You did it! You fell in love, said I DO, packed your bags and off you go to live the life of your dreams! You are embarking on a journey of a life time, one that includes traveling the world and living in a different state every 2/3yrs! You’re serving your country by supporting your service member as they deploy to some of the most remote places in the world. From sending goodie baskets, care packages, and other things to keep his mind on track, to waiting in long lines for a 10min time slot to do a video conference with your service member…oh the joys! In the midst of all the sharing, togetherness, moves, suppressing feelings, supporting, separation, pre-deployment, post-deployment, and reunification…somehow you lost yourself between duty stations!
You wake up one morning and realize…I’m NOT who I use to be, and I really miss her! You can’t remember exactly when or where you lost her, you just all of a sudden feel empty, unfulfilled, and alone. No matter how many activities or groups you’re involved in, you just can’t shake that feeling of “there has to be more to life than this, and what about my dreams.” This happens to the best of us strong-minded, assertive, #girlboss, and powerful Milspouses. Many of us fall victim to the “Less of me, and More of them” syndrome. We seldom complain because after all, we signed up for this…right??!
We give up parts of ourselves, our social lives, our favorite pastimes, rituals, etc…to fit into our ever changing military lifestyle. Having the ability to adapt to the ever changing military lifestyle is indeed an art and the longer you’re in the life…you get better at it, but it’s still hard! In my research of Self-Love and Authentic Living over the last year, I discovered 85% of the Milspouses I spoke with at some point felt like, WTF! This can very easily turn into resentment and frustration if there is no safe space to share these feelings and be transparent about how this life can at times be very lonely…without judgement from other spouses or the outside world. If any of this sounds like you, you are NOT alone! After 10yrs of active service, and 14yrs of being a Milspouse…I GET IT! Now that you know you’re not alone…let’s talk about rediscovering the I in Wife and how to get back to YOU!
Here are 5 steps to get you moving in the right direction, and stirring the ever changing beautiful pot of goodness that is your LIFE!
Set appropriate boundaries. One key component to creating personal happiness and healthy/fulfilling relationships is learning how to set appropriate boundaries. Simply put, boundaries set the space between where you end and the other person begins. This may be difficult if you didn’t come from a place where you were taught to be an original thinker with your own voice and opinions. The more confident you are, the easier it will be for you to set, maintain, and adjust appropriate boundaries without making them too weak or too strong.
Discover your passion and purpose. When we as women toss away our own passions and interests, we lose our authenticity. We pretend to agree when we don’t really agree, we go along with things we don’t really believe in, and if we continue this pattern long enough…we no longer know what we feel and if it’s real. The clearer you get about who you are, your contributions to the planet, and your purpose…the more you can show up in the world as your authentic self.
Say the things that need to be said. It’s important to recognize and acknowledge your own feelings. Did your partner’s critical comment make you feel bad? If so, say it…feelings buried alive never die. Say the things that need to be said, your feelings matter. You don’t have to (and you won’t) always agree with your partner, but it’s about having healthy debates and disagreements. Every dispute doesn’t have to end with “I’m glad we agree.”
Remember who you were (or dreamed of being) before you became a wife. Remember the bright-eyed, adventure seeking, free-spirited, fierce person you were before you said “I DO”…re-introduce yourself to her! At some point you drank the Kool-Aid that said “you have to let go of her to be a successful wife and mother”…FALSE! You will make mistakes, you won’t always get it right, you will want to rebel against your roles and titles sometimes, and you will want to just be YOU! That’s alright, you shouldn’t feel any guilt or shame about that. At the end of the day, those are the many shades of YOU, and it’s what makes you beautiful!
Remember Self-Care is not Self-ish. As wives and mothers, we often put our needs on the back burner to serve our families. The old saying “Happy wife, happy life” is real talk. You want to make sure you’re showing up in your family and community whole-heartedly. This means, clearly identifying what you need for yourself, so YOU can show up and serve as a wife, mother, friend, etc.
Yes, there are many more things that go into this…and certainly these 5 are not the magic pill to happiness and a prosperous relationship. However, these tips are meant to be a start in the right direction of you getting back to YOU! Step #2 is vitally important, because if you don’t know your purpose and contribution to the planet…you will bend and shape yourself to fit any and every title you’re given without questioning it. Remember, today is a perfect day to be YOU! Be a heavy weight Champion of your life, Today!