Today I wanted to give you a window into what I'm working on in my emotional growth and maturity.
Today I'm present to being in a reality I've been anticipating for many months.
A while back my partner told me he wanted to take a backpacking trip in June to Yosemite so the reality I was contemplating for months was being apart for 8 days.
If you've been around for a bit you already know I have an abandonment wound and struggle with separation anxiety when my partner and I are apart. I've made such great strides with this one. Instead of getting mad at him and dumping my uncomfortable feelings on him I'm learning to soothe my nervous system and take care of myself.
It's been GOLDEN.
But there I was months ago wanting to support my partner's dreams and passions but feeling triggered AF about it at the same time.
The question I was contemplating was...how to I take care of myself and let my partner be free to take care of himself too?
Here's what I did:
Step One: Get Honest About My Experience
I had to tell him what as going on with me. I couldn't fake it, hide it or pretend I was totally OK with all of this. The key was communicating with him about it is a self-responsible way. I told him what was true - that I was genuinely happy and supportive of his plans but the being apart thing was triggering me and that if I wasn't as warm or supportive as he'd like it wasn't actually about him. It was about my trigger. This put him at so much ease because he was worrying I didn't support him or care about his dreams by how distant and like warm I was acting about the backpacking trip.
Step Two: Be Present to and Process My Triggers
Next I had to get to work on my core issues that let's be honest were there before we were in relationship. I spent time on my own over the months engaging in emotional growth practices alternating between practices that worked directly on my nervous system like yoga, breath-work, Emotional Freedom Techniques and practices that worked on creating more inner safety by working with my thoughts through journaling, emotional inventory, inner family systems, prayer and meditation. Essentially I devoted myself to showing up clear and free of emotional residue and old traumas with regards to this trip.
Step three: From a Clearer Emotional Space Work Together to Get Our Needs Met
The last step was working together to maintain connection and safety while leading up to separation and while he was away. My partner needed to be supported. I needed to create safety. We scheduled regular conversations for him to share with me about the trip and since I was engaging in work to neutralize the trigger I actually had capacity to listen and be genuinely supported and excited for him. We also scheduled regular conversation for me to ask for and receive what I needed. I needed to feel a sense of closeness leading up to separation and to plan quality time for just us and to not feel like he couldn't wait to run off to the woods for 8 days and go offline. We had date nights and plenty of quality time. He bought a device that would let him send messages to my phone and said he's send a message at night before he went to bed. That felt really good.
So this reality I've been anticipating, being apart, is actually going well.
It wasn't just my partner that helped me get my needs met. I'm doing it for myself too.
I set an intention with a friend of mine that I was going to parent myself well while he was away. Meaning I'd not let the change in routine unravel my self-care. I'm waking up at my regular times, making the bed, keeping the house tidy, cooking on nights I'm scheduled to cook, eating well and maintaining my emotional growth practices. I'm also making time to see friends and have fun.
The one place I'm noticing I struggle is at night when the sun goes down. I start missing him and I've been turning to television as a companion. I'm grateful to notice the pattern and tonight will make a plan to schedule a couple phone calls with a friend this evening rather than get lost in hours of TV.
Because that's the work.
We make progress and don't demand perfection from ourselves and we keep growing.
I'm looking forward to seeing how the week continues until Friday when he returns.
Much love to you and your commitment to self and emotional evolution.