Deep in my subconscious mind (my belief system) I have always thought that taking some leisure time was the same as being lazy. When I started to learn how to do self-care, that little “feeling” constantly whispering to me that I was being lazy began to get stronger. I found that when I took time off to just kick around, read a book or watch a movie, deep down I would reprimand myself. I wasn’t even aware that I was doing it for a very long time.
If I was spending my leisure time with my kids are with another person I was not so hard on myself because I knew that was important to the relationships that I have with them, but if I was just doing something to rejuvenate ME, I got a little restless. I really noticed my conflict with this when my oldest two children moved out of the house to attend school this fall.
Because we are selling the farm/ranch I had spent the summer cleaning, packing, sorting, purging and organizing 30 years worth of accumulated stuff and as a result of all that hard work I feel really caught up on everything. I feel really good about having done all of this but emotionally it took a toll on me. It has been an emotional roller coaster to decide to let go of this life here and on top of that to have two kids move out of the house! Add that to the level of emotion that I invest in this website and with my clients and I found I needed some extra time for myself this past few months.
BUT when I took that time I realized that my self-talk was whispering some judgemental things to me. I was hearing words like lazy and unproductive barely under the surface of my subconscious mind.
Within minutes of reading my clients homework, I get a glimpse of what is operating under the surface in their belief systems but when it comes to me it takes a little more work because I am up against MY OWN belief system. And since our belief systems form in the first place as a way to help us survive, sometimes they are not easy to crack into.
I was journaling about this whole thing and as I was experiencing a deeper realization that when I take time off I feel guilty about it, I suddenly heard my mother’s voice talking about my father.
This is where it gets complicated. My father, as I have talked about in other posts was emotionally unavailable. He was a passive abusive father and husband. He abused by his passive ‘whatever’ kind of attitude towards everything. My mother used to say that the house could be burning down and my father would sit in the middle of it playing his guitar and ignoring the emergency. As an adult today I can see why she said that. My mother could not get my father to do anything or even to ‘react to anything’ and I remember as a child thinking my mother was a nag with her constant pleas and complaints about my father and to my father but today I realize that my father’s attitude towards my mother left her feeling unimportant, unsupported, dismissed and devalued. In truth, my mother didn’t really have a husband. My passively abusive father never let my mother have any impact on him and the success of a relationship, the whole basis of equality has so much to do with both people in the relationship having some impact.
So every time my father sat watching sports, (not engaging with anyone else and being emotionally unavailable and passively abusive) and every time my father zoned out playing his guitar (not engaging with anyone else and being emotionally unavailable and passively abusive) while my mother had to do numerous chores and fix things in the house by herself, I knew that these were the things that my mother was referring to when she called my father “lazy”. It was his leisure time. It was his interests that excluded the rest of the world that caused my mother so much emotional pain!
It is important to note here that my mother never actually called me “lazy” in the way that I call myself lazy. What I did however is I transferred her frustration with my father and her definition of lazy and applied it to myself. Logically I know that I am not lazy but emotionally and somewhere deep in my belief system, I made the false connection and now I had this false definition of lazy; that taking some leisure time equals being lazy and being lazy always results in letting someone else down. And letting someone down THAT WAY would be passive abuse and the last thing I would EVER be would be any kind of ABUSER!
Boom it hit me like a ton of bricks! Although I have been really good at taking leisure time for myself, I still had this niggling doubt about doing it. By realizing what was at the root of this niggling doubt, I was able to realize that I had my wires crossed about this whole word “lazy” when it came to me and that I related it to passive abuse.
This realization solved a bit more of the puzzle for me. Several times in my life I have pushed myself so hard that I got sick sometimes even to the point of being bedridden. At the root of those times was my belief that being lazy would let others down and I could never let anyone down because my survival mode and victim mentality ‘survived’ by never letting anyone down! Clarity on this issue makes self-care a whole lot easier!
Please share your thoughts on how this may have worked in your own life. Have you ever heard a judgement about someone in your life and believe it to be a true judgement and a good definition of “a behaviour” and then apply it to yourself completely out of context? Seeing this kind of thing and sorting out where you have applied a true definition of a word ‘falsely’ to yourself is a little more complicated type of detective work but it is a huge relief when the understanding emerges!
P.S. I am enjoying my leisure time a whole lot more these days!
Exposing truth, one snapshot at a time;
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Related posts are in bold print; just click on the bold print within the body of the article. This post is also related to an emotional unavailable father : “The Deception of an Emotionally Unavailable Father”
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