Angry Responses

offended, by Thys le Roux

If you are not deeply grounded in who you are and what you are doing, if you have not done your own work on your own entitlement and issues, you will by snagged be what others think about you.  This is why what YouTube comments have nothing to do with the video.

When you actually make something and take the risk and roll up your sleeves, when you choose to get off the couch, you become a wall for others to bounce off.  Think of movie reviewers who sit for two hours in a movie and write their review, but never spent a minute on the set nor participated in the grueling effort to create it.   What right do they have?  

The sense of being disempowered is terrifying.  This motivates both sides of this relationship – the creators and the responders.  The people who are the very best, work very very hard on the basics and that is why is looks casual and easy.

Bruce Springsteen’s new album drops today.  A man of hard labor and great flow in performance.   How old is he now?!  He targets everyday people searching for redemption.  He has been around long enough to gather criticism but here he still is, productive, creative, connecting with the world.

When you receive criticism, step one is not to defend.  Do not send them to the website  where they can learn more.  Step one is to find out what else is in the room.

You may go down the trail of defending, whip out your power point, only to find out that their question is a place holder.  They do not understand why you got off the couch and started talking.  Understand where the criticism is coming from.  You defuse things this way and also get to the question behind the question.

Say, “Tell me where that is coming from.”  Or, “Tell me more.”

The sooner you can figure out what else is in the room, what other associations are made from what you just said or did, the sooner you have connection and efficacy.

– This post is credited to thoughts gleaned from Rob Bell.  Thank you Rob Bell.

Question:  How have others attacked your best efforts?  How have you been able to separate what is about you and what is about them?  How have you helped the others in their conflict so in the end you were able to connect?  Or not?  Please tell your story.

Self Care Tip:  Own your own junk and let others own theirs to connect.

Get You Some Love

Cemetary

Cemetary (Photo credit: Vu Bui)

The ocean is like an untended cemetery, compared to my youth dives, with shoots of life breaking up the stone and dead coral.  A little family of forceps butterfly fish flutter around the tips of something brown.  I honk sounds through the water to my kids when I spy a trumpet fish, a big one, with some neon lighting up the gray long body.  My kids are so energized.

There are three turtles and I remember I have never swum with turtles before.  “Hey.  That’s cool,” I think.  I try to reconcile the turtles with the changes from when I snorkeled and dove reefs years ago, “Positive?  Negative?”  Something there in me wants to feed this info through my inner hope-machine to convince my other that when my kids swim another future day, the ocean will not be dead.  Foreboding.

I am starting to get disoriented by this and surface to get a grip. My husband pops up and I whisper to him, so our kids do not overhear and lose their energy to my negativity, “It’s like a tomb, Honey!  I can hardly stand it!”  And like a compass, he points to a better direction.  “It’s fine, Sana.  It is what it is.”  Interpretation can distort experience.

Thanks to husband and the reconnection of interpretation with presence, under water, I see this moment, this day, in the parrot fish, the coronets, and the puffers. And I, with more gravity, am able to enjoy what Love is giving now.  A solemn gift.  More informed, my appreciation is deeper and I can receive.

Receiving Love is not as easy as it sounds.  It is the work of a moment.  It is the work of a lifetime.  I am a spoiler, unable to love myself, unless I am able to receive Love from outside of myself and connect with it, in my pathway of Me-to-Me.

I am just starting to get this and am eager to understand and own more, because, this has been amazing.  This is something like how it goes so far; tense up, maybe angry Me, (reason or no reason,) pause, look, pray for it, pause, acknowledge, let it do its thing on Me. Start over. Again. Again.

In we who suffer brain illness, we who suffer cancer, we who are in the dying stage of life, in we who, we, we are in the right place to do this.  This is just where we need to be to receive Love.

Illness does not keep us from the ability to receive Love.  Poverty does not.  Dead coral and loss do not.  Nothing can.

Everything can be used by Love to communicate to us.  Illness can.  Poverty, dying, loss can.  Anything can be used to bring into our circle of Me-to-Me, Love.  Love is now.

I am glad, in age, that I am increasingly aware of the changeability inherent in everything, everything, positive, negative, everything.  This is one more way I am able to receive Love.  Age.

Being able to receive Love requires the process of changing.  It is not stagnant, stationary, unaging.  As far as we are able to understand, it is not.  We are creatures of dimension, creatures of space and time and until we are further created to receive otherwise, this is.

Question:  how do you increase your reception of Love?  How do you receive Love?  How does this affect your friendship with yourself.  Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip:  Increase your Love-reception.

When To See A Psychiatrist

Singer Brandy Norwood in September 16, 2010.

Even car accidents happen for “good reasons!”

Wanda didn’t want to hear the reasons.

Anything could sound like a good reason for bad performance.  It is what it is.  Just own it!

And Wanda was out.  And just as quickly as she concluded, I flashed back to the quivering resident who messed up on internal medicine rounds.  I stood there with my spine like a steel rod.  My white coat felt heavier with my fair-weather reference books bulging in my pockets.

Keep your chin up and look at her!  I told myself.

This wasn’t the first time for me, so I had the “luxury” of practicing a previous well-described lesson from my attending on how to respond to feedback.  Those days seemed like a series of stings, burns and frost-bite, but I am grateful for that at least – the knowledge of how I’m supposed to “take it.”

Wanda came back into my mind’s focus as memories of internship faded.  Wanda wasn’t even mad at me.  She was telling me this story as an example of her difficulty coping with anger.  Here she was asking for help while justifying her position.  Don’t we all, though?

I saw the irony in her criticism of those who gave reasons for their foibles as compared to her own explanation for anger and medical care.  Yet again, aren’t we all inconsistent like this?  Wanda is not alone.  She even had good insight too.  Explaining away our mistakes is shabby, lacks class and is insincere.

Some time ago in a post, Please Don’t Say “But”, we talked about this, which later we termed “presence.”  But why see a psychiatrist about these things?  Because insight is only worth so much.  If the mechanics to respond to the insight aren’t well, then you’ll be able to withdraw from your self just that.  In Wanda’s case, it was spitting anger, hot to the touch and not much safe.  It had quite an effect on her interpersonal relationships and quality of life.

But Wanda was suffering in more than her apparent psychological and sociological selves.  She was also suffering in her biological self.  (See biopsychosocial model.)  Wanda, was ill.

When we find that we can’t do what we want, don’t respond the way we intend, have negative emotions and behaviors we didn’t invite, see the associated deterioration in our connections and quality of life – when we are suffering, we need to look for help.  It’s hard to be productive and survive without support.  Any bit of nature will tell you that.  Ask a peach tree if you don’t believe me.

Question:  Does it make sense to you that emotions and behaviors might be all we have to show us that we are medically ill?  If not, please tell us why.

Self-Care Tip:  When insight isn’t enough, consider a medical consult.  Be a friend to yourself.

You Have the Power And You Are Not A Victim

Fire KnivesDo you every feel like a victim?

When someone is doing something to turn us into an emotional victim, sometimes it can look like a performance, don’t you think?  Someone is yelling, arms swinging about, face animated – and there you are, breathless and emotional.

However, being victimized and being a victim are different things.  Being a participant of an interpersonal exchange is different from being an audience to it.

Imagine a stage and you and have been selected from the audience.  You climb up and join the performer, let’s call him Ron.  Ron is a professional fire and knife dancer.  You are standing near Ron and flaming knives seem like they are everywhere.  He is quite a dramatic dancer and part of you wants to dance with him.  You know you would get hurt badly and yet you have the hardest time resisting the urge to participate.  Your wisdom prevails and you remain uninjured.  You applaud and walk away.

Later at home, you are still marveling that anyone could move that way and work that hard to evoke such strong emotion from their audience.  The emotions replay the dance in your mind almost as if you were still there with Ron.

Do you feel like a victim to Ron?  You don’t have to.

When you don’t like what someone is doing or saying to you, imagine that it is a performance of sorts and don’t take it personally.  You don’t have to be a victim.  You have the power.  Be a friend to yourself.

Now, if you can’t do this no matter what, if you feel powerless and unresponsive to your redirections, it may be medical.  You might be suffering from any number of illnesses that cause personalization, guilt, fear, reliving experiences and so forth.  You shouldn’t suffer like that.  You were created to feel pleasure.

Self-Care Tip – Applaud and walk away when someone is victimizing you.

Questions:  How do you manage to use your power when you are being victimized?  How are you accountable for your feelings and behaviors when people are hurtful?  Please tell us your story.

Revenge – Not so Friendly to Me

Original caption states "A photograph tak...

Image via Wikipedia

If you have been around kids much you may marvel as I do, how fast they dish revenge.  I’m here to tell you, if you eat food off of my son’s plate, you should run.  Yet, seeing my or your four year-old hit someone is much less awkward than seeing an adult do it.  But they do.

Ingred told me that she had been humiliated at the make-up counter of Sephora.  A stranger had called her a bad name.  The stranger said it loud enough that other customers and staff heard it too, Ingred was sure.

“I just told her to go F— herself!”  

Unfortunately for Ingred, she was soon escorted out of the store by security who didn’t care about Ingred’s story and just wanted to keep the peace.  Also, unfortunately for Ingred, she essentially absolved the stranger of what little remorse she may have felt before Ingred retaliated.  Ingred essentially dissipated the natural introspection that comes to us after we misbehave, the natural drive to right our wrongs and the self-care that that stranger was due for.  Ingred had “paid the price” for both.  Ingred made herself the scape goat.

Ingred needed to buy into this concept but also that for her, everything starts and ends with Me.  Like us, Ingred takes care of her own feelings and behaviors to get friendly with herself. Taking revenge, getting even and responding by acting out we are trying to take care of their feelings and behaviors.  That’s not friendly to Me.

Inversely, if Ingred, or my four year-old son, had owned their feelings as their own, been accountable to their shames and angry selves and adapted to this stressor, they would have … Well you tell us.

Questions:  What has happened to you in these situations?  And how do you take care of your own emotions and behaviors, and account for them even when you perceive that you are provoked.  Please tell me your story.

Self-Care tip – Revenge isn’t friendly to Me, but being accountable to why we want revenge is, so try it out.

Me! Where Emotions and Behaviors Come From

steps 15

Image by Erik - parked in Cairo these days via Flickr

We are doing a narrative series on understanding where emotions and behaviors come from:

  1. Emotions Are Contagious – Emotions shared
  2. Our own Emotional Junk – Emotions hidden
  3. Positive Emotions and Behaviors are Contagious Too 
  4. Our Conscious Self is Our Board and Paddle at Sea – Small conscious self and BIG unconscious self
  5. Biopsychosocial Model – Biological, Psychological, Social selves
  6. Me!  (Today’s Post)

What we have covered so far in our series is that we know emotions are contagious.  We know that if we take care of our own first, we might not be as “susceptible” to negative “contagion” in turn and perhaps, be more available to giving and receiving positive “emotion-contagion.”  Further, we hope that if we do this, we might be able to choose to be with people we love even if they don’t do their own self-care.  We can have that connection without personalizing what isn’t about us.  Sigh.  That is nice, isn’t it?  Then …out at sea (away from our narrative for a day,) we talked about the pleasure in engaging with what bits of biology are directly available to us and the relationship we maintain with the big expanse of our unconscious biology.  Yesterday we reviewed our biopsychosocial model as a tool for further understanding where our emotions and behaviors come from.

Self-Care Tip #272 – If you are ever unsure about where your emotions and behaviors are coming from, it is always safe and true enough to say, “Me.”

Where do emotions and behaviors come from?

Me.

For example:  Me <–> Emotions Shared <–> Me <–> Emotions Hidden <–> Me <–> small conscious self and BIG unconscious self <–> Me <–> Biological, Psychological, Social selves <–> Me… round and round, starting and ending and starting with Me.

Rob and Yesenia were both breathing hard.  Rob was pale and Yesenia flushed.  Where to start?  With Me.  This is what I shared with them both.

Put your spouse down and take three steps back!  Own your own self.  Take care of your own self.  In the process, you will be able to pick each other up again and share love.

Questions:  What are you holding, carrying, using to explain where your emotions and behaviors come from?  How have you been able to put those down and hold yourself?  Please tell me your story.

Taking Care of Our Own Emotional Junk Empowers us Not to Take Care of Theirs

Women Only - Choose your Favourite-Bangalore-n...

Image by najeebkhan2009 via Flickr

Yesterday we started a narrative series on understanding where emotions and behaviors come from:

  1. Emotions Are Contagious
  2. Our own Emotional Junk (today’s post)

Yesenia and Rob chorussed,

Yes! I am worse when Yesenia is not doing well. Who can cope around that!?

Yes! Rob is making me sicker!

Saying emotions are contagious is not the same as explaining causality or fault. It’s talking about an influence. I didn’t want Rob to misunderstand me. Saying emotions are contagious is information to use to empower us; not to make us feel like victims. It is to help disclose our own vulnerabilities, our own needs and our own quest towards healing and presence.

But how to be present with “falling knives,” as Cindy described this in yesterday’s comments?

It starts and ends with Me. So getting back to Me simplifies things and short-cuts our confusion.

It’s easier for us to be around so much charged air when we have already gone toward our own flaws, pain, emotions and anxieties. It is easier for us to not make something personal that isn’t if we have already stayed in our own nasty space for a time, did that process over and over, and each time stayed long enough to see what is there/what will happen until we realize – not much. (That was what I like to call a “super-sentence!) Taking care of our own junk helps us be available for other people when they are spilling theirs. We are less controlled by shame and fear.

This may not happen when complicated by our brain disease. Personalizing things may be inevitable if we do not get medication therapy. Being present with our own journey might not happen without medical help.

Sometimes when we are ill, we feel like we are spectators of our own life story, standing off to the side, just watching the show. With healing, we join with that living active self and can be present and whole. With healing, we don’t have to personalize someone else’s emotion-spills. With healing, we can improve our quality of life. When they don’t fight for brain health, such as taking needed medications, or whatever it is that would have been friendly for them to do – we don’t have to make it about us.

And! And if we choose to, we can be with them. We can be with the people we love! Isn’t that great?! Even when they don’t do their own self-care. Even then. Or not. But we are choosing now rather than reacting defensively.

Kaily said it yesterday like this,

Now, when I notice that my mood is starting to mimic the negative mood or negative atmosphere around me, I stop myself and realize that just because those around me are negative, stressed, uptight, etc., I have the choice and the power to stay positive and at peace within myself. Just because everyone else is jumping off the cliff doesn’t mean that I have to follow.

Self-Care Tip #268 – Taking care of our your own emotional junk helps you not try to take care of theirs.