Lately I have been getting back in to the city a bit to visit with friends and it has been nice as it brings me back to what it feels like to be an independent person, alive in the vastness of a bustling city only 23 miles from our new Mayberry existence. Today we were invited to a friends house for a bbq….they have a house right on the water with a great set up in the backyard for kids…..an inground pool, a hot tub, a huge jungle gym and other kid toys sprinkled throughout a huge backyard, lush with greenery . The friend who invited us over I met this year on Valentine’s Day, and have since been out with a handful of times, along with two other Moms.
On Valentines Day it was cold and the ground was covered in snow, but three of us Moms were out with our kids at the park….I was swinging my bundled babe on the swing and the other two Moms, friends, were pushing their 4 years olds down a snowy embankment on sleds. Come to find out all three of us Moms, the only ones braving the elements to go to the park that day with their kids, were all from Michigan. Ha! We Michigan girls don’t easily scare when it comes to a few feet of snow and colder temps! Anyway these two ladies and one other were at the bbq today with their husbands and kids. It is an entirely new world for me….I mean I once lived in this world but it was many moons ago. The land of families and of backyard bbqs, dips in the pool/lake, long, personal, family-like visits over grilled chicken, pie and coffee or wine. I have from time to time visited this world as an adult, but now I am finding myself living here. It is new, living in this world of families as an adult with a family. I still crave my girls/friends in the city….friends who are driven, ambitious, powerful, tough. My new friends are warm, friendly, patient, giving, open….Moms. My plan is to continue to live in both worlds, with both sets of friends, connecting to the different parts of myself that I align with in these varying friendships and environments.
I have been thinking a lot about how to manage my concern about what others think. In the past I have been in positions at work where I had to make decisions that were not popular to all and had to push past any concerns about what others thought. I did this however through a mechanism of internal force. I toughened up. I PUSHED past the fears, forcefully however. In thinking about this goal over the last week and in how I have pushed past similar fears in the workplace in the past, I realized that the mechanism I had used in the past was very forceful. Getting myself to not care what others thought was distancing myself from them in certain ways and rationalizing that it wasn’t important what they thought. I realized that one of the “really big” goals I was considering putting on the table, to post pictures of myself in before and after pics measuring weight loss, was a goal that would result in continuing to create an unhealthy approach to not caring. For me, posting pics of where I am currently at , is probably one of the more challenging things I could do. In order to not care about what anyone would think of these pictures I would have to FORCE myself past this. Basically rationalizing that I really don’t care what any of you think, that perhaps you aren’t really close friends anyway so why allow myself to be concerned with what you think? I think creating this kind of mindset however is not what I really want to do/create in ‘not caring’ what anyone thinks. This forced effort actually will have me shut down on other people, creating a boundary between me and others. Maintaining an “I don’t care what you think” mentality is not really what I want to create because this has the possibility of transcending past the current challenge and also creates the possibility of mentally distancing myself from others. I think what I truly am looking to create is something more along the lines of “You may think differently, but XY and Z are more important to me than any potential judgement and therefore it becomes more of a mind shift….a refocusing on what matters most and a moving to the background what others think. That is the healthier relationship….it isn’t so much about not caring what others think….its more about the foreground goal being hugely more important and setting my internal camera to consistently “auto focus” on that foreground. I do however want to be real stretchy with this goal…..do something big, but rather something big that I would like to do versus something really big that would just be hard for me (and heavy)…..like posting current pics of myself in a bathing suit.
In thinking about and pursuing my second goal, putting my needs on par with those of others I care for. I am overall having success focusing on this goal and making sure that I get my needs met. Some days are more challenging than others. I have been continuing to deal with something pretty big and that continues to take up a lot of time and physcial/emotional energy. Some days the resources are just not there to address what I need in totality. Overall though I am really on this goal. I also have realized some quite significant stuff. If I am not taking care of my needs on my own, it builds up inside of me and then I feel the need to share with others close to me about these hardships. I really don’t want to be wasting any time with others talking about needs that I can address on my own. I would rather just be feeling relaxed, at peace and joyful in the company of people I am close to. I think fundamentally here that I often feel perhaps guilty, or selfish or pushy in making sure my own needs are met. In requesting what it is that I need, often to my husband, I often feel these feelings. I get to move past that though because taking care of my own needs is not selfish it is necessary to who I want to be and how I want to show up.