Unexpectedly, the process of planning my wedding has triggered feelings I had during my burnout, (albeit to a lesser degree – thank goodness). I haven’t really blogged about my wedding much, but it is only a few weeks away now and my partner and I have been busy planning. It’s like the wedding planning has shone a light on all the things I have learned about myself over the last year or so, and it has highlighted the things I still need to work on.
Doing it all myself
First things first, I have never been much of a “bride” type of person and the idea of waffling on about my wedding plans to everyone all day does not appeal. My partner and I have been keen to keep the whole process easy and simple. But what is it about weddings – everyone has an opinion! If it isn’t about the lack of flowers, then it’s the colour of this dress or that, or the timings – our families have decided to GET INVOLVED! Now I must admit I have struggled with this. I am super independent, and part of my psychology is all about being self-sufficient – often too much, as we know, as this is one of the main contributing features leading to professional burnout. However, as much as I may have been working hard on delegating, and seeking help and support in my work this year, I am not feeling this when it comes to planning our wedding. It really feels like it should be personal to us and not designed to meet the expectations of other people.
This is another aspect of professional burnout which has reared it’s ugly head, and is connected to the various opinions coming our way about how weddings “should” be done. With so many different people attending from all parts of our lives, and with the burden of mother-in-law / mother expectations it can feel easier to bend and acquiesce just to ‘keep others happy’. I have been guilty of doing this already but this needs to STOP! This is all about listening to my own needs and knowing when to say ‘no’, just like when I was working super hard and helping everyone at work to the detriment of my own health.
It’s all about me!
This is the worst and hardest aspect of the wedding for me. I am deeply uncomfortable putting myself at the centre of things, even though most other people seem to think this is normal for a bride. I’ve been adjusting to people asking about the wedding at the start of every conversation, although kindly meant, – there is more to my life than this wedding! I nearly legged it out of a wedding dress shop recently after they started ringing a bell and gathering a small crowd to applaud every time a lady tried on a dress that fitted! **Cringe** And there’s no way you’ll ever get me to an engagement shoot **hyper-cringe!!** But bridezillas aside, this day IS about me AND my partner to a large extent and it IS an opportunity for me to practise listening to my needs and wants. The many wedding-based micro-decisions that have to be made have forced me to tune into what it is I actually want – something I’ve blogged about before – which is always a real challenge. But ultimately the wedding is proving to be helpful practice, because not listening to my needs and wants is what pushed me to burnout in the first place. So as I navigate my way through all the RSVP’s and field the family roastings, I remind myself that it is okay to do what I want to do, and look after myself.
I am doing my best to keep a sense of perspective through mindfulness and meditation. My partner and I were keen to keep things easy, and the only way to do that is to “let it go”, stay in the moment, and hold on our love for each other. One day is really not the be all and end all compared to my health and happiness for the rest of my life. If others want to be unhappy about things, that’s their choice. I can choose not to engage and I am able to manage my thoughts about the wedding. And after all, as Buddha said
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.”