FREE to be ME - Finding Emotional Rest
Imagine feeling content with who you are, what you're doing, and who you're with? There is no pressure, no judgment, no expectations.
Ah, PERFECT PEACE!
Have you ever had a moment like that?
When I'm at the beach, I am FREE TO BE ME. I don't have to think about what I'm wearing, eating, what I'm saying or doing. I can just BE MYSELF.
These moments are hard to come by because our days are full of people and situations that drain our emotional bank account. We face problems at work, with friends, our spouse, and certainly with our kids. Leaving us with low fuel or emptied of our emotional reserves.
When we are emotionally worn out, we tend to be hard on ourselves.
According to Dr. Smith, we are in a state of emotional deficit when we focus on our failures, flaws, insecurities, beat ourselves up for making the slightest mistakes, or feel angry or depressed when we think about our lives.
Then we no longer want to try new things; we over-explain or apologize for what we do or say and stay stuck in worry, anxiety, and self-doubt.
Have you noticed those patterns in yourself?
Achieving EMOTIONAL REST is a two-step process. We must identify our emotional "withdrawals" and minimize them while at the same time making intentional "deposits' into our account with things that energize us.
Pay attention to what people or situations drain your emotional reserves.
Be aware of how you feel in different settings (home, work, nature).
Notice how you feel around different people. Do you leave drained or replenished?
What situations deplete or energize you?
Experiencing big emotions like fear, anger, or anxiety in myself or others, physical and mental clutter, family conflict, financial worries, and unresolved issues in my personal life all suck emotional energy out of me.
Surprisingly, even "good" things like comforting a friend, empathizing with my kids, or solving challenging problems, wear me out.
And then there is being a MOM! It's the greatest "good" we can do but likely, the most significant source of energy drain we face. If we're honest, nothing depletes us more quickly and thoroughly than a difficult interaction with our child—especially if it happens in public-ugh!
WHY DOES THIS DRAIN US SO MUCH? We blame ourselves or feel judged by others.
For me, the fear of judgment was ever-present, and I felt trapped. I was afraid to be seen in a negative light. I was fearful that someone would criticize me, blame me, and not accept me for who I am. Dr. Brene Brown calls it the "fear of disconnection," born out of shame. Our emotional reserves are consumed when we feel diminished, rejected, reduced, or unworthy.
Sadly, most of us learned this in childhood. Children freely embody and express their emotions—until we teach them not to.
I learned to stuff my emotions at a very early age. I suppressed all my truths so deep down I did not know who I was anymore. I was a chameleon, hiding in plain sight. It took many years to find my voice, open up and be my authentic self again.
Because of this, I strive to embrace my kids' emotions(big and small) and listen to what they say without shutting them down with shame or judgment. It's not easy, but I realize this fills their emotional bank and provides them with emotional rest, something I wish I had as a kid.
Dr. Saundra Smith defines emotional rest as "no longer feeling the need to perform or meet external expectations." When I first read this, I thought, that's impossible! Then I paused and reread it. What stood out was the word perform. We are emotionally depleted when we pretend, cover, or hide our true selves when we strive to be something we're not.
So, let's find ways to fill up our emotional bucket
Let go of external expectations that are not authentic to you.
Eliminate Stressors where possible.
Focus on the things you can change and let go of the rest.
Stay in the PRESENT; catch yourself when you catastrophize.
Set boundaries and limit conversations that exhaust you.
Repeat positive affirmations/mantras to yourself.
Avoid comparing yourself to others.
Consider limiting your Social Media intake—the constant "highlight reels" of others has been proven to increase anxiety and depression.
And lastly, like our children, we need a safe place to be our authentic selves. Our most significant source of EMOTIONAL REST happens when sharing our stories, experiences, and heartaches with others.
Identify the situations, environments, and people where you can be AUTHENTIC and tell your story.
Where do you charge your emotional batteries?
Who fills up your tank?
What situations inspire you, encourage you, affirm you?
Do you have a place to be yourself? To share your worries or concerns, your dreams, ideas, hopes without fear of judgment?
If you haven't found a place to share your parenting journey, I invite you to join our Tea Time Chats. Coco and I have created a safe place for parents to come together and find TRUE Emotional Rest. We meet on the first three Fridays of the month at 9:30 am. It is a space where you can find support, share your story openly and honestly, or sit and listen. Sometimes, just hearing someone else's story validates us and gives us the strength we need to keep going.
The Tea Time Chat is FREE and designed for YOU.
We hope to see you there.
Vicky & Coco
P.S. If you are not able to join us Fridays at 9:30 am Pacific, come and connect with us inside our PRIVATE FaceBook Group - ADHD Parenting Support Redefined