I’m realizing more and more how much of my thinking is subconscious. This is good and bad; good because it’s efficient, bad because thoughts are ridiculously powerful and might not always serve me well. I can learn so much faster if I’m aware of my thoughts and how they are connected to my feelings and actions. Here’s two examples of when it took me a looong time to learn a lesson:
In the early years of our marriage when the kids were very little, I remember noticing how hard my husband worked and how he often seemed quite stressed. I thought (subconsciously) that if he’s stressed and I’m not, then we aren’t “in” it together; he won’t think that I’m supporting him. If he’s over-worked and stressed, then I should be too because we’re partners.
So, I would do things to work myself to death, or at least find evidence that my days were stressful too, in subconscious effort to match his stress level so we could be overworked together. How nice of me.
This thought did not serve us well.
Thankfully, I have a perceptive husband who is kind and smart. A lot of things come intuitively to him, which I actually learn the hard way. I don’t know how many years it took me to figure it out, but he helped me understand that it’s good to have an un-stressed partner. He wants me to be happy. He wants me to live my life in a way that doesn’t create more stress. In fact, I like to think that when he sees me in a good place with energy to care of him and the kids, it encourages him to have more thoughts and feelings of well-being and abundance. Duh!
Another (subconscious) thought that I held for years is that if I did too much to take care of myself (like getting nails done, “too much” makeup –however I defined it–, nice salons etc.), I would be a “high-maintenance” person and that’s bad because “those people” can’t possibly be genuine or down-to-earth or humble. I thought it was noble to not have any needs or wants and that doing those kind of feminine things was a bit extravagant and unnecessary. I thought my husband would prefer a wife who didn’t require any sort of maintenance. Cute, right?
One day, when Mark was getting his hair cut at a nice salon, I realized something. I liked that he was taking good care of himself. I wanted him to be well-cared for. I liked seeing a good hair-cut on him. I liked seeing him dressed nicely and smelling good. Huh. It registered in my brain that he probably enjoys seeing me that way too.
No wonder he had told me that he likes to see color on my fingernails, and he likes to choose clothes for me, and he gives me the best looks when I walk out of the room all gussied-up for a date night or dressed up for church. I know he loves me no matter how I’m put together, but being “put-together” is still quite nice.
I discovered that taking good care of myself has more to do with respect for myself than I had previously thought. If nails or haircuts or makeup help me look nice and feel feminine and attractive, then bring it on! Taking care of myself (spiritually, emotionally, physically…) honors the person I am and helps me see the person I’m becoming– the next version of myself. I like to see those things manifesting in my husband too. It’s attractive. There is something nice about seeing each other cared for, and consequently I find more opportunities of being really attracted to my husband. Win-win.