We spend so much time trying to figure out our child’s needs. What is his/her trauma? What’s the attachment issue? What’s the diagnosis? What’s the proper therapy? What’s the proper therapeutic response in this situation? What behavior should I ignore? How should I handle this situation?
Quite frankly, we pour our heart and soul into our child, in hopes that it will be enough for them. But in the meantime, we completely drain our own tanks until there’s nothing left. We end up burnt out, depressed, lost, our self esteem is lower than low, we eat too much, we drink too much, we watch too much tv, we hide in our rooms, we spend too much time at work… whatever it is, we avoid going home. Of course you do! You’ve got nothing left to give! Along the way we’ve forgotten the very basic rule: you can’t get somethin’ from nuttin’. We need to take the time, demand the time, schedule the time, to be able to refill our own tanks so that we have something to give our families. For some women, this might mean a manicure, pedicure, or a salon day. For some men, this might mean working out at the gym or a guy’s night out. Take a hike in the woods. Go camping. Look at the stars. Sit on the beach. Whatever it is – DO IT. We don’t expect our van to get us to the grocery store when it’s out of gas, but for some reason we expect ourselves to be able to give when we are beyond emotionally exhausted.
Make yourself a priority, get a few hours to yourself weekly, a few days to yourself yearly, whatever it takes for you to recharge your batteries and get back on your A game. If you don’t, and you have nothing to give your family, you aren’t going to get anything in return. You’re wasting your time thinking your child is going to heal when you are unable to reach out to him/her and give them what they so desperately want/need.
It’s ok to be selfish, because it’s not really being selfish. It’s being real. Real people need real breaks and real life requires real relaxation. Make it happen – you’ll be amazed at the difference in how you feel about things, how much clearer your mind is, at how much more positive your outlook is on things. Really.