Listen to the alarms

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There are many kinds of alarm bells – warning signs that are trying to get our attention all day. The obvious one that wakes us up in the morning, but also the many other alarms around us. The creaking of our joints as we try and drag ourselves out of bed (just me then), the tiny drop of shower gel in the bottle telling us we need to go shopping, the pain in our tooth as we eat breakfast reminding us to make that appointment and the petrol gauge on the car flashing it’s warning lights to go fill up at the station. All indications that we need to do something…..if we don’t then nothing will change. One day we’ll miss the alarm, the walk to the bathroom will become harder, the shower gel will be empty whilst you’re in the shower, and your tooth will be so painful you can’t eat your breakfast. Alarms are there to warn us that something is wrong and we need to take action.

When I think about our children too there are always signs of what’s really going on underneath their behaviour. They may hide it particularly well as my daughter does sometimes but if I pay attention enough and really listen to the alarms then I will be able to see what’s going on and hopefully take some action to help her. It’s the same with us of course. You can’t miss the signs in yourself that things aren’t quite right. Maybe a nagging feeling of dread or panic, maybe not sleeping well or appetite has changed, or maybe more irritable and sharp with those around you. If we ignore these signs whatever is causing them will not go away it will only get worse.

As a parent it’s so easy to focus on others – the children, our partner, our friends – which is fine, but we must make sure in doing that we are not ignoring the alarms bells ringing in ourselves. It’s funny because I seem to spend so much of my life as a detective trying to analysis every tiny behaviour of my children but then ignoring the signs in myself!! It’s strange that we always seem to end up at the bottom of the pile – of our own making many times.

Many years ago when I trained as a coach we talked a lot about values. Really knowing what is important to you and living by those values. It makes such a difference when you can truly live by those principles. To be aware of them and know when you are not living by them or that they are being trampled on by others can make a whole lot of difference to how you feel. Over the years since I’ve noticed many new values in myself (or ones that were there all along just hidden). One of them I want to tell you about and I can even feel myself wanting to apologise for this value before I’ve even said it which tells me I’m still not really owning and living this value. I call this value ‘because I’m worth it’ – bit of a joke around the L’Oreal adverts of course which makes me smile whenever I say it but the meaning is this – I know that I like nice things; luxury hotels, nice restaurants, expensive clothes and jewellery. Not that I get to experience them all too often now but when I get a chance to I say to myself ‘because I’m worth it’ in stead of ‘I feel guilty about this’ or ‘what will people think?’. So if I have the money and there’s a choice between camping in Bognor or 5 star accommodation in Eqypt then I’m off to Eqypt! If I fancy a coffee at Starbucks instead of making one at home then ‘because I’m worth it’ tells me that’s ok.

Of course my value may be triggering all your values that say ‘watch the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves’ or ‘always put others first’ and I understand that we have to balance things and we all have more than one value so my other values of compassion, honesty and connection contribute to my ‘because I’m worth it’ value. So why am I telling you this? Well as adoptive parents particularly I’ve been with many others who find it so difficult to do something for themselves. Anytime there’s a chance to be pampered there’s the guilt feelings that stop us in our tracks. But if you have alarm bells ringing inside you that are crying out for some attention YOU MUST stop and pay them attention. If you can not look after yourself and your signs of stress then you will be far less equipped to deal with those in your children, friends or partner.

So listen to those alarm bells in you – what are they telling you? Is it time to take some time for you and because you ARE worth it take heed of those signs and take some action today.

Image courtesy of winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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