It was a cold Sunday morning. I wanted to stay home, snuggle with my man, drink tea, read and eventually get ready for the Vikings football party we were hosting later that day. But I told my friend Nicole, I would be there to cheer her on during the Twin Cities marathon. I committed to being there for her.
Getting curious about emotions
Driving on the highway, on my way to the place I would see Nicole run by, I got this lump in my throat. I could feel emotions welling up. Since I’ve been working on getting curious about emotions, and not letting them overwhelm me, I wondered why I was feeling so teary about Nicole’s race.
I knew she had trained really hard for it. I knew it was not an easy thing to do. I knew it would mean a lot to have someone rooting for her. I was so proud of her but still, those reasons did not explain the deep feelings rising in my chest.
Why do we value what we value?
Then it came to me. In a previous post about values, I mentioned Dr. John Demartini’s belief that our dearest values often come from our biggest voids. I realized how much I value supporting others. I value support because of the times when I did not feel the comfort and stability of support myself.
As a child, my parents were preoccupied with “just getting by”. As an adult, there were many times in my marriage when I felt emotionally alone. In both cases, it was up to me to keep my chin up and carry on. In both cases, I longed for someone to cheer me on.
What we’ll sacrifice to be true to ourselves
I never want others to feel that way. I sometimes overstretch my personal energy limits to make sure others don’t feel that way. I also feel horrible when I let people down.
Over the last few weeks, I overshot my abilities. I took a long-term paraprofessional substitution position at the high school supporting children who are physically or mentally impaired. I committed to hosting two gatherings at my house. I attended a show one of my creative writing friends produced herself. I cheered Nicole on at her marathon. I took part in and promoted an online series on clarity. I also tried to cover all the normal bases of running a household and being a good mom and partner.
I also somehow injured my rotator cuff (shoulder). Sleeping was difficult. I had to ice my shoulder at least two times a day. Trying to fit in doctor’s visits was no fun.
Basically, I took on demands that were greater than my resources. Pretty much the formula for stress.
My hat is off to all single parents working full-time.
Dr. Demartini says that our highest values require very little outside motivation. We do them with little to no prompting. I find this very true, even when we should take a break.
What keeps us going
What kept me going? I felt genuine gratitude from the friends I cheered on. I felt I did a good job and was helpful to the kids I worked with at school. I had quality talks with my own children and with the friends we invited to our house. There were intrinsic rewards galore.
Plus, when he could, Mark, my fiancé, supported me. He helped with the party planning and preparation. He listened when I told him I felt overwhelmed. He held my hand often. He told me, “You did good” when I received a text from Nicole telling me how much it meant to her that I was at the race. Yes, he even supported my supporting! Having our values validated is an amazing feeling.
We all need consistent support, to fill those voids.
What are emotions telling us?
Pay attention to when you feel strong emotions around something. Is there a core need or value being tapped? On my way to the marathon, my emotions signaled I was on the path to something that aligned deeply with my core values. What are your emotions telling you?
What do you do to exhaustion because you value it so highly? Who supports you? Who do you offer stability?