Do you need an emotional bank account deposit?
The impact of the COVID-19 lockdown has in some ways been a wonderful togetherness experience for many of our clients. I’m so grateful to hear about the new-found appreciation and love that we do find by spending more time in each other’s company.
But it’s not the same for everyone. It is possible that your relationship with yourself, or with the people you’re sharing your home with, is starting to buckle under the pressure. It’s tough being in each other’s company all the time. And if you’re living alone, it’s tough spending most of your time by yourself, with yourself.
Pre-lockdown, when emotions started running high in the household, or, if your own company became dull and tedious, it was easy to pop out for a quick burst of shopping or coffee with a friend. We as humans crave companionship, and the easing to Level 4 restrictions have helped in some ways. Some people are meeting up on the same street for a run, or coordinating shopping trips to the supermarket. But the reality is that we’re spending most of our time in the company of the same people. And it’s not always easy company to keep.
This remains a stressful time, and it’s hard to support your partner if you’re overwhelmed with fear and anxiety yourself. It’s also hard to be kind to yourself if you’re not getting the normal amount of support, or don’t have the luxury of chatting to your usual support system.
If you’re starting to feel building tension, resentment, guilt, and claustrophobic with the company you keep, whether it’s your own or your partners, then you may need an emotional deposit.
Likewise, if this has been a time of renewed connection and joy in your relationship, remember to make an emotional deposit.
Start with self-compassion. Don’t be your worst inner-critic. It’s normal to have bad days mixed in with the good days. You cannot be perfectly stress-free and cheery every day. When things feel unbearable, keep breathing and be gentle with yourself. Treat yourself with the same kind and gentle words that you use for everyone else. My personal mantra every day is “you are doing the best you can.”
Mind your words. Our words are very powerful. While we may not mean to be unresponsive or dismissive, the meaning of what we say, what we don’t say and how we say it, is often a subconscious process. And it leaves our loved ones feeling unloved, misunderstood and alone.
Gift yourself with one emotional deposit every day. Do something for yourself that you love. Take a bath, read a book or simply allow yourself some solitude and rest. This is a sacred contract with yourself that you must honour. Pema Chödrön, Tibetan Buddhist says that “compassion for others begin with kindness to ourselves.”
Make one deposit for someone else every day. You may decide to do something for someone else, or be kind to someone having a bad day. You may give your partner a compliment, or put time aside to listen to how they’re really doing.
Be true to yourself. If you’re feeling anxious, worried or insecure, don’t pretend that you’re ok. It’s ok to talk about your feelings and emotions truthfully.
We have a wonderful opportunity every day to be conscious of our actions in our relationships and to know how they affect the people we love. Be kind to yourself and the ones you love. Now, more than ever, we need to appreciate, build, and rely on strong and healthy relationships.
Wishing you all a generous and hearty dose of kindness and deposits,