I’m on a weekend away with my husband’s extended family. I suppose being married to him, they’re also my extended family, which is lovely to think about as I adore them.
But in the lead-up to coming away, I was feeling the same anxiety I always have in the lead-up to going away. The kind where I feel like eating the entire contents of my cupboard to squash the intensity of the feelings inside.
And yesterday, I asked myself why this was – what was the reason behind how I was feeling?
And I realised that in the past a weekend away would have been a weekend of squashing myself.
Bending in each and every way to make sure I chatted to everyone, tried to make everyone feel included, people pleased at each and every turn.
Even if this wasn’t anyone’s expectations of me, this is what I did. I didn’t know how to be any different.
It included me going along with the crowd consensus even if the activity suggested wasn’t what I wanted to do.
And I’d have ended what should have been a beautiful weekend feeling depleted and sucked-dry of the little energy I had started the weekend with.
Or perhaps the weekend would have surprised me and I’d come away feeling recharged and energised from the conversations I’d had.
Either way, I’d always feel anxious in the lead-up to time with other people.
But yesterday, I reassured myself that this wouldn’t be the case.
I know myself better than I ever have done before.
I love myself and am able to look out for what I need in any given situation.
I advocate for what it is that I need.
But this is still new – loving myself and allowing myself what it is that I need in any situation – and so I am aware that I’m still building up trust in myself.
Trust that I will listen to myself.
Trust that I will be aware in the moment when I want to make conversation to fill the silence in between. And instead of peddling, hustling, finding things to say and questions to ask, I’ll allow myself to hold the silence.
Trust that I will do whatever it is in that moment that I want to do.
And that’s exactly how I find myself this morning.
Having listened to myself, I’m now alone in the house having some peace and quiet – time for reflection and quiet and stillness – while other people are out and about exploring the area, visiting crazy model villages and walking in the countryside.
I listened to what I needed and said ‘no thank you, I’m going to stay inside and have some time to myself‘ when people were making plans for the morning.
And so while I still felt the anxiety in the lead-up to this weekend, I know that it’s ok.
Because I recognise that trust takes time to build up, even trust in myself.
And I know that I will get there.