Do you bring your best self home?

How many times have you come home after a challenging day and (without even asking) dumped your entire list of complaints in your loved one’s lap?

Why is it that we take our best self out into the world remembering our manners and being considerate of others; yet on home turf we allow ourselves to switch off and react unconsciously?

Why do we save the uncensored grumbly version of ourselves for the people we love the most? 

I know I’m definitely guilty of this.

I go to work and despite spending all day with teenagers who know exactly which buttons to push, I manage to stay completely calm (mainly cause I know this infuriates them more). Yet I walk in the door and immediately start to feel tense over something as meaningless as mess and washing up.

I manage to speak to everyone else politely yet sometimes catch myself being a real bitch when I ask something of Andrew. (there really is no other word for it!)

Whilst it is great to be so completely comfortable in your family and relationship that you share everything, warts and all, I think we need to be careful that we don’t just switch to automatic mode once we get home.

These are our most important relationships and the ones where we should be devoting our energy.  It seems crazy that someone who you interact with for less than a minute at the shops might get to see a better version of you than your own husband.

So how do we change it?

Stay present.
I know. Everyone is saying it, but how on earth do you do it? And more to the point, some days it’s hard to even remember why you would want to be conscious of the present moment when you have a screaming toddler, too many things to do and a house that feels like its falling apart around you.

But that’s the point.

Staying present just means experiencing the right now. It gives us the chance to deal with only what is right in front of us, which for the most part is usually very manageable. It is only when we get caught up in our thoughts that we start getting our stressy pants on.  The idea of too many things to do and the chaotic house is all in your head, so put that aside. The screaming toddler issue is usually related to the fact that you are trying to do a million other things instead of giving them the time they need.

Breathe.
Staying present is hard to practice in itself because most of us spend so much time caught up in our heads that we forget to stop and check in.  The breath is the easiest way to pause and bring yourself back to the moment.

Whenever you feel yourself getting tense and stressed about something try taking a full breath in and out.  Hold it for a moment if you need.  Not only does this release the physical tension it gives you the chance to stop and assess what is really happening right now, rather than just reacting to the pressure you are feeling.

Watch yourself.
We often relax so much at home that we don’t have the same awareness of our own actions and words as we do out in the world. Being aware of this and watching ourselves in our interactions at home we can start catching the negative dump before we start it.

It’s definitely a work in progress over here, but by practicing the three things above I am finding I mostly catch myself before I react.  Or when it’s all getting too much and I can’t manage it I know it’s time to give myself some time out to make sure I can bring my best self home.

How do you make sure you bring your best self home?

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