Why can’t I have the same compassion for my family that I have for my clients? I find I can be very empathic and tolerant of most any religion, political view, parenting philosophy, sexual orientation or type of relationship – in my clients. I’m not always so patient with family members.
My mother used to save the "good" china for guests while her family ate off chipped and broken plates. I understand not putting fine china before children, but this often applies to best of ourselves as well; compassion, nurturing, patience, tolerance, understanding, listening, helping and good manners. We often give the best of ourselves to complete strangers. And after I do that for 8-10 hours there’s not much left for the people I care most about.
This is when self care becomes important. Not allowing myself to become overbooked or overworked to the point that there is nothing left for myself and nothing left for family and friends. I have to remember to save back part of the best of myself for family and friends. Then I have to remember to use it! This is sometimes the hardest part, especially with family. We are locked in a dance that started decades ago and I sometimes find my feet moving without realizing that the music even started.
As my mother ages I see her learning away from the liberal views of her youth and more into conservativism. This includes her religious views. And this difference in her has sparked more than a few heated arguments when she tries to apply these views to the children in our family. Unfortunately, I am more like my mother than I care to admit. (Aren’t we all?) So we butt heads frequently. One day after hanging up the phone I realized, "I would never take that attitude with a client!"
Old patterns die hard and old hurts heal slowly. But they will never die if I don’t actively work at it. So this is my New Year’s resolution. Only two months late.