I just knew today was going to be a testing day. I slept really badly, a combination of my back playing up and my mind nagging at me throughout the depths of the night. It all seemed to stem from the most innocent of conversations with Phil about the meals he eats; microwave meals most of the time as he sees no point in cooking just for himself and is too tired to prepare and cook meals after working all day. Immediately I wanted to do something for him. I had a strong desire to care for him and look after him. To prepare meals for him or invite him around here for dinner every night.
This morning has been worse. I nearly went out and bought him a slow cooker, all the food which I would have prepared ready for him and I nearly text him to say meet me after work so I can give you your week’s supply of dinners for you to cook and then my counsellor’s words took over and I realised I was starting up old patterns of taking responsibility for him like I did for Tom and Greg. Phil is more than capable of doing all of that himself and whether he chooses to do something or not is not my problem or my responsibility.
But now my dilemma is do I listen to my counsellor, Sam, an intelligent highly trained woman that uses her mind and has encouraged me to do so with mine or do I throw all of my counselling away and 100% trust my instincts? Instincts that I’ve always had, to care for and look after the people in my life regardless of whether, mindfully, it’s right or not and then I question who is this right or wrong for? Just because psychologists and counsellors have a lot of training in the mind doesn’t mean that should overrule my basic instincts but then again what if my instincts are wrong and will lead me to more pain. After all, where did trusting my instincts leave me with Tom?
I think the truth is, maybe, that to ignore my instincts and go on other’s advice will take me onto one path, of which there will be other paths I can explore and go down but in equal measure to trust my instincts will take me on a path, of which there will be other paths I can explore and go down. Ultimately, life is about choices and there are maybe there are no wrong choices. If I choose to do one and it turns out not to bring me happiness, then I still have choices. I don’t have to stick to that choice then for the rest of my life, I can choose something else. Maybe it’s my years of feeling that I had no choices with Tom, that is leading me to panic about this now, although to be fair, I had as many choices back then, I just lacked the ability to see them and go for them.
How would life be if I became deaf and blind to everyone else’s thoughts, advice and well meanings and just totally trusted myself to go with what feels right? That’s a scary thought, probably because I know it would be like free falling. No safety net that I am aware of and no guarantees. No-one to guide me other than myself and my own gut instincts. Maybe that’s what I’m scared of more than anything. Trusting myself.
Now if only I could get my Mum’s conditioning of ‘Don’t be a doormat’ and society’s general belief that you should look out for yourself out of my head, maybe, just maybe, I’d stand a chance of learning to trust who I really am deep down. Trusting my spirit and my soul to always make the best choices that ultimately are right for me.
Getting this all out has helped me reach a conclusion; if it feels right I’m going to do it, but I’m going to do it in a mindful way. In other words, my instinct is to care for Phil but by being mindful of my input, I can care for him by giving him the information he needs to do the same job as I can do for him, therefore preventing myself from taking responsibility for him. Maybe instinct working with mindfulness is the way forward?