Looking in the Review Mirror…Part 2

Yesterday, I responded to two of the the “10 Questions to Process Before you Wrap up 2021” posed by Nedra Tawwab on her Instagram feed. Today, I’m going to look at the next three.

What do I need to accept about myself and the other people in my life?

  • We’re all doing our best. Sometimes it may not feel like it and I need to accept it’s my best at the time. I need to accept that others are doing their best, even if it doesn’t look that way to me because, like me, it’s their best at the time.
  • I need to accept that it’s OK to lean on other people. I pride myself on being independent. Others see me as a strong, confident woman. In many ways, I have a toddler’s attitude of “I can do it myself!” This past year has shown me it’s OK to ask for help – whether it’s to move furniture or cry on a shoulder.
  • Similarly, I need to accept that others want to help. The people in my life support me. They’re here for the good and the bad. Just as I want to be there for them, they want to be here for me.
  • 2021 taught my life is never what I expect it to be. When it started, I had no idea I’d be buying my own condo and rehoming my dog. Yet, here I am – on my own and dogless. I need to accept the adage, “The only certainties in life are death and taxes”.

How did I cope with uncomfortable feelings?

There were SO many uncomfortable feelings in 2021. There was the end of my marriage, moving out, buying a new home, no longer being Dad’s caregiver and his decision to move into assisted living, realizing I spent the last 10 years with a narcissist…it was quite a year.

  • I cried.
  • I talked things through with, and sought advice from, my partner and my friends.
  • I read blogs and listened to podcasts.
  • I journalled.
  • I went back to the gym when Covid rules relaxed
  • I sat with the feelings and thought about the possible root cause. I knew if I could figure it out, I’d be able to work through the feeling.
  • I worked with a psychologist and started EMDR therapy.

How can I better manage my reaction to my feelings?

  • I can start by recognizing the triggers that cause a reaction. This has been the focus of the work I’m doing with my psychologist.
  • I can accept it’s OK to have feelings of joy, anger, grief and that these feelings are valid. There’s no need to repress them and pretend everything is OK.
  • I can examine the cause of the feelings. Are they a result of my personal values?…memories?…experiences? What can I do more of (for positive feelings) or differently (for negative feelings)?
  • I can give myself a time-out if my feelings start to cause I reaction I’m not ready or able to control.

This blog took a long time to write. There was a great deal of writing and rewriting as I processed the questions. I don’t think I’m done with them. I feel them working their way into my head and I know I’ll be revisiting them over the next few weeks. I expect that’s part of the exercise Ms. Tawwab has posed. 🙂

Looking in the Review Mirror…Part 1

I’ve been following quite a few therapist-type people on Instagram this past year. One of the people I follow is Nadra Tawwab (@nedratawwab). Last week, she posted “10 Questions to Process Before You Wrap Up 2021”. I thought I’d consider her questions in our blog.

“What did 2021 teach me about myself?”

It taught me:

  • I am incredibly resilient. Life handed me quite a few lemons, and I continuously made lemonade.
  • Related to above, I can handle a great deal of change.
  • I am able to take care of myself – emotionally, spiritually, financially
  • I’m not afraid to ask for help. Sometimes it was answered, other times it wasn’t. Either way, I didn’t try to do everything myself.
  • I value alone time. I love to socialize, but I need to recharge on my own. It was wonderful to have a place of my own where I could have quiet.
  • I don’t really know who I am. For so long, I was a wife, mother, and caregiver. With those roles no longer my focus, I was at a loss. Who am I if I don’t apply a label? What makes my heart sing? These questions no longer unsettle me. I see answering them as a journey that will extend into 2022.
  • I have a tremendous network of support. I knew this, but it was a good reminder. I have friends who love me.

“Who showed up for me, and how can I nurture those relationships?”

I promise, I didn’t think of this question with the last bullet point above!

Many friends showed up for me – some in person, some via video messaging, some via text. In no particular order:

  • Vanessa and Selena – my co-blogger and co-podcasters. These women keep things real for me. They celebrate with me, support me, and call my out on my bullshit when needed.
  • Lana and Derek – my former neighbours and very good friends. I used to live across the street from them and our boys grew up together. They have always gone above and beyond. It was harder to move away from them than from my ex-husband!
  • Martin – boyfriend extraordinaire. His belief in my ability to become my best self is unwavering.
  • Nathan – my son – a self-proclaimed “momma’s boy”. 🙂 He’s been busy starting to live his own life, but still finds time to talk to his mom.
  • My dad – he’s always believed in me. All he’s ever wanted is for me to be happy and he supports whatever makes that happen.

There are so many more; too many to list.

How can I nurture these relationships?

Keep being me. All the people in my life are here for a reason. Just as I see something that draws me to them, they see something in me. The best thing I can do is continue to be my honest, authentic, caring self who makes time for the people important to me.

There are 8 more questions. I’ll get to them all eventually. 🙂

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