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Sometimes Love Can Look Like (Temporarily) Lowered Expectations

·633 words·3 mins
Mental Health Relationships Survival

A truly ridiculous week. An awful week. Everything is so poorly timed that it makes me wonder if we’re both being pranked by a third party. It has a sort of black comic timing — “Just when our heroes didn’t think it could any worse, it DID!”

And it doesn’t help that over the last handful of months, my workload has doubled. And that I’m dealing with some gnarly medical issues (not COVID but annoying).

So I have a lot to do — because that’s just my life now. And yet… the spirit is weak. And the energy isn’t there at all.

Frowning, I shake my head and sit down with my to-do-lists. I can clearly see what I normally would do — what I would do in an ideal situation. But that is not where I find myself.

“What can I wait on?” I ask myself. This is a terrifying question. As I mentioned in previous posts, I’m learning to trust myself again. I’ve been a responsible person for 20 years or so — approximately half my life — but the 20 years before that, well… I was a mess.

And when I was a mess, I trusted myself a lot. I was very quick to say, “Oh yeah, sure, you can do it later.” But then I’d never do it later. It was easy to extend myself plenty of unearned credit in those days, no questions asked — and I’d never pay the bill. And it predictably caught up to me.

But I’ve been doing better with it lately. Learning that I can trust myself a little more. It feels scary, but I’ve earned it.

So I sit with my to-do list and whittle it down a bit. Six chores and two blog posts. Most of the chores are non-physical or low physical effort — one is making a couple of phone calls, for example. Another is doing some laundry. That sort of thing.

And two blog posts is a very light writing day. (I do a lot of other writing than just this blog.)

When Someone Else Wants You to Take It Easy

I’m nervous when I talk with my partner about it, about this decision. But he’s so supportive. The week has been wretched. Just awful. And he agrees that I should take it easy today. Seems impressed that I’m not taking the day off (even though I technically could).

I do the only physically strenuous chore first, while I have some energy. And I wind chores throughout the day, taking breaks to rest or write.

And as I make it through all 8 tasks, I feel so damn loved. By my partner of course — who isn’t nitpicking or judging my decision to slow down for the day — but also by myself.

And as I do, I realize that maybe this is a form of self-love I can actually get behind. Not the self-aggrandizing kind of self-love where I think I’m all that and a bag of chips or can do no wrong. But one where I can extend a little grace to myself when I’m struggling, allow myself a slower day without guilt. A self-love where I can trust myself to catch up later on the slack I’ve cut myself.

Will every day be a slow one? Certainly not. I have a lot to do. A lot of deadlines. And chores don’t wait. They accumulate even when you’re just sitting around and chilling. Chores seem to be a natural byproduct of living.

In a healthy relationship — with other people and with yourself — those lowered expectations will nearly always be temporary (unless something life altering happens that needs to be adjusted to).

But I have to say… they feel quite loving while they last.


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