This past week-end, the plan was to be sociable. We were due to visit family friends on Saturday. On Sunday, we were invited for lunch by an old friend of mine.
On Saturday, I was ill. It started at 3am in the morning. Unexpectedly, I was vomiting, and I felt wiped out all day long. My temperature was up, and I stayed in bed. The family friends were understanding and sweet enough to look after my son to give us a break for a few hours.
On Sunday, I was a bit better. My temperature was still a bit raised, but at least I could stand up. But my husband got poorly. Lying in bed doubled up in pain, he was not up for socialising.
‘Shall I cancel?’ I asked without really meaning it. We’ve cancelled one or two lunches with this friend in the past. She taught me at university when I first arrived in the UK, and until I married, she practically adopted me. I was invited to every Christmas and any big family event. It was such an honour to be a part of her life.
‘No, no, I can do it,’ my husband obliged.
You see, he thought if we cancelled, he’d let me down. I thought if I cancelled, I’d let her down. If we missed out on seeing her, we probably wouldn’t meet up for another few months, as we’ve got a few trips planned…
At mid-day, we went to see her. It was somewhat disappointing. Neither my husband nor I could eat properly. My son was freaked out by an overly loving puppy which leaked his face repeatedly. We were tired and couldn’t wait to get away so that we could go straight to bed! The evening was chaotic as everyone was struggling probably because we pushed ourselves too much in the day.
I know, hindsight does not help in terms of changing this particular situation. But a conscious reminder of what happens is useful:
When we let ourselves down by not listening to our own needs, we let other people down too. No one wins if we don’t listen to our own truth.