I can both (severely) struggle with my parents past and current behavior and have compassionate understanding and love for them along with a desire for a different future relationship with them at the same time.
Sometimes opposing emotions really throw me for a loop.
Yesterday my dietitian and I were talking through possibilities for why my body feels continually exhausted and that led to some feelings of not feeling adequate, as a human, because I can’t control how my body physically feels and I believe it’s somehow my fault. But when I said out loud how I would treat another friend or family member who was going through this much trauma work, “I would want them to curl up on the couch with some soup or tea and a soft blanket. As much as possible. All the time, actually.”
Yesterday was too busy to let that sink in. Today, though, was much calmer and I’ve had some time to process yesterday. I haven’t worked out in 14 days now, and I’ve had nothing positive to say to myself about that. I want to strangle the eating disorder part of me that is unrelenting with harsh, mean, evil, fear-based criticisms about my body and my work ethic. You are unbelievably lazy and you’re never going to stop gaining weight at this rate. Over and over, sliding in new ways to tear at my anxious heart at each ineffective comment.
But I am brought back to the kindness I am so willing to give to others. I am allowed to offer myself that, too. I am allowed to seize opportunities to grab a blanket and do nothing particularly productive, even if there’s a list of things to do. Even if I’ve done “nothing” for 14 days. I would want for a friend going through the same exact thing I am; blankets and warmth and hugs and enough safety to cry and enough space to just be. With no end goal or cap on self-compassion and no end to receiving kindness and love from others.
So, opposing emotions are tough. They are confusing and sometimes so frustrating for me I feel like I will explode. Nevertheless, I am allowed to have them. And I can sit with the tough things under a plush blanket, and find comfort in self- compassion until I can get to the therapeutic support all of me (but especially little-me) yearns for when this happens.