to no avail.

Life is difficult. It’s filled with trials and tribulations that leave us battered and with wounds that require licking. When you’re in a relationship, their worries and trials become your own and you want nothing more than to make their difficult days better. You feel a bit of responsibility with regards to how their lives are going, and if not a responsibility then at least a innate desire to make their days brighter. So if you’re focused on making their days brighter while yours feel oddly dim, how can you handle it? How can you make them smile when you feel drained?

Offering support to each other is essential, but remember that while offering support, accept that you may need some too. Learning your limits and knowing when to recognize a quickly emptying cup is essential in taking responsibility for your own self-care. Sure, you love your partner and you want their life to be filled with unending joy, but when you’re feeling unable to handle your own day-to-day, the best thing you can do is admit and accept that.

Some phases of life are more difficult than others and it’s not easy to accept that you’re not always able to keep your cup full without some extensive self-care. Taking a break and refilling your tank will allow you to make it through those phases; so take breaks. Care for yourself and remember that self-care is not always about bubble baths and pedicures; sometimes it requires looking at yourself critically and accepting that there are parts of you that desperately need to change. Change how you handle situations. Change how you allow any emotion to flood freely and without control. Change how you are more prone to give up and walk away than to push through the hard phases.

Sure, take the bubble baths, long walks, and pet your cat too, but don’t forget that caring for and about yourself requires more. Sometimes it requires you to look at your life from an outside viewpoint and give yourself the harsh truth; you can’t handle it all on your own and you cannot always take the burden of another person’s troubles either, no matter how incredibly important he or she is in your life. In order to have anything to pour into their cup, you’ve gotta keep yours full. So, take a moment to fill it before it runs dry.

-LP

Advertisements

Where is the Light at the End of the Tunnel?

If dawn could break, that’d be great.

james-stamler-153583.jpg

I can’t even begin to explain how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “it’s darkest before the dawn;” well if dawn could get here already, I’d really appreciate it; that bitch is always late.

I’ve been going through some crap lately and I have just been feeling super down in the dumps; it’s hard to pull yourself out of a hole when it feels like you’re insanely far below the surface. Life is scary and each day comes with new challenges we have to face. If you love and care for someone as they face some dark days, believe me, I know how hard it can be. Oftentimes  you’re not sure what to say or how to act and while I can’t begin to pretend that I know what every person needs, I can say I know what I need when the times are tough and the dawn seems like it’s an eternity away.

  1. Listen. It’s easier said than done, but honestly, listening to someone when they’re hurting is one of the best things you can do. I know you may feel as though you need to offer advice, but venting and expressing their frustrations can be enough. Give advice when advice is due. You’ll know when that is and when you do offer advice, do it in a way that they can appreciate. I know, I know; easier said than done, but just try. Maybe they’ll return the favor one day.
  2. Determine what it is they need from you. I’ll be the first to admit, when I’m upset, hurting, or scared, it’s hard for me to explain what it is I need. Looking back on the past few, terribly stressful and crappy days I can see what it is I needed; I needed support. When I’m scared or having a bit of a panic attack, I need to be told, not that it’ll all be okay, but rather that I’ll make it through regardless. We all need to hear different things at different times, so take a step back and look at the situation your person is facing to determine what it is they may benefit from.
  3. Offer a shoulder to lean on or a hand to hold. Sometimes when times are hard that physical feeling of someone being there is all that a person needs when facing trials. The warmth of another person is soothing and comforting to me; their simple presence is enough. It’s hard if you can’t be there physically for someone when they need it most; so tell them that you’d be there if you could and mean it.

I know my boyfriend has had to deal with be being super emotional and upset and while I don’t doubt our relationship in any way; it’s hard to not let fear and doubt creep into every aspect of my life. Finland is far away and I’m only human. If you’re trying to help someone through the difficulties they face, know that it won’t be easy, but you being there will mean the world.

You’ve made it through dark times before and you’ll do it again.

-LP