A Reference of Blog Posts:
Self-Care Tip – Set your self-care free. Be a friend to yourself.
Self-care just is.
The problem about saying self-care starts and ends with Me is that people forget about the journey it travels between here and there. People become fearful that it means alone-care, apart-from-God-care, selfish-care, and so on.
When we take care of “Me,” we can connect more with others, including God, have more inside of us to give to others, and have more interest in the world around. The opposite disables our abilities to do those things. Again we say, “Can’t give what we don’t have.”
God gave us this person, “Me,” to take care of. He considers “Me” valuable and of high priority. He celebrates with me and cheers me on. He stands beside me and He doesn’t see self-care as having exclusionary implications to anyone else.
Please, shake it off. Self-care is no more of a moral issue than anything else. It just is. It is a choice, a freedom, an opportunity. It is as much about salvation as any other act of good or bad, and has no influence on our worth. It just is.
Lord, What must I do to be saved?
– Paul’s Jailer. Me. Could be you.
Questions: How do you speak to the stigma in your church, community or self toward being a friend to yourself? How do you get to Me, despite the pressure to pay-up to all the others around you in emotional and physical energy first? How is your relationship with God when you are friendly with yourself? Please tell me your story.
- Self-Care is For Everyone, Regardless of Circumstance (friendtoyourself.com)
- Know What You Are Fighting For – Your Right To Journey. (friendtoyourself.com)
- Owning Our Choices Is Self-Care Even When It Feels Painful To Do (friendtoyourself.com)
- Self-care is Not Selfish But You Might Feel Alone (friendtoyourself.com)
- Can You be Nourished in a Crazy Hectic Life? (connection-revolution.com)
- Why Preventive Health Just Makes Good Sense (drtimmorley.com)
- Taking Care of Ourselves (toddlohenry.com)
- Guilt-free Self-care (cherryoneill.wordpress.com)
I am a poster child for sinners.
Sitting with a respected mentor, a leader of women in medicine, I couldn’t stop myself as usual from playing with the ideas of being a friend to yourself. She caught on quick with where I was going and I felt wishes winging in.
I wished I could have practiced with her, have had her for a peer, a voice in the room that gets me, a mind that might even have resonated and crescendoed the healing process that comes from being a friend to Me.
Oh that guy is as stiff as they come! She knew.
He always made me feel like I was a poster child for sinners. …And I knew I loved her. It wasn’t just me.
Sometimes, remembering that “it’s not just me” seems like reciting folklore. The longer that Time clutters up between real encounters with like-minded folk, the more magical the thoughts brew of being chosen to suffer, I am alone and I am special for what hurts me. However, perhaps a good this or that can come out of even things such as these (insert, “human connection.”) Is that so much to ask? Do I really have to sacrifice a chicken on a full moon over whitened unicorn bones to make it happen?
In becoming a Friend to Yourself, we know there are many times when living with not much more than our better choices for company is almost more than that stringy thin young muscle of self-care can sustain. But know this. Just when you think you might collapse, the Truth that “you are not alone” will wing in. More than a wish or a perception of reality, “you are not alone” is Truth. Something great comes to us, like,
I am a poster child for sinners.
Stigma comes from ignorance after all and in being a friend to Me, well, our community has undeveloped awareness about it. Some who don’t know that everything starts and ends with Me feel threatened, angry and even verbally aggressive toward us. But, just when we think that the whole world is touched with ignorance and cruel responses except for Me, we find Thee. (Yet another variation on the quote by a Yorkshireman – “Everyone in the world is quite mad, except for me and thee. And sometimes I have my doubts about thee.”.) Me finds Thee, just in time.
Suddenly we see ourselves for the stud-muffins that we are, courageous and in company. Leather pants may be included if you like.
Self-Care Tip – Remember the Truth – you are not alone, even in being a friend to yourself. Keep on.
Questions: How’s your company these days? Do people ever treat you like you are a wrong-doer for loving yourself? How does that go over? Please tell us your story.
- Day 300 – More Kindness, More Often (ayearoflivingwisely.wordpress.com)
Pain. There are so many of us suffering from pain that sometimes it is as if nobody escapes. Even so, in the contorting agony that pain brings, we have a very hard time thinking outside of ourselves at all. We are preoccupied with ourselves. We do not think about the others hurting or others in general at all. Pain does that – emotional and/or physical.
Penelope was preoccupied too. She had suffered and was suffering still. Peeling her thoughts away from survival during those times when, with teeth and muscles clenched, her body felt like a universe unto itself. Everyone outside of her were aliens she was able to visit occasionally. Watching her and hearing her describe how it molded her current person, I remembered the book by Paul Brand, Pain: the Gift Nobody Wants. (We mentioned this book before in our blog-post, “Emotions: The Physical Gift We Can Name.”)
When we are sick with Pain Syndrome, with symptoms seen in our emotions, behaviors and nerve language, it is hard to perceive what good can come out of bad. Saying, when we are in that ditch, that the sun is happily shining overhead is rude and boring. Especially when it is rhetoric. Change that rhetoric to insight, well that would then be worth friendly and interesting. That would be hope. There comes a degree of knowledge that hasn’t reached our sensory selves yet but sits in our intellect. We have a glimpse of the ark of the covenant, a promise, nearly prophesy in fact – we have a knowing that something good can come out of this.
This is why I thought of the work of Paul Brand, M.D. with the lepers. I thought that Penelope might want to know that there is something good that could come out of her bad if she were healthy in other ways, enough to receive it. If her senses could perceive it, her emotions, sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell could take in that information and deliver enough of it uninterrupted, what was promised to her would come true; past the pain that distracts and preoccupies.
It is as if this good that comes out of bad were like a runner in a war zone. Bombs are exploding. It is noisy even though hearing was taken out after the last gun fire. Dirt and sweat drip over eyes and into mouths and no one believes they will survive. And then the runner trips into our shelter and collapses still alive; still holding the message in his hand. Something good made it across a land in havoc and war and we know about it now.
I thought of Paul Brand, M.D., telling Penelope that her pain is her gift at that point of knowing, with that timing. Better than I could. She wouldn’t laugh angrily and give him a bad review on-line. She would hear him. “Something good is coming your way. You have hope.” In my imagination, Penelope would not hear Dr. Brand moralizing her experience – “You are good if you perceive your gift and you are bad if you don’t.” In my fantasy, Penelope would understand that this offering wasn’t intended to make her feel guilty for hurting. It was an offering of hope.
Not so easy to do, as it turns out, in real life. I am a very human psychiatrist without
much magic about me very often. But if I did…
Question: How do you give yourself hope when your senses don’t perceive it? How are you your own friend when you are preoccupied and distracted from that which is friendly? Please tell us your story.
Self-Care Tip – Be friendly enough with yourself to believe that there is something good that will come out of your bad. There is hope.
- When Children Live With Chronic Pain (everydayhealth.com)
- Victim to Emotions Versus The Friendliness In Accountability (friendtoyourself.com)
- The Purpose of Pain – part 1 of 2 (marcyda.wordpress.com)
- Pain is inevitable, suffering is an option (asterix98.wordpress.com)
- Joy & Pain (obediencewithgrace.wordpress.com)
- What does it mean for pain to be psychosomatic? (zocdoc.com)
- Pain vs. Suffering: A Necessary Distinction for Writers (insightsandobservations.wordpress.com)
- Abyss of Life. (vedna.wordpress.com)
- 7 Things Not to Say to Someone in Pain (pbus1.wordpress.com)
- You: Kearney continues diving through pain – RU Daily Targum (dailytargum.com)
- The agony…still waiting for the ecstasy (fibroprego.wordpress.com)
Evening friends. Spent the afternoon enjoying the company of friends and family. Including enjoying a lecture from the “love doctor,” Paul Zak PhD. Dr. Zak gave us a practice run on his upcoming lecture for TED in Scotland. He told us about the amazing hormone, oxytocin, which Dr. Zak tells us is the morality hormone. It increases any time we have increased social connection. Oxytocin makes people trust, empathize and have increased moral behaviors. Dr. Zak’s prescription is eight hugs a day (hugs increase oxytocin). Awesome.
I am writing a series of blog-posts outlining self-care in which we examine the tenets of self-care:
- Introduction to self-care
- moral neutrality (Today’s topic)
- patient-doctor relationship/connection
Self-Care Tip #263 – Experience, use, observe and interpret emotions, but don’t moralize them.
We sometimes forget about the involved journey to a healthy Me. Because of this, we become fearful that it means alone-care, apart-from-God-care, selfish-care, excluding experienced-and-professional-input-care and so on. It’s not. Self-care is collaborative, yet that doesn’t negate the fact that it must start and end with Me.
When we take care of “Me,” we can connect more with others, including God, have more inside of us to give to others, and have more interest in the world around. The opposite disables our abilities to do those things. No one can give what she doesn’t have.
We have this person, “Me,” to take care of. This “Me” is valuable, of high priority, to be celebrated and cheered on.
Please, shake it off. Self-care is not a moral issue. It just is. It is a choice, a freedom and an opportunity. It is not about salvation and has no influence on our worth. It just is.
We are more willing to buy into the, “It just is,” self-care tool when we understand where emotions and behaviors come from – the brain. This biological stance is the evidence for deescalating our drive to moralize emotions and behaviors. They are not from an aura, a gear we can shift, or any nidus of control outside of our human bodies. Emotions are how we interpret the world around us. They are not linked to morality. Please don’t take them to the pulpit. If you do, I will still be polite, although breathing through a mask.
Emotions are our interpretive lens for our physical self.
Questions: How’s the clarity of your lens holding out after considering this part of self-care? What influence does what you “see” with your emotions have on your ability to befriend yourself? Please tell me your story.
- Emotions – The Sixth Sense and Moralizing Self-Care (friendtoyourself.com)
- Is there a role for science in morality? (openparachute.wordpress.com)
- How Religion Contorts Morality: Respected Theologian Defends Genocide and Infanticide (gretachristina.typepad.com)
Self-Care Tip #233 – Stop moralizing behaviors and emotions to be a real friend to yourself.
Responses to yesterday’s blog-post, I believe, revealed my point in time position in moralizing behaviors. It is no excuse, but yesterday for reasons of my own limited perspective, personalizing behaviors, perceived judgment from myself and others, and cultural biases including some good old-fashioned well-intentioned holy roller atmosphere, I hooned in on that darned word selfish.
That word, selfish, reminds me of any class bully who hurts others but maybe not for the reasons assigned by observers. It is more than that though. Inherent to its own definition, morality is more than implied. In efforts to destigmatize it, evolutionaries, such as George C. Williams, coined the term, “the selfish gene.” We as well, in efforts to peel it off of us “self-carers” here at FriendtoYourself.com, have discussed some of the biopsychosocial reasons for behaving in ways that disregard the needs of others. We have talked about freedom to choose and losing abilities to choose. Because we believe in magic, or miracles, or yet unexplained science – however each of us prefers to describe the unknown – we claim some awareness that we still haven’t yet given over fair perspective, despite our intentions.
The wonderful, ever articulate, gentle writer, reader and commenter, Cindy Taylor, reminded me of this yesterday, saying simply,
I found that taking an adrenal supplement has improved my sleeping patterns greatly.
What a girl! That one and only Cin.
Yet yesterday, somehow, I didn’t say much about those things.
Questions: What does “selfish” mean to you? Why and how do you extricate yourself and others from it even though they appear to be just that – selfish? Please tell me your story.
- Emotions – The Sixth Sense and Moralizing Self-Care (friendtoyourself.com)
- Still Interested In Self-Care? (friendtoyourself.com)
- Dawkins in Maryland [EvolutionBlog] (scienceblogs.com)
Yesterday we talked about self-care being about bigger things than just the individual – bigger than “Me.” This leads us into today’s questions.
Question #1: Is Not Doing Self-Care Selfish? Please tell me your story.
As if there weren’t enough things to feel guilty about, we had to ask this question!
One of the intuitive responses many of us have when we hear this kind of question is to moralize our behaviors by using our emotions to interpret their value. This can lead to inappropriate guilt, and even more so when we suffer from an affective (involving mood,) and/or anxiety illness(es.) We do this to ourselves and/or to others.
Some time ago we spoke about emotions often being used by us to interpret our reality; even though they don’t decide our reality. To emphasize this, let’s name emotion, as others have done before us, “The Sixth Sense” – and I’m not referring to that scary movie with Bruce Willis in it.
Just like our traditionally named Five Senses, the emotion senses are used to interpret the world around us and define what we perceive as true.
- Smell (olfacoception or olfacception)
- Vision (ophthalmoception)
- Hearing (audioception)
- Touch (tactioception)
- Taste (gustaoception)
We have many other senses as well – temperature (thermoception), kinesthetic sense (proprioception), pain (nociception), balance (equilibrioception) and acceleration (kinesthesioception). We argue as to how to define a perception. But unlike with the sense of emotions, what we don’t usually argue over is qualifying a moral value to these other more familiar senses.
Senses are perceptions. They are not objective. They are subjective. For example, we cannot measure vision in a vial. Even people who are neurologically blind, have things they perceive that they see. There are visual pseudohallucinations that happen with visual system lesions, such as a stroke – hallucinations like moving, colored or geometrical forms, real objects or scenes. We won’t get into all the different types of hallucinations or pseudohallucinations there are. Rather, we will highlight that what we “see” is a perception and not a measured value. Same with emotions. Emotions are perceptions and not measured values. The Sixth Sense.
If we could quantify the sense of emotions and qualify the sense of emotions than it would be easier for us to be more objective when thinking about our original question. So what now? A lot of help that does!
Question #2: What now?
This brings us back to the self-care practice of “presence.” It just is. So it goes. Oh well. Stay connected so you have other reference points to yourself. Go towards your fears to be more present with yourself, …and so on.
Question #1: Is Not Doing Self-Care Selfish?
It depends who is asking and who is answering in context of how they are using their emotions to qualify self-care. When we think about not doing self-care, we can’t help but remember all the people in the wake of the uncared for life. Those people if asked might say, yes or no, depending if they interpret selfishness as a moral issue and where they assigned moral value otherwise. When we think about the person not doing their self-care, she might say, no or yes, depending if she interpreted selfishness as a moral issue and where she assigned moral value otherwise.
Another intersecting paradigm into our perceptions, and there are many, is the temperament typology. Many of us, in fact the majority of us, interpret our reality through our Sixth Sense – how we feel. This is as we were designed, as we were wired, as we do from a biological level. Yet we assign moral value to The Sixth Sense – Emotions.
Consistently, those of us who are genetically interpreting our reality from thought, executive thinking and more detached from the limbic system of the brain – we have moralized, assigning value to those abilities or the lack of them. (Don’t go there. My brain is tired. Don’t bring up the idea that The Seventh Sense is thought! Ah!)
The fact that we can say, No! to taking on the moral assignments of others, comes to us from our freedom to choose or not to choose self-care.
Question #1: Is Not Doing Self-Care Selfish?
Self-Care Tip #209 – Embrace your Sixth Sense to be present with yourself in self-care.
- Set Your Self-Care Free. It Is Not A Moral Issue. (friendtoyourself.com)
- Connection: It’s Medical But Still Magical (friendtoyourself.com)
- Morality vs. Prudence in Confucianism? (warpweftandway.wordpress.com)
- Frans de Waals: The Moral Animal (delong.typepad.com)
- Is it Too Risky to Debate Morality’s Foundations in the Public Square? (camelswithhammers.com)
- Emotions – One Part of The Multi-Paradigm Weave That Makes Us Who We Are (friendtoyourself.com)
- Let Things Come Together And Fall Apart To Experience Them More Fully – Presence (friendtoyourself.com)