TTC: How often do you feel that your wellbeing is hitched to how others act? Conflict can appear on many levels as you TTC, such as arguments with partners, disagreements with friends, or confrontations at work. Being in conflict can not only bring you down, but also can set a negative tone for the whole day. Managing this on top of a fertility journey can be tough.
One of my teachers, Tara Brach, long time Buddhist meditation teacher, psychologist and author, often talks about how to navigate conflict in her teachings and podcasts. She believes using the language of ‘100% responsible’ is key.
What is being 100% responsible?
It means that you are capable of looking after your own wellbeing and responding to conflict with awareness and kindness:
- You are fully responsible for your thoughts, words and actions.
- You are not responsible for anyone else.
- You are capable of creating boundaries and setting limits.
- You are able to take care of what is going on inside you.
- You don’t need others to change before you can do this.
Conflict often appears in our lives as we TTC when we feel that our needs aren’t being met. We might hear ourselves saying things like: ‘How could you have done that?’ ‘You should have listened to me!’ ‘What made you think that would be OK?’ ‘Why didn’t you do it when you said you would?’ Have a think back to how often have you said phrases like these in the past. If you’re like me, it could be many times.
So we know what being 100% responsible now looks like, but what’s the alternative as you TTC? My coaching client, Carmen, gave me permission to share her story, which explains it beautifully.
Carmen told me, ‘I hated that my partner, Liz, always worked late. I found that evenings were the worst to be by myself. I’d just sit there and worry about what our lives would be like if we didn’t manage to have a baby. I’d want to talk to her about this, but I wouldn’t get the chance because she’d normally get home after 10pm.’
Carmen and I talked about being 100% responsible and the next week she told me, ‘I thought about what you said. Instead of waiting for Liz to come home and off loading my worries, I started to think about what I could do differently. I decided to journal my thoughts. I found it helpful to get my worries down on paper rather than them being caught up in my head. It gave me more clarity. I also signed up for an evening meditation class which I’d been meaning to do for ages. For the first time in a while I felt more in control. It was a relief.’
Scary but validating
It’s easy to abnegate responsibility or blame others for what has gone wrong. When you’re 100% responsible that changes. The ball comes back into your court. That can be scary – but it’s also validating.
Knowing that you are 100% responsible for your own well being, no matter what others may do – is incredibly life enhancing and freeing. If this resonates with you, start today.
Safety first – every time
One important point to note. If you’re being bullied or someone is being abusive, being 100% responsible is not saying, ‘It’s my fault’, or ‘go ahead and walk all over me.’ It means you need to do whatever it takes to make yourself safe. Brach reminds us, “You are 100% responsible to take care of the wounds inside you. You don’t need to have the other person change, in order for you to heal yourself.” How empowering is that?
*TTC Trying To Conceive