When your family goes through challenging experiences, you try to be there for your loved ones. You want to support your family as much as possible. But somewhere, your individuality goes for a toss.
I felt this way often the last couple years. I feel it even now. A chain of events unraveled that financially and emotionally shook my family. I tried to be there. I fulfilled my duties as a good daughter. I wanted to support my family as much as I could.
A lot of things and situations have been resolved. Some things are still pending.
But Through it All, I feel My Individuality Has Gone
I paid no attention to my needs. And this is not my family’s fault. I love my family and they are beautiful people. They care about me. But in attending so much to my family’s needs, my needs were put aside. It was something I realized only much later.
I Crumbled Inside and Exploded
I fell apart. My body would feel tight and tense. I snapped at them, though no fault of theirs. It was because a disconnect started happening between me and my heart. I wasn’t taking care of myself or dealing with my own emotions properly.
I Gave Myself Space and Set Boundaries
The first step I took was to get some space between my family and I. This is very important. I didn’t stop being there for them. But I started to take a step back and take some time out to give to myself. A good way to do this is to tell your family openly that you need some space and privacy to process your own feelings through the challenging experiences.
When I started to pull out an hour from my day or spend a weekend with myself, I used to feel guilty. It wasn’t so much that my family said anything. It was mostly these fears and thoughts running in my head. Is pulling out an hour from your day to take care of yourself really mean you’re not being there for your loved ones? Absolutely not!
I Went Back to Doing Things that Brought Me Happiness
I took baby steps. I spent the time sometimes writing in my journal or writing chapters and scenes for my novel. Other times, I just kicked my feet on the coffee table and watched an episode of Modern Family. Other times, I napped. Or I talked to a friend on the phone. Or had a dinner date. I did whatever brought me happiness at that moment. And that changed every moment.
In doing this, I built my individuality again. When you stay connected to your heart and individuality, you don’t need to be afraid you’re letting down others in the process. Actually, by taking care of yourself, you end up being more present for your loved ones because you’re presenting the best version of yourself.
How do you keep your individuality intact when your family is going through challenges? Please share with me in the comments.