When Self-Care Gives Pleasure, You Will Be Friendlier To Yourself

Self-Care Tip #128 – Connect pleasure with self-care.  Be a friend to yourself.

There’s a reason we have bad habits in our life.  It’s not only the loops, the neurological grooves in our brain, it’s also that they bring pleasure!  It’s not so unbelievable understanding obesity, drugs, addictions, poor sleep hygiene, inactivity, whatever it is when we think about the amazing effect that dopamine has on our pleasure center!  Ah.  Say, “Dopamine!”

Our real question with ourselves should be why we so often expect ourselves to do “good” things if they don’t give us pleasure?  How do we expect to stop over-eating if the substitute we offer our biological selves is suffering?  How do we expect to exercise, if we’d rather poke needles into our eye-balls than jog a mile?

We’re smart people, we have knowledge and we know what to do.  But, knowledge isn’t the answer always.  The “language of the heart” is dopamine, is feeling good.  How can we link what we want to do with ourselves objectively with feeling good.  It would be nice to pair up our dopamine with friendly habits and not those that are self-destructive.

How to do that might be worth some effort figuring out.  Figure it out individually if we want it to succeed.  The reason for the discussion here is not to give directions, but simply to draw attention to our need to find our own feel-good buttons and how we can wire them up to self-friendly behaviors.

I’m struggling through this also.  I hope to share this awareness with my kids before they move out, so I better get busy!  Can’t do that too well until I do it well for myself.

Today when I went on a mommy-date with my daughter, instead of taking her to Starbucks, we went and bought Bendaroos.  That was all I could come up with in the 10 minute date we had allotted for something feel-good.  Maybe she’ll develop shopping addiction instead of food addiction.  Time will tell, but I hope she got out of it the pleasure of creating shapes with Bendaroos instead.  Hopefully when she get’s creative, dopamine squirts out in her brain like a geyser.

Now, to get back to me…?  huh.

You can read a related post here.

Question:  How are you linking self-care with pleasure in your life?

Why Are You Walking The Road Alone?

Part of humility is not isolating.  You have to be able to receive to be a friend.  Dan Allender Ph.D. calls it suffer the kindness.

From looking at him, I didn’t guess at first that Fink was lonely, but he was.  Under-appreciated, whenever Fink thought about making new friends, he remembered that he wasn’t young any more.  All his “real” friendships were made when he hung-out for hours, had spares in the trunk so to speak.  If one relationship didn’t develop well, he still had time and possibilities that the future offers.  In this sense, Fink had been rich.  He had after all that, maybe 3 friends he considered “real.”  But over the last several years, with real jobs and families of their own, his real friends weren’t returning his calls.  Now, he thought, he may as well as not have given them his special self.  Now he was older and not so rich.  Fink kept picking at that scab, even though he knew it wasn’t so masculine to be upset about your neglected special self.

At times we are lonely, but have trouble valuing the relationships being offered.  We see ourselves as something set apart.  This might be part of our drive to self-preserve.  Bits of neurons fighting over signals in our brain telling us that we need to dominate to propagate our genes.  Maybe.  But there is that intersection when choice crosses.

We remember from Sebastian Seung‘s work that our memories are not stored in our genes.  That gives us something tangible to work with.

I remember walking on the beach with a girlfriend when we were still in medical school.  I told her, “I’m tired of feeling bad about things I never had a choice in!”  It still seems wasteful to moralize things like temperament and our nature.  In fact, we’ve argued the opposite at length in previous blog posts.  Embrace that part of you and run with it! we said.

So what do we do with Fink?  For starters, tell him that his drives are what they are.  The real question is, what’s he going to do with his genetic drives?  Do good things with that energy?  (If we can call genetic drive an energy.)  Or will he do things that aren’t so good for him.  There comes the choice.  Fink.  Suffer the kindness.  (Thanks Dan Allender!)  In the end you will be happier and healthier for it.  Even if you are half as hot as your genes tell you you are, who cares if you are walking the road alone.

Self-Care Tip #86 – Suffer the kindess.  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  What has been a barrier in your life from connecting with others?  Please tell me your story.

Believe What You Say! It Might Make a Difference.

If you want to get passionate about something, You have to believe it.  Many people speak it, read it, plan on it, but they don’t believe it.  Do you?  Do you believe that you can actually start doing what you want to do, feeling what you want to feel, become who you want to be?

And how bout the opposite?  Too many of us quietly or loudly hold our negative patterns.  A Heathcliff with Catherine scenario in Bronte‘s Wuthering Heights – slowly bringing on our own demise.  Reminds me of the mistletoe, a parasite on it’s host but accepted and beloved nonetheless.

MIT neuroscientist Sebastian Seung gave a wonderful TED conference, “I am my connectome.”  He tells us the good news that we are more than our genes. Our memories are not “stored” in our genes.  They live amongst the neuronal connections.  He empowers us saying that because we can change our neuronal connections, we can change our behaviors and habits – which are based on neuronal memory (indian trails.)  You see, because our habits are really memories ground into the fiber of our minds, and not into the constitution of our matter, we can make different ones.

Wow!

We may not have pixie dust or elf stones, but we do have power.  We can stop, drop and roll! to that destruction in our lives.  We can be friendly with ourselves at any level of our beings – neuronal to behavioral and emotional.  Mr. Seung, that is great news!

Self Care Tip #70 – If you are going to do it, have courage and believe it!  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  What do you think?  Please tell me your story.