Do any of these sound familiar?
- You feel sort of “wrong” a lot of the time.
- From the outside, it probably looks to others like your relationship with your partner or spouse is more okay than it actually feels.
- You feel taken-for-granted at work and/or home quite frequently.
- You yearn for more compassion or acknowledgment from your partner or maybe boss.
- When you think about making more time for self-care in your life, deep down that seems indulgent and unrealistic for the realities of your life.
- When you finally do get to slow down, sometimes your purpose seems unclear.
- You sometimes doubt the authenticity of people who seem happy or fulfilled.
- If you look at past relationships, they often start well, but many become unfulfilling.
- You feel frustration about other people in your life.
- You are more motivated to reach a goal when direct competition is involved, or you see that someone else has something that you’d like to have or achieve.
- At times you’d just like to take over the controls for someone in your life and finally fix the issues that so obviously need fixing.
- The old adages about “loving yourself” never really made much sense to you.
- It feels irresponsible (or even dangerous) to imagine stepping back from caring and doing so much for other people.
- You used to love your work, but it may be fading now.
- You think, “It must be nice that…” e.g. “some people get to treat themselves.”
- You find yourself fixating on things that aren’t satisfying and cost you money, health or peace, like food, organizing, redecorating, cleaning, work-a-holism, finding “the perfect”… etc.
- You remember feeling more excited about things when you were younger.
- You seem to unintentionally interrupt others in conversations.
- When stressed you have a strong preference to either never be alone, or mostly be alone.
- Worry, exhaustion and exasperation can be regular parts of your day.
If several of these sound familiar, you might have a habit of attention that is a little too external.
Over time, if you don’t balance compassionate attention to your own experience, along with that of other people, you start to feel sort of empty. You can start living in relation to other people's needs or beliefs, without healthy allegiance to your own.
Relational stress can seep in and degrade our boundaries and sense of self.
This is why I created the resources on this site, and the toolkit for relational stress that you can access below.