On a daily basis, there are things we do that subtract or add to emotional bandwidth. In a book we read the boys, the author uses the metaphor of a bucket being filled or emptied. The actions we take in life can empty or fill our own buckets or those around us, and the longer I stay sober the more aware I am of exactly how much those actions make a difference.
Sleep. Exercise. Meditation. Healthy eating. Gratitude.
Sometimes I’m on top of it, sometimes I’m not. I still consciously choose the unwise option all the time (like smoking last night).
But when I don’t take care of myself, the difference is apparent. I lose patience with others, life starts to feel impossible, my point of view becomes more constricted until it’s only able to see the tiny world immediately around me and I become unable to empathize with anyone else’s point of view.
It’s not just alcohol that makes us emotional unavailable to those we love, it’s the lack of self-care. And simply put, if we don’t show love to ourselves, we have nothing to extend to others.
But love is not a finite resource, although it may feel that way when we’re in self-preservation mode. The more we show loves to ourselves, the more we have to share – it multiplies. And all it takes is cracking that door open a little bit, giving ourselves the space to fill our own buckets, to get the ball rolling.
When I first started the “Love Myself” project back on Valentine’s Day 2017, I didn’t really know what that meant. All I knew was that I was sick and tired of NOT getting the love I wanted from those around me.
Now, almost two years later, I’m finally starting to understand what it means to really love oneself. And I’m feeling the emotional bandwidth extend beyond myself. Maybe I could start working on sharing it more with those I love, giving them the space to be human and faulty and unhappy.
Because I can handle it.