I’ve been trying to finish a blog entry based on a question I was asked recently …
“What is love to you” ? …
… but my self reflection stirred up some very uncomfortable thoughts and opened up my heart to some very intense emotions, when I suddenly found myself confronted with several challenging situations all at once (a hurting child, financial stress, work conflict and heart challenges) … and like any bad habit, several of the buggers rose their ugly heads at once, in attempts to “help me cope” (hmmmm)
How do you cope during unexpected challenges and conflicts ?
Are you aware of your automatic coping mechanisms during times of stress ?
Do you reflect over your habits and behaviours ?
I have a habit of thinking TOO much (insert wink) … and so I’ve given ALOT of thought to those questions
When I feel anxious or worried I chew on my fingers and bite my nails
When I feel stressed or overwhelmed I reach for booze, cigarettes and sex
When I feel depressed or emotional I comfort eat
When I feel alone or have low self-esteem I seek out male attention
Ofcourse, I also engage in more positive coping behaviours, but this blog is about the uncomfortable truth about how I’ve leaned on bad habits to cope with challenging life experiences … the habits I’ve been consciously working on changing over the past 10 years … and the very same habits that ALWAYS surface during challenges or conflicts
SO … Whats changed ? ? ?
My biggest accomplishment is that I’ve finally successfully kicked the smoking habit (HURRAY for me) … but I still “think” about it during times of stress and have reached for it during emotional break down mode, but it no longer provides me with the same sense of comfort or relief … It now makes me feel physically ill, which triggers off an entirely different reaction, making it much easier to STOP the behaviour before it becomes a habit
I still chew on my fingers, especially when I watch scary movies, which suggests there’s a strong relationship to fear … but when it comes to stress, I now recognise that when I start to nibble I need to self-care … and when I mindfully manage my stress better, I automatically don’t engage in the behaviour … the condition of my fingers has become a GREAT visual indicator of how well I’m coping
I very rarely drink to escape or avoid my reality anymore, because I’m actively working on creating the life I want to live … However, I still indulge in a few glasses of wine to help me relax … but I’m mindful of when and why I over indulge … so if I ever find myself reaching for the booze during times of stress, I usually end up talking myself out of it because of my self-awareness … but there are times when I tell myself … “Screw you” … and over indulge during my moments of misery anyways … because I am a human BEING who ever she is, based on whatever she is thinking
WHY damn it WHY ? … comfort eating is STILL my most challenging habit to beat … because temptation is EVERYWHERE … and so how well I do depends greatly upon my state of mind … some days I get it right and other days I don’t
It wasnt all that long ago that my heart was broken … and making a conscious decision to keep my hurting heart open to experiences, instead of pining over a love lost, I went back onto the online dating site
Ofcourse, this was also about fulfilling my intimacy needs as well as my need to still feel desired, wanted and worthy of love … but I’ve tired of the endless interest from those seeking sex … and I find myself fleeing from those seeking love
Its become apparent that its neither sex nor love I’m looking for
My ego obviously no longer drives me because I no longer seek attention … my heart wants and needs CONNECTION
Perhaps … that’s because my focus is loving myself more ?