My Out of Balance Life
It’s tough to balance the wants and needs of the people around us with our own wants and needs. We tend to prioritize other people over ourselves because we’re taught to make other people happy first. Frequently we take ourselves off our own lists. Women do this more often than men as the demands of children, relationships and careers take priority over simple things like self-care.
The balance in my own life has been off for years. Like so many women, the demands of children, my husband and my career all but forced me to abandon my own wants and needs, even though I knew better for much of that time. The more I tried to carve out time for me the more demanding everybody around me got. It became more and more difficult to maintain my own space until eventually, I quit.
Many of you may know that I verbally ended my marriage back in April. Financial constraints have kept me living with them, however, I have taken my energy back from the marriage. The demands are still there, however. The only true solution is leaving, which will happen in time.
When a relationship is balanced both partners give equally to the relationship. When one is struggling the other picks up the slack. There are no demands of the other to keep going regardless of how they feel, what they need or what they want. My husband has always demanded that I do everything he doesn’t like or doesn’t think he’s good at. I have been told to cater to his extremely picky food demands, take care of all of the needs of children, and tiptoe around his triggers and complaints about me, to the point of being expected to give up my own sense of identity in favour of taking his on as my own.
I made the mistake many years ago of dimming my light to keep other people comfortable. In retrospect, I created this by giving up aspects of myself because other people weren’t comfortable or didn’t like them. Over the years I’ve given up relationships, jobs, travelling, thoughts and ideas because the people around me weren’t comfortable with them, even though they would have made me happy. My entire life has been predicated on this. I spent my childhood and early adult life keeping my mother happy. I’m now still in a marriage that requires me to contort myself completely out of alignment with who I am in order to keep my husband happy.
Changing that is no small feat. It’s hard to reset boundaries in a broken relationship. The goal is not to fix it, though. The goal has been to simply make it tolerable for myself, more or less. It’s better but not ideal. I only cook for everybody 2 or 3 times a week, help remains rationed (I only get help from my husband when he thinks I’ve earned it and even then he only helps with certain things) and I no longer let him guilt me into doing household chores before he gets home (often by lunchtime). Also know that everything I do or don’t do that he doesn’t like, he takes as a personal insult and sign of disrespect to him. Everything is a trigger for him, regardless of how big or small it may be. He needs complete control over his surroundings, which includes needing control over me.
The people around me have known for a while that I’m not happy. I more or less tolerate my life at the moment. Every day is an episode of Groundhog Day, with routines and people that don’t support me. I focus mostly on my work and stay in my bubble. To be very clear, I don’t spend my time being miserable and I’m not a victim. While my surroundings may not make me particularly happy, I am not a victim of them and I have created my own sense of balance internally. The daily challenge for me is breaking free of the perceived limits of my surroundings without being constantly upset and victimized by them.
To create a balance in our lives that actually makes sense to us we have to show up in our world at full power. Dimming ourselves to make others happy naturally throws the balance off. It forces the person doing the dimming to constantly bend to fit the situation. It leaves everybody happy but the person doing the bending. Living this way is a lie. It’s a lie we are telling ourselves and the people around us. It’s not fulfilling. It’s not enjoyable and it doesn’t make us happy.
The people that truly love you will do so when you’re at full power. Those who can’t handle you at full power aren’t meant to be in your life, regardless of who they are to you or how long they have been around. Surround yourself only with those that are comfortable with the real you and let everybody else go. It’s not worth it. I’m living the tail end of that cycle right now, with full clarity about what I created, why and how. It’s possible to change it. It’s not easy, it may even be painful, but it’s worth it.
If you’re still hiding in relationships and circumstances that aren’t supporting you, make the plan to leave and let go. Begin the process for yourself as I have. You’re allowed to shine brightly. You’re allowed to be happy. You’re allowed to be supported and surrounded by people that love you unconditionally. Don’t settle for less than that.
Sending lots of love.
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