Monday, January 01, 2007

When You Don't Feel Like Being Family

Writing a blog on family causes you to spend a lot more time thinking about, reading about, and being involved with family.

But sometimes, I just don't feel like being with family. Or even in a family. I want to bury my head in YouTube and forget my obligations. I'm all out of care and just want to be left alone.

I get burned out - and not just from being a mom. I get tired of being a wife, tired of being a sibling, a friend, an in-law - tired of being anything. I just want to be my selfish self.

Most people feel this way and push through it. But I'm horribly self-indulgent when I get in these moods. I really do need to be selfish for at least a day - sometimes more. I need people to understand I'm out of give. Sometimes, relationships don't even seem worth the effort.

When it's really bad, I feel like I'm out of love and I can't see how I'll ever find it again. There's too much heartbreak and too little benefit. I think, "This is just unhealthy and messed up. What am I doing wasting my time here?"

And I start looking for the nearest exit.

It's not always a bad idea. Just because saber tooth tigers don't exist any more doesn't mean our flight or fight response is useless. I'd do better in life to listen to mine more often rather than second-guessing it with my over-developed sense of obligation.

But more often than not, I'm wrong. The truth is, my best memories are of time with family and the deepest happiness I've felt have been because of family.

I need to remember that I'm dealing with real humans, not actors playing roles they've been assigned in my life story.

Just because someone should act a certain way doesn't mean they will or even that they can. And maybe, just maybe, my expectations are too high.

Then I remember love isn't just a feeling. Love is a commitment, a promise. We may not always feel the love, but we have a commitment to love. Eventually, the feeling returns. But in the meantime, the commitment is what pulls us through the rough patches.

During these times, I need to be patient with myself and those I love. I don't have to do extra ordinary shows of affection or go that extra mile - I just have to be there and be committed to staying there.

Eventually, the love always returns.

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