When you’re a grumpy girlfriend, it can be difficult to spend time with yourself. Because any time spent away from your partner gets consumed by thoughts like “What is he doing? Who is he talking to? Is he happier when we are apart?”
Working on your grumpiness, jealousy, and insecurity is not only meant to increase your enjoyment of your relationship… it’s also meant to give you your life back. Because right now, my guess is that your “self-care” is all about distracting yourself, soothing your anxiety, and trying to get your mind off what your partner is or isn’t doing. That’s not self-care. That’s buffering.
It’s you + you
Whether you live with your partner or not, I really want to encourage you to take time to yourself and spent it the way you spend time with your best friends. Or if you, like me, don’t really have any best friends… spend it how you imagine you would haha!
What I mean by that is treat your time with yourself as two (or more) people hanging out. You are hanging out with you. It’s your brain + your brain. So often, we think we just are ourselves, solo, alone. And when we think this way, we become our thoughts. The thoughts we think simply become observations of “reality.”
But that’s not true.
There’s the part of your brain that thinks thoughts and then there’s the part of your brain that can think about what you are thinking. Already there we have two different people. Kinda.
I had this conversation with a client this week and we talked about the different people she deals with when hanging out with herself.
There’s her, and then there’s the person she likes spending time with. The person who cooks good food for her, who does fun things, who enjoys her activities with her, and cares about her loved ones… all that good stuff. And then there’s that rude person who tags along and always pushes her down. Judges her. Criticizes her. So now we’re dealing with three people.
You are not your thoughts
The better you get at separating out who you are from what you are thinking, the more enjoyable your time with yourself is going to be. I call this being The Watcher of your own brain instead of just being inside of your brain. Yes, your thoughts create your feelings, and feelings are very real, regardless if the thoughts are true or not.
But you can still observe what your brain is doing and telling you. And just because one person in your brain is telling you rude things or making up stories about what your partner is doing, doesn’t mean that you have to agree. You don’t even have to listen to that part of your brain. You get to treat those words the same way you would treat a stranger telling you these things.
At the end of the day, you are responsible for who you hang out with when you’re hanging out with yourself. Are you hanging out with a rude person who is making your life worse or are you hanging out with that nice person inside of you who is actually pretty fun to be around?
Not liking yourself
It’s sadly quite normal for my girlfriend clients to not always like themselves. They feel like they’re bad people, bad girlfriends, and they’re just waiting for the world to catch on. And when we feel this way, spending time alone isn’t a lot of fun. But it might actually feel better than spending time with others because then at least you are the only one who has to suffer from your “badness”.
What I want to offer you is that if you don’t like yourself or you don’t like spending time with yourself, it’s cause you’re missing the nice person inside of you. The fun person, the person with humor, the person who actually cares about certain things in life. You think you are that rude person who has negative, sometimes shameful thoughts about herself and others… you identify as that grumpy version of yourself.
But that’s just one person inside of your brain. And I promise you, we ALL have that person inside of us. It’s like that rude relative that always shows up that no one really likes but we don’t really get rid of because well… they’re supposed to be there somehow. But that is not who you are.
The more time you spend with yourself focusing on the person inside of you who is actually funny, kind, loving, and happy, the quieter that grumpy part of you is going to become. Of course, she’ll become more loud and obnoxious in the beginning because she wants all the attention… but eventually, it’ll settle down.
Okay okay… Maybe this is just my brain coming up with a solution to my own lack of friends hahah. But if you have a lot of friends to hang out with, I still want you to use that friend-experience you have and apply it to your relationship with yourself. I don’t want you to just replace your alone time with friend time and use them as a “cover-up.”
Ever since I stopped identifying as that grumpy part of myself who was always negative, rude, and humorless, I realized there are parts of me… people in my brain that I actually like! I do enjoy spending time with myself. Because I enjoy all the same hobbies as myself, I enjoy the same kinds of wine as myself, and I enjoy just hanging out on the couch doing nothing. Just like I do!
And if my brain ever starts worrying about what my partner is or isn’t doing while I’m spending time alone, I don’t get mad about it. But I also don’t necessarily let it take up all my energy and let it ruin my alone time. It’s kind of like hanging out with a group of friends and knowing that one of them is a bit anxious. That’s okay and you can support them. But it doesn’t mean that you have to become anxious too.
What I want you to take away from this: Distance yourself from your thoughts. Don’t identify with them. Observe them, watch them, and start realizing that you have thoughts. You are not your thoughts.