Hello friends. Here is the link to my recent entry on obesity, autism and some of how to be a friend to yourself in the on-line Journal, Science & Sensibility. Thank you for sharing space. Keep on.
Many times I feel like a stranger because I don’t want to do what they want.
Pilot was perplexed and sad.
This is familiar to me. There are lots of these times. When I was a kid I didn’t know to call feeling like a stranger, “normal.” I didn’t know I wasn’t alone. I thought feeling like a stranger was qualified bad. In the older Me, part of Me knows. The rest of Me is conflicted.
Talking about self-care is like that sometimes. I don’t know yet how to consistently teach others without hurting them.
Self-care is not selfish, I say, but it doesn’t make sense.
They hear me and the long anticipated enemy they knew would come suddenly wears my face and uses my mouth and voice. People look at me in horror. I watch their faces blanch and despair, as if they know they are holding a fork and knife to defend against magic and they will die a martyr’s death.
No. It’s not like that, I say.
But they don’t hear more. They crouch in a thicket.
Researcher, Jennifer Walters, describes how social influences such as team-based competition leads to a healthier BMI (basal metabolic index) and weight loss. We may say, “Um, yah!?!” as if everyone knows that from Biggest Loser. But just like holding an apple looks like crunchy food to Mary, John see’s a projectile.
It must be researched. It must be said.
We don’t believe that taking care of Me is selfless. We are scared. To love ourselves means being alone and feeling the stranger. Taking care of others “first” intuitively tells us that we are connected and right. This is a distortion.
I argue that this intuition to care for others first is not our friend. The intuition to care for others first is not friendly when it is driven by fear of being alone, fear of being the stranger. At some point in the timeline of selflessness to selfishness we find that we cannot. We have ruined and thereafter cannot care, serve or do much for anyone but take. Now we, without getting consent from those same others, are in a place of being served. We didn’t ask our loved one(s.)
Would you like to take care of my wasted self?
We didn’t ask if it was ok with them that they be put in the position of now being our own caregivers. To answer their wants before our needs is a trick on them, an exchange for us taking care of them now for them taking care of our needs later when we cannot. But we didn’t ask. We didn’t make a transparent negotiation. If they knew we were taking care of their wants before our needs or wants, if we knew, would we un-crouch, step out, hear and consider? However, we responded before we felt alone. We gave before we felt the stranger. We didn’t ask, we didn’t consider and now we cannot.
Growing healthy involves the sometimes happy journey towards a knowing that giving to self long enough becomes someone who gives to others; long enough a stranger to grow familiar. And it isn’t selfish.
Caregiving for others starts with caregiving for Me.
Question: How does becoming your own friend separate you from those you want close? How do you survive feeling alone long enough to know that you are not? When the stranger becomes familiar, does it make that time and difficulty worthwhile? Please tell me your story.
Self-Care Tip – Remember, self-care is not selfish, even when you feel alone.
- If You Don’t Take Care of Yourself Someone Else Will (friendtoyourself.com)
- Take Care of Yourself And You Will Be Taking Care of Others – “Care-Givers” (friendtoyourself.com)
- Bert’s therapy: Selfish (monkeytraps.wordpress.com)
- Selfless or selfish? (datingworldmap.wordpress.com)
- Study Finds Weight Loss Can Be Contagious (medicalnewstoday.com)
So what brought you here today? What are you looking for?
Want to parent better? Kids don’t take care of themselves? They aren’t responsible? Accountable for their actions? They are disobedient?
They don’t realize our loving motives? If they do, they will be able to find more pleasure in life. If they …they will have more freedoms, they will have spending power, they will have decision making ability, they will be present in their life, able to connect with others and with their own personal journey, they will. You name it. They will find the shortest, most direct route to their brilliance and resources to achieve what they were designed to do – service in any form. Is this so much to ask? Wink.
How can we help them see? By starting with Me. Do this generosity for ourselves. How many times do we point outside of Me to find a place of control for Me? Even to the small about packing lunch – as if forced to pack our children’s lunch, we point out.
Drifting down, how many times does our child complain of what we put in their lunch? What would happen if they packed it for themselves? What would happen if they ate what they packed? Oh, just junk. …Who purchased the junk food? Where did it come from? It swirls on. This reminds me of the musical, “Into the Woods.” “It’s her fault! It’s your fault.!”…
But here’s the anchor. We are free. We are free caregivers.
Freedom is like a lovely package wrapped in the most exquisite paper, tied with a bow so lovely that we know it came from God. It is sitting in front of us. Like all real gifts, the gift of freedom is free. It has nothing to do with my bank. It came because of the Giver, not because of the merit of the recipient – Me.
Me, that is to say any one of us, cannot unearn the gift either. Freedom is like that gift that keeps reappearing no matter how we try to get away from it. Does it become a curse? We are free to make it one because even if we don’t claim it, even if we don’t choose to be accountable to our decisions, it doesn’t change that we are. And when we are finally able to look in, with insight, and have knowledge – we are accountable to what we see.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
“therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. …but now mine eye seeth thee.”
Does the gift, freedom, turn into a curse?
Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
Every person who grows in knowledge and understanding at some point hopefully says that they grow also in understanding how little they know and have yet to learn. This is what comfort we have in knowing that in the eternity of forever that comes ahead after this life, we won’t run out of things to do.
We all talk as if we know more than we know, with pride and forgotten humility. I want to turn this over, but repentance in this case cannot be as implied – once and for all. It is recurrent at best and I surrender the frequency and my degrees of insight to God and you. Feel free to take Me gently along with you on our travels. I hope our kids will be that good to Me when given the opportunity. I have no doubt, they hope the same of us. But you can see, it starts with Me.
What is a true friend? It is one who loves. Starting with Me. What is parenting better? It is giving to yourself what you want your kids to have.
The Stoic, Seneca the Elder, wrote,
“What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself.” That was indeed a great benefit; such a person can never be alone. You may be sure that such a man is a friend to all mankind.
(And here I thought I was the one who came up with, “Friend to Yourself!!!!” Oh nasty tumble.)
This is what it is; hard, easy, soft and difficult. Having each other to help Me be friendlier to myself is a big advantage. You are so valuable to Me. Knock Me down and catch Me – whatever pride and forgotten humility leave Me needing. Thank you.
Question? How does being a friend to yourself improve your parenting or caregiving of others? Please tell us your story.
Self-Care Tip: Be as good to yourself as you want your loved ones to be to themselves. Be a friend to yourself.
It had started for her about six months ago, when she realized her children were on edge around her, when she realized she didn’t want to be around her children and when she didn’t like much else either. Was she a “crabby woman?” Ouch. It hurt her to think that. Were some people just mean? And she was one of them? Marcy said no. She couldn’t make anyone believe her these days but she knew she was designed for something better than that.
When this happened, Marcy hit self-care boot camp. She cut her time with her kids, husband, any extras. She didn’t cut them out, but she did cut back. With that time, she went back to the starting point – herself. She gave less to them, and more to herself so she could give bigger and better to them whom she loved, not excluding herself.
Good news. Marcy is better.
Self-Care Tip – Give more to yourself.
Question: What has your self-care taken from those you love? What has it done with what you still give to those you love? Please tell me your story.
With Truth I barricade against my lies that I am not enough. Of course I am adequate; and I fight to know that in more dimensions than just cognitively. After all, facts change if you don’t believe them.
Take parenting for example. Wow! Sometimes I think that strangers would do better. That the very parts of my soul those children hold would be better off with more distance from their home in my heart. Am I inadequate to be a mother? No, but some days I have to beg not to believe the lie.
In these moments of calamitous thinking, I am reminded of the term “all-or-none” thinking. I am reminded that feelings of inadequacy drink from them like fat mosquitoes. Catastrophizing is an egotistical view and nothing could ever be that bad or that good. Not Me. Not anyone.
Fighting feelings of inadequacy means being a friend enough to yourself to say, step away from the ledge. To say,
you aren’t so special that you could be that terrible.
To fight right, you have to slide away from all bad into some of the gray area, and stop before getting to all good. Because believing you are all of anything is just arrogant.
There are temperaments that do better in gray zones than others, those who feel comfortable grazing between thoughts and situations of life. There are others, however, also. People who almost seem wired to self destruct; whose own genetics thrash them towards polarity. Those people are tortured, familiar with the often lonely fight I speak of.
To fight feelings of inadequacy, perhaps you fight your own design. Hopeless? Well no. That is an extreme word and not to be trusted. Remember at some level, that the truth is in the gray.
Self Care Tip #4: Move away from the edge. Be a friend to yourself.