Many of my clients use the F word when they are speaking to me. I don’t mind because it helps them to express how they are feeling, although I do my best to persuade them that it’s not necessary.
I’m talking about failure.
My clients tell me they feel like a failure because:
- they no longer want to participate in activities their friends or family love to do, whether it’s going to the cinema, hanging out in loud bars or going to listen to live music.
- they are not enough for their families. They feel like taking time to look after their own needs – for example by managing their stress levels or getting a decent night’s sleep – is somehow being less dedicated to their children and partner.
- they are irritable with their kids or partner because the noise in their head is really getting on their nerves
- they struggle to focus at work because their tinnitus is so loud it’s distracting.
Does this sound familiar? It does to me too. I know I’m not a failure, which means you’re not either.
How can I say that? Because I apply self-compassion. Self-compassion taught me I’m not failing. Self-compassion taught me that many of the standards I strove to meet in my life were false. That trying to be the perfect wife, daughter, dog-parent, god-parent or friend didn’t help anyone, especially not me.
Self-compassion has taught me that it’s ok to do life a little differently…
I still enjoy quality time with my husband – our date nights are in quieter pubs, or we take picnics to beauty spots when everyone else has gone home for dinner and we have the place to ourselves!
We do film nights at home complete with popcorn and, most importantly, the volume under my control!
We still socialise with friends, but tend to meet in their homes where, again, the sound is much more manageable.
We still eat out in restaurants, we just pick quieter times before they are full. And now, because of Covid, we’re lucky to be able to order our favourite meals to eat at home.
I definitely don’t do soft play centres with my goddaughter (shudders at the thought of all those high-pitched shrieks), but I’ll happily take her to our local park to feed the ducks and play on the swings.
And yes, I sometimes, do things I know will cause a tinnitus spike. If my best friend is holding her 50th in a glitzy London bar, there’s no way I’m going to miss it. I might escape into quieter rooms or outside for an ear break, but I’m absolutely going to help her celebrate. And If my favourite band’s playing in a nearby city you can bet I’ll be there too (with ear plugs admittedly!).
Does all that make me a failure? No! So don’t let anyone (especially not that critical voice in your head) tell you that living life differently with tinnitus makes you a failure. You are doing the best you can under very trying circumstances. You should be patting yourself on the back, not giving yourself a hard time.
If you’d like to learn how to be more self-compassionate when it comes to your tinnitus (or any aspect of your life) I can show you how.