28. RELATIONSHIP WISDOM: LIFE CAN BE LIKE AN ARMCHAIR. YOU CAN EITHER SIT BACK, RELAXED OR YOU CAN SIT ON THE EDGE, STRESSED AND ANXIOUS.
These days we seem to live under society’s achievement umbrella that persuades us to ‘have to, ought to, should and must’.
Often without thinking, we absorb these expectations that pressures us into following a path that may actually be causing us more stress than happiness.
As a relationship therapist, I decided to create an analogy to show my clients the stress they may be putting themselves under as well as other life choices they may want to consider. Why? Because when we busy ourselves with all the expectations that life throws at us, what usually happens is that we forget ourselves in the process. Then one day we may ‘open our eyes’ and it might be too late – too late to start living the life we could have lived.
Sometimes it’s easier to busy ourselves with ‘doing’, that we forget to watch and listen to what actually makes us happy. Usually it takes a health scare or some other life changing event before we ever stop and listen.
Also, via the couples I saw, I noticed just how many got caught up in the rat race of supplying their families with expensive homes, education and life styles. And it’s very difficult to retract one’s position when partners expect the life styles they’ve gotten used to.
In fact I used to observe depression and a resignation from many men expected to endure careers so as fulfil financial expectations from their partners and families, resulting in their feeling used and possibly unfulfilled.
Being busy can also be the result of running away from ourselves so as not to feel or see what’s really going on. And if any early childhood trauma has been suppressed then keeping very busy will help keep everything under control and buried deep within. However often emotions have a strange way of revealing themselves or catching us up – if not through illness then through daily life experiences. Suppressing emotions can however be a waste of time, leading us down possibly the wrong path.
If however, you do want to check that what you’re doing is what suits you best, then I hope you may find my analogy useful:
‘Sitting Back in Your Life’s Armchair’.
Life can be like sitting in an armchair. Most sit on the edge, grabbing at life with statements like – ‘I must, I have to, I should, I ought to’. Consequently, you build yourself into an anxious frenzy. You get so involved with all this stuff you have to, ought to and must, that you forget to sit back and take a breather.
Sitting on the edge and grabbing at ‘I must, I have to, I should, I ought to’, means that your whole body and muscles can tense up, your face can distort while you focus on what’s outside of you, rather than within.
But if you learn to sit back ‘into your armchair’, you can learn to become more objective. As you sit back, little by little, depending on each situation, you can distance yourself from situations. This will help you stress a little less. This will help you see each situation more objectively and you can begin to watch how you react to things. It will also help you make the right decisions that suit you best.
Sitting back in your armchair does not imply passivity. It implies ‘learning to watch yourself like a hawk’ so that through understanding, you may make better choices than just grabbing at what you think you should or ought to be doing.
‘I must, I have to, I should, I ought to’ has it’s place: sure, you must get the supper on; sure, you have to pay your bills on time; sure, you should brush you teeth; and sure, you ought to get up on time each morning, but that’s not what this analogy is about.
My analogy is there to provide you with a technique and a new way of thinking, so that you can learn to understand your behavioural patterns, what your knee-jerk reactions are, how you operate, so that you can watch yourself and situations more objectively.
As my clients used and developed this technique, many of them reported how they slowly began to smile at themselves. They began to take themselves less seriously. Because as you begin to understand yourself better you’ll be able to make better choices and life will begin to lighten up somewhat. And then suddenly you will become happier.
Finding yourself stuck in situations, because you didn’t articulate not only to yourself, but also to your partner, what you want out of life can become very uncomfortable – and it can lead to misunderstandings right through to depression, even illness.
So please sit back in your symbolic armchair and learn to watch and observe yourself carefully.
This will help you make better choices to suit your life goals and you will become happier as a result.
Note: © 2014 Information Copyright Deidré Wallace
Please do subscribe to my blog website. I will not bombard you with e-mails. You will get a monthly reminder of my website for your perusal. However, if there is a new offer, separate to the blog site I will e-mail you. However, please be assured that I will not fill your inbox with e-mails. Thank you.