Seeing Into Yourself

You don’t see yourself!  All you do is diagnose depression!  You have no idea that life is happening around you.  There are reasons why people do what they do!

Lots of exclamations pinned what Victor said to me like war ribbons.  He was angry but did not know it.

I’m not angry!  I’m not yelling!

So here we were, telling each other what the other person did not see in themselves.  Great place to wedge into.  Mountains of nothing.

As my beloved residency attending used to tell me,

Look who’s telling you that.

By which of course he meant, your own brain can not be the best mirror of your soul.

Question:  What do you use as your mirror?  Where to you go, who do you trust?  How do you find a way to see yourself?  Please tell your story.

self-care tip:  Find a way to see into yourself you can trust.

Between You and Me, Interpersonally, Do this

Between you and me

Between you and me (Photo credit: flekotech)

First, allow transparency.

Second, practice the Three C’s – I didn’t Cause this, I can’t Control this/him/her, I’m not responsible to Change it/him/her.

Third, use the Three C’s to practice presence with yourself and within the connection you seek – interpersonal or otherwise.

Fourth, move into pursuit of “Quality of Life” – what increases your quality of life experience.

Be a friend to yourself.  It starts with Me.

Question:  Does any of this feel kind and in the interest of you? and thereby, others?  Please tell us your story.

 

Related:

What Was Missing Was You  2011/01/28

 

Entitled to Understand – NOT

Please do not state the obvious, thanks :)

Please do not state the obvious, thanks 🙂 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We, many, share the not so friendly distorted belief that we are entitled to understand everything.  Bull bullhorn in hand, supported by the scaffolding round our personal renovations, we trumpet our oppression per the noncommunicating swine we once called our relations.

“Isn’t it our job to try to understand?” you ask.   Well, no.  The duty to understand starts with Me and ends with Me.  (I think I just felt a poison blow dart pierce my flesh!  Stop that!  Is this being received well!?  Hello?  Anyone?!  Ouch!  Not another dart!)

Motives too easily change to build a case against each other rather than reconcile or to account for our Me.  What does someone owe us, if not to let us understand them?  Nothing.  Sounds harsh?  Or maybe, not so harsh.  Not as harsh as being victimized.  Not as harsh as spending one’s bank on illusive control of what isn’t ours to control.  Not as harsh as the crescendo anger swells into when a child watches her parents behave poorly.  Not as harsh as watching your beloved friend “un-choose” you.  No.  Claiming title to the thoughts and behaviors of others is generally and commonly done with little insight, but it can only be policed by the individual on either end.  After all, everything starts and ends with Me.  (Plink!  Hear the pennies dropping?)

We deserve as much as the value of our own self.  Understanding others will come perhaps or perhaps not.  But it is as deserved as any other gift.  That is to say, not.

Question:  How do you stay in your space, when you are grieving the behaviors of those you love?  How do you keep your entitlement to, “Me,” where you have title?  Please tell me your story.

Self-Care Tip:  Something as easy as remembering, “They don’t owe Me anything; even understanding,” can be friendly.  Keep on.

Everything starts and ends with Me ….Still talking about it

You make your own definitions of Me, self, and friendship. This is mine I share because it is friendly to Me. It is not meant to be a template.

I am the bride of Christ. When I speak of Me, I speak as one claimed by Love and in Love. When I speak of Me, I speak of this person I am in that complex union, dynamic and without lines. My self is the same as to say, Me with Christ and Christ with Me.

Using the term, Me, is a general term for that part that remains in each of us that is timeless, unchanged by trauma or indignity. The Me describes who you or I are still in any dimension or medical condition. The Me does not depend on a heart beat.

Being a friend to yourself means believing and treating yourself in ways that are consistent with your belief that although we are victimized in life, being the victim is a free choice. We are free to choose.

Out of this, our friendship grows to include the truth that we accountable to ourselves. We don’t look for nidus of control outside of our friend, Me.

Our friendship grows further to include presence with our personal journey, which in turn heightens our presence with what connections we share with others. These connections naturally require bank to generate and maintain and bank, as in any country, requires hard work. To serve others demands funds, even emotional and behavioral funds, physical funds and sociological.

Everything starts and ends with Me. (Refer to above.)

Question: What is your “Me, self, and friendship?” Please tell us. I’d love love to hear.

Work can be fun! – Guest Post by DeeAnna Merz Nagel

Work can be fun! 

Guest Post by DeeAnna Merz Nagel

I mostly work from home and that can be challenging. How do I adjust my days so that I stay in flow and practice self-care?  The balance is not always easy but the balance is important. I started the Online Therapy Institute a few years ago and anyone who has started a business knows how much time and energy the effort takes.  I had already started a part time private practice seeing just a few clients a week in the office and a few clients a week online.  After a couple of years (literally) of trying to find my work groove, balancing work at home, work in the office and occasional travel to conduct seminars and workshops, I finally found a rhythm that works for me.

I am an introvert by nature, so give me a cozy environment and a laptop, access to coffee and tea and a pastry or chocolate here and there, and I am golden. Sometimes the challenge is not to indulge my quiet side too much.  So instead of stacking my client appointments to one day a week, I found it works better for me to see clients a few days a week. Even if I have one client during the day at the office, that gets me out of the house. So while I could arrange my work week so that I only go to the office one day a week, I purposefully plan my schedule differently.

I also found that when I work from home, I do well to move around in my space. I might sit at the desktop (properly- in an ergonomic chair at a desk) or I might sit on the sofa, or lounge in the guest room when on my laptop. Moving around gets me up and out of that “headspace” for a bit.

I also move around with my tasks, perhaps answering a few client emails in the morning and answering a few in the late afternoon. The rest of my day is filled with writing curriculums and answering trainee and consultancy questions.  I use social media as a way to relax online. It is my communication portal and draws out the engaging side of me. I like the conversation and dialogue that social media can foster.

I also take breaks during the day to just play – whether that is reading something really gossipy or juicy on my new Kindle Fire, or watching a talk show, going to lunch with a friend or a colleague, or taking a few hours during the week for shopping or spa-like activities.  Mostly, I try to lean into the mood I am in and when I am not creative or ready to begin work, I don’t fight it. I allow myself to putter and trust that the work mindset will kick in (it always does).

I am fortunate that my office is 5 minutes from my house and that I live in a small village on the Jersey Shore. I can live the quiet life and wave to the Manhattan skyline – only a ferry ride away!  Working for myself allows me different luxuries that I do not take for granted. A nice spring day might give rise to seeing a matinee on Broadway.  It is all right here at my fingertips – the world in cyberspace and the world outside my door.  Finding balance to enjoy both the online and the offline world is important.

Today I woke up with every intention of finishing up a curriculum. Instead, I puttered with Polyvore and created an expressive piece about work:  http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/set?.svc=twitter&id=43800377

tee hee!

Questions:  What’s fun about your work?  How do you keep it about you?  Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip:  Keep work about you and you’ll have more fun.  Keep on.

DeeAnna Merz Nagel is psychotherapist, coach and consultant. She co-founded the Online Therapy Institute and the Online Coach Institute and is Managing Co-Editor of TILT Magazine ~ Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology. Her counseling and consulting specialties include relationship issues, alcohol and drugs, surviving abuse, internet addictions and understanding how technology impacts our lives. She offers online counseling and in-office psychotherapy in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. Find her at http://www.jerseyshoretherapy.com & http://www.trainingcoachesandtherapiststoworkonline.com 

If You Don’t Take Care of Yourself Someone Else Will

Suburban Girl

Image via Wikipedia

If Archie isn’t going to take care of himself someone else will.

Whoever wrote that line, should have written the rest of the script of Suburban Girl (2007).  The movie moved from something I couldn’t believe I was watching, to worth it; just to hear those words.

If Sana isn’t going to take care of herself someone else will.

Taking care of ourselves is what we have to participate in freedom.  Not taking care of ourselves is as much as saying, “Here.  Take my freedom and make my choices for me.”

Self-Care Tip:  Take your freedoms back by taking care of yourself.

Question:  What does your name sound like in this space?  “If _________ isn’t going to take care of herself/himself someone else will.”  And what does that mean when read that way?  Keep on.

The First Premise of Being A Friend To Yourself. Me.

What is being a friend to yourself?  As long as we have been talking about this, we still wonder.  Although a dynamic concept, we have a premise that doesn’t change.  Everything starts and ends with Me.

Seated in any test, laid aside any stressor, blocked by a wall of most threatening construct, being a friend to yourself begins here.  We have that to guide us and will never ever have to ask again, “Where do I start?”  We never will lose ourselves to the confusions around us of looking for our home; our point of reference and direction.  There is immense usefulness in this.

Question:  How has this starting point helped to reorient you, to decrease negative climax and increase presence in your life?  How has starting with Me been friendly and/or how is/will be starting with Me be friendly?  Please break it down and tell us your story.

The Vanishing Point

Image by Roger's Wife via Flickr

Self-Care Tip:  Start with Me to start being a friend to yourself.

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The Holidays and Lonely Me

Feeling anxious about Christmas, or whichever December holiday celebrated?  We are not alone.  We think we are.  We worry about the in-laws, parents, money, gifts for our kids, keeping the romance, abandonment, alcohol abuse, anniversary-grief of loved ones lost, and on and on.  I’m thinking now especially of our dear blogger-friend, Lisa, who is spending this first Christmas without her mom.

Lisa, we are standing with you.  We are weeping with you.  You are not alone and we value you.

In this precious sum of days, “the holidays,” going into the space that holds our fear seems almost morally wrong.  (Do we really have the responsibility we perceive we do to be “festive?”)  The smiles and joy appear to occupy any organ-cell(s), from the lowest creature to our neighbor, who doesn’t deserve more than a broken shoe in his stocking.  We think,

How can this be?  Why don’t I feel joy or care?

Even when our mind knows the true answers that we are not chosen to suffer, we are not alone and that we are safe to be in the space of our fears – even then, we don’t perceive it.  In the cold environment of our lonely selves, white breath condenses, freezes and, made heavy in winter-thought, falls to the ground before the “knowing” has a chance to reach the rest of us.

There are no universal-tips to dispense, cups of warm cocoa or four-sided tickets, except this.   Remind any part of us that can hear our friend, that is to say Me:

We weep together.  

We are present with our suffering.  This does not take sincerity away from the things we actually do still enjoy and feel pleasure with.  Inversely, feeling pleasure does not deny the grief or other negative feelings.  

We will make it past this.    

We love ourselves and see our flaws as tools to use towards furthering our efforts in self-care – potential assets.  

We claim our freedom to choose to start over at any time, to choose not to be a victim and to go where our intuitions wrongly advise us not to – our fears and shame.

We take our medication, despite stigma. 

We account to ourselves, despite what has happened in our lives.  

We keep it basic when things complicate.  We return to the home of Me whenever our view  of where we are in time films over.

Keep on my friends.  We are persons of courage and value.

Questions:  What fears complicate your holidays?  How are you friendly to yourself during this time?  Please tell us your story.

Get Your Hunting On – Insight is Empowering

But

Because of

He makes me

Finding insight can often feel like going on a bear hunt. There’s a children’s classic that tells this story about our journey towards self-discovery well with this title. You Tube even has a catalog of animations for it. One of my favorites is by Michael Rosen. This guy has a face made for story-telling.

We’re Going On A Bear Hunthttp://bit.ly/uItL6P YouTube

Sometimes when we venture out on our personal journey, a bit of the spirit of Columbus, a musketeer or a little boy with a stick in his hand. We have courage.

The screenplayer

Image by Darkroom Daze via Flickr

We are made beautiful by the courager; wind in our hair, weapon girded and travel pack filled with trail mix. And then mid-stride, mid-journey or in-process of anything our hand starts to shake. We remember more of our flaws rather than our merits. We remember abuse and encounter more of it. The tall grass becomes tangled around our ankles. We stumble often and start talking about why we cannot. We fear what we find or may find on the great hunt of accountability for our lives.

Words can be part of the tripping power over us. Words that point to all the power outside of us; over us. Words that erase our memories of what we have inside.

I am depressed because I have so much stress at work.

I hit him because he was being so rude.

I’m sorry but I wouldn’t cry all the time if you cared.

All the “reasons why” hover around us like angry weather, darkness or spooky caves.

I’m not forgetting the obvious. Hunting bears is dangerous. It is just a metaphor. Hunting for ourselves is less dangerous and more rewarding. We find that when we find our “bear,” and stay in the space of that fear for long enough over and over, it loses its power over us and our fears dissipate. We are safe and see that we have power.

Self-Care Tip: Get you some bear. You have the power and are not a victim.

Question: What keeps you from insight? How do you get past all the in-between that keeps you from seeing yourself and taking accountability for who you are? Please tell us your story.

Secure Connections Allow Us to Feel Safe When Proximate or When Distant From our Other

Your romantic partner just left on a distant work related job.  Inside, two days later, you feel a growing chill.

You are not alone in this type of response. Physical separation can challenge intimacy. (Save the snarky comments on the positive influence physical distance can also have Carl. 🙂 )20111013-114942.jpg

We want safe connections. What and how do we get those?

Secure interpersonal connections allow us when together or apart, in any place we find ourselves, we find that we are still connected.

In contrast, when you and I, he and she, her and she are doubting our own self and/or each other, in crisis and unpaired spirits, when together or apart, in any place we find ourselves, we find that we are not. We are not connected. Connection isn’t only about proximity of person to person.

This can be one of the healing forces in victims of abuse. In the discussion of our last post, Col said:

I have been trying to figure out how to connect back to a part of me kind of lost behind….

…Time to build some trust bonds.

Likewise, Antonia reminded me of this.  Although she came in with “her eyes rolling in her head” – her words weren’t always entirely connected, Antonia’s courage in life was undiminished.  I learned a lot from this survivor who spoke with a Sevillian accent, (including the theta sounds.)

I am so pleathed to meet you, Doctora!

Her teeth were stained and overlapped each other and the right side of her face and right arm I saw were in a ruin of tumbled scars. Story unfolded that she was molested as a child by her brother for years. Her mother had died young and her father had helped her understand that that was what girls were for. Escaping from Spain to France, she married in hopes to be given a “start-over.” Her husband was violent though and finally when he lit her on fire, she was hospitalized long enough to grow some scars; inside and out. She threw herself into another “start-over,” this time including God and three years later, landed in Temecula.

Throughout the progress of her story I was sounding dismay at her suffering. However, I couldn’t for very long at any time before she’d offer me comfort to me!

No no! That was all before….

…I am thankful for my life!

I hab so much! God is really good to me. He sabed me!…  Her scars were tight around her soft smile and eyes.

I know in my boots that Antonia is not all that she is today because of her medications, psychotherapy and life-saving skin grafts.  She is connected.  She is connected to her Me and to her Other.  She has security that is bigger to her than her insecurities.  (Remember yesterday when Suzicate described the friendliness of that?  Thank you Suzicate.)

This ties us in to one of our premises of what it takes to be our own friend – accountability to Me.  Although we are all victimized, being the victim is our choice and we have the power.

Questions: What has grown your sense of safety in your connections? How does your perception of abuse, victimization and maltreatment relate to this? Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip:  You have the power to have safe connections to self and others.

Victim to Emotions Versus The Friendliness In Accountability

Thin layer chromatography is used to separate ...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s just hard!

It is hard.  Do you feel like a victim?

Yes I do?  It’s hard when they are making you feel this way and no one gets it unless they are here fighting against both sides like I have to.

Juanita’s self-perception and emotions; suffering is special and specific to Me, I am chosen to suffer, I am alone in my suffering and I am helpless, were carried by the air particles through our room.

In 1910, Russian botanist Mikhail Tsvet used water to do this to plant dyes.   The water in the plant dyes carried the pigment, separating them for his needs.  This is now called chromatography and we use it to determine what makes up a particular flavor or scent, to analyze pollutants, to find traces of drugs in urine, and to separate blood proteins.  You might remember doing this yourself as a child in the simple science experiment with a marker, a couple drops of water and a coffee filter.

Juanita’s son also knew about chromatography, I could tell.  He may not have called it that with words, but he did call it out with his body, his eyes and the muscles around his lips told me as I watched that the emotions had made their way over to him and that he was bringing them inside.

Some people call emotions contagious and others may describe them as spreading.  No one thinks they don’t travel.  No one thinks they remain stationary.  In fact, if we were to reduce everything in the known world, living and nonliving matter, and expand our thoughts into a large large amount of time, we’d agree that nothing is stationary.  Furthermore, everything is changed by the influencers in its universe.

Juanita’s son knew this even if he didn’t cognitively piece it together.  He was taking in his mom’s emotions and they were making their changes on him.

What I asked Juanita was if it mattered in the end.  She’s still left with herself, regardless of where things came from.  We’d like to think others should take care of us, at least not do damage to us, but if they don’t or if they do, in the end, we are left with ourselves.  All these perceived degrees of abuse she suffered – what now?

Saying we are left with ourselves, accountable to ourselves and should take care of ourselves is not making any statement about the condition of our connections with the world around us.  It’s just talking about Me.  Sometimes we perceive how others take care of us, sometimes we don’t.  The same goes with feeling alone and so forth.  But that isn’t about accountability to ourselves.

I would have liked to have said the same thing to Juanita’s son but couldn’t.  I hope he learns it from watching his mother.  If he or mom gain insight into this and can act on that insight, wonderful.  If they cannot do one or the other though, I’d bet there’s something biological going on and need to take care of themselves by looking for medical help.

Question:  How do you perceive accountability to yourself being different from where the problems drift towards you from?  Or from how you have been changed by problems?  Please tell me your story.

Related FriendtoYourself.com Articles:

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Insight Isn’t Worth Much For Self-Care… Or Is It?

Autumn Red peach.

Image via Wikipedia

Much of self-care is about taking accountability for our choices.  Choices come in deliberately – “Oh my!  I’m old already!  It’s time to have a baby!”  Or not deliberately – “Oh my!   He’s hot!  Whoops!  I’m having a baby!”  Both choices brought a baby.  Both choices accountable by Me.

In interpersonal exchanges this is ever in debate.  From parenting to being parented, from spouses to friendship and all up and down the Mississippi river – the martyrs stake rarely collects dust.

That baby keeps her awake and she can never sleep with her husband any more or else no one gets any sleep.

That’s a lot of responsibility to put on those tiny infant shoulders.  Don’t you think?

Mom just runs my life!  I have things to do but every weekend she expects me to be by her side!

Mom may run your life but you are choosing for her to do it if that is true.

The scenes could continue on our imaginary screen, but our own are enough to keep us busy.  We don’t need others from others to get the point.  But insight only takes us so far.  Sometimes I get all grumpy and say, “Insight isn’t worth much.”  Because, we all know that we don’t choose many of our emotions.  We are learning here at FrientoYourself.com also that we don’t choose many of our behaviors.  Insight sits in us like a stone fruit.  Eat it up or don’t, eventually all we have left is a stone if we don’t have the biology to work with it.

Self-Care Tips in a stone fruit:  To take care of ourselves, to take accountability for our choices, to use our insight for more than a midmorning snack fruit – we must have the working body to turn insight into production.  One stone fruit can germinate and grow.

Question:  What relationship does insight have in your self-care?  What limitations does it have in your self-care?  please tell us your story.

Self-Care Does NOT Always Mean Doing What You Want

The Red Kangaroo is the largest macropod and i...

Image via Wikipedia

Self-Care Tip #132 – Remember, you are your own friend.

So today up up up like a ghoul that wouldn’t die, came this confusion over self-care v. selfish-care.  Somehow, intuitive, or what, we see that word “self” and throw up our hands.  There always seems to be that guy, or it could be that girl, let’s call her Terri, who acts like a two-year old, who can’t think about anyone but herself and does what she wants.  She is toxic to her family and throws her perceived needs in their face faster than they can turn their heads.  That’s not good for them or for her.  That’s not friendly.

Self-care may or may not be doing what we want, Terri.  If we are fortunate enough to have it be what we want, great.  If not, the end goal is still the same, and still great.  It is friendly to us.  Self-care does just that, cares for us responsibly.  We don’t need a mother or a police officer or the government to strong-arm us to do it, because we WANT to take care of ourselves.

Self-care may or may not be doing what is consistent with our temperament.  Achilles taught us that.  The grazer may never want to get in the barn, but in the end, find herself at the jaws of a wolf.  The barn animal may never want to graze and, well, you get it… fill up the barn with poop and such.  It’s just not good.

Barn

Image via Wikipedia

Let’s use sleep as an example.  Just as a generalization, grazers tend to enjoy the late hours.

I don’t get any time to play if I don’t stay up and that’s not good for me.  If I plan my play, it loses spontaneity and then it’s not play any more.

You don’t have to be a grazer to think this sounds delightful.  But here’s the thing about this.  If we don’t get our deep sleep, our sleep hours, do sleep hygiene, in short – if we don’t sleep well enough and long enough we don’t heal.  We don’t replenish our hormones and neurotransmitters which predisposes us to mental and physical illnesses and decreases our ability to respond to psychotropic medication.

Geochelone gigantea eating

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve seen regular, restorative sleep bring someone from a place of mental decline to no longer needing psychotropic medication.  Everything works better with sleep.

Ah today I drift some.  Point being, doing what we want is not the same as being friendly to ourselves.  It can be a VERY different thing, or not.

Questions:  How have you found that self-care has been what you wanted to do, or what you didn’t want to do?  How did you overcome those barriers to getting friendly with yourself?  Please tell me your story.

Basic but Effective

Keeping things simple is easier said than done. When I’d come home from a lecture, confused about what happened in there, I’d think I was the problem. Then my brother told me that someone really needs to know what they’re talking about to be able to teach it clearly. Those mostly innocent professors suffered this silent abuse from me thereafter. Everyone needs a defense.

We each often find ourselves listening to the instructions of our own internal dialogue. The familiar sarcasm, “Doctor heal thyself” comes to mind.

Ideally, you would find outside input whenever you could. Ideally you would gather counsel, and education. Ideally you would not be alone with your thoughts. However, being alone with our thoughts is often the reality of our non-ideal circumstance and deserves respect. How does one give their own selves good counsel?

Keep it simple. Work with your paradigms you know about and try to tease them apart to clarify where your feelings and thoughts are coming from. Am I sleepy? Am I doing something to my body that isn’t healthy? Is someone doing something to me that must stop? Peel away the reasons why these things are happening. Don’t stumble over them at your most basic level. There will be time later. Keep your counsel on basic needs. Simple. The rest comes naturally, of its own invitation – the layers and complications of life.

To be honest, despite the dangers of taking our own counsel, we do. A friend to yourself does this simply, because that is effective. Like any good teacher, we can.

Self Care Tip #14 – Basic counsel is effective counsel. Be a friend to yourself.