Are You Empowered to Start Everything and End Everything With Me?

Yesterdays blog-post brought a few neighborly questions for us to follow-up with.

One is regarding emotions from bluebee.  Is jealousy medical?  Followed by, What part of emotion is under our control?  Indeed.

Second, Sarah quietly slipped the question under our door of how to respond to emotions and behaviors that come from brain illness.  How?  Indeed.

Third, Carl banged a little louder when asking, what keeps him in a relationship with someone who is maltreating him verses leaving?  Indeed.

There is a nice flow to these.  They are leading into the next and circle back.  Emotions and behaviors come from the brain, much which is out of our control and some of which is.  The choice to engage in the life of the ill is like any other choice.  Our own.  If it matters to us if the way the brain is working in the “other” is in their control or not, we can spend more time trying to sus that out.  I’m not sure myself when I get it good from someone mean, but it has become easier to take care of my junk rather than there’s.  For that, I will say a million thanks.  If I’m getting yelled at, I do the checks on myself – anxiety? fear? anger? fatigue? shaking? dizzy? tone of my voice? do I know what this person is yelling about? (most often it has nothing to do with Me), empathy? empowerment? You’ve told me that you are growing in similar refreshing ways.

Face Down w/Laundry and Gwen Stefani

Image by NCM3 via Flickr

I’ve seen this play out a little in my children.  My daughters and son are supposed to do the laundry every morning before they play.  I don’t know how many years now, but their arguments haven’t changed.

I’m doing this all by myself.  No one is helping me!

Mom!  He’s just laying on top of the clothes!  

Mom!  …

These questions above…;

  • where emotions and behaviors come from,
  • control over biological symptoms,
  • do I respond to others with brain illness
  • or do I walk away

These questions don’t mean much if we don’t find where our empowerment comes from.  Me.  Everything starts and ends with Me.

I’m ill for reasons I have nothing to do with, yet I will be accountable for myself and how I affect others.

I feel emotions I didn’t ask for, behaving ways that I am a spectator to rather than a whole person, yet I will do what I can to gain health.  In that, I have control.

I surrender what I don’t control to my Higher Power.  I take medication.  I exercise, guard my sleep hygiene and get regular sleep, eat responsibly, gather and engage community, attend therapy groups and/or individual, I try while at the same time I let go, I love my flaws as I love my perfections, I try to develop my natural genius, try as often as I can to pour any energies I have in that direction as I know I will heal faster, enjoy life more and be more successful at all my efforts when I do.

It reminds me of that saying, that if I have success, it is from standing on the shoulders of giant midgets.  We are all flawed.  We are all wonderful.  We are supported by others who also are full of flawed perfections.

Do I have control?  You bet.  …And no way.  Always, there are both.

Do I talk when someone is mistreating me? or mistreating themselves by neglecting their own self-care? by letting their illnesses shape their lives?  Do I walk away as that may be what my self-care demands.

Everything starts and ends with me.  There are a lot of stops along the way with other forces, but empowerment is mine.  Indeed.  That’s what I hope my kids will learn when doing the laundry.

Don’t Run Away. You Might Fall In Love With Your Flaws.

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Empower yourself by going towards what scares you.  Take it to the table and be with it.  Get to know it and openly share company with it.

Opal was throwing up.  She threw up more when she gained weight or felt fat.  Throwing up didn’t help her lose weight.  It was just a tool she had to deal with it all.  Opal was told often not to worry about her weight.  Told, she looked fine and not to weigh herself.  No one said openly, “Opal, you’ve gained weight and you’re going to get other illnesses because of it if it keeps going.”  They were afraid saying anything like that would make her throw up.  Hm.

What do you say?

We remember the three things that help maintain long-term weight loss.  Well one of the main reasons they work is because they help keep us present with “the problem” or “fear” or “shame” or however we name it.  Our natural instinct is to go away from fear but this is another example of when we don’t get help following our instincts.

What empowers Opal is to get tools to contend with her struggle with obesity.  It is probably a life-er for her and oh-well!  We can love our flaws better if we stop running from them and grow our skills in living with them in a friendly way.

Get empowered with whatever you are afraid of in yourself.  If you can’t do what you need to do to be in the place of that fear, it may be that you have a medical illness keeping you from coping better.  It doesn’t mean you’ve failed.  Staying with your journey, even to taking medication, even to naming brain illness in your life is so courageous.  You become one of the great ones.  Heroic.  It is so much easier to disconnect and lose our opportunity to love our flaws.

Have you ever heard someone call their life-er, “my old friend?”  Maybe it is arthritis?  Or recurring cancer?  Maybe it is brain disease.  Some day, we will also name our own, “my old friend.”  And we, with Opal, will mean it.

Self-Care Tip – Empower yourself by your presence.

Questions:  How do you do what is friendly to yourself when your instincts tell you not to?  What has that done for you?  Please tell us your story.

The Biopsychosocial Model for Where Emotions and Behaviors Come From

Waitress.

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

  1. Emotions Are Contagious
  2. Our own Emotional Junk 
  3. Positive Emotions and Behaviors are Contagious Too 
  4. Our Conscious Self is Our Board and Paddle at Sea 
  5. (today’s post) 

What we’ve 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, more available to giving and receiving positive “emotion-contagion,” so to speak.  Further, we hope that if we do this, we might have the ability to choose to be with people we love even if they don’t do their own self-care and have that connection without personalizing what isn’t about us.  Sigh.  That is nice, isn’t it?  …Yesterday took us out to sea away from our narrative for a bit, where we talked about the pleasure in engaging with what bits of biology are directly available to us and the relationship we maintain with the rest.

Self-Care Tip #271 – Use your biopsychosocial model as a tool to help your friend – You.

We return today to Rob and Yesenia.  (Remember Rob?)  Rob has shown us three important ways of considering where his emotions and behaviors come from.  This is the biopsychosocial model of looking at our functioning in the context of illness.

  • Rob’s biological factors include his own genetic primary illnesses as well as his genetic vulnerability to emotional milieu on his genes’ expression.  It also includes Rob’s temperament.

Going toward what our temperament finds pleasure in will naturally bring more good things to/in us and others around us.  (See blog post, Hear, Be Heard, Believe and Speak in Your Own Language.)

  • His psychological factors include how he is or is not able to cope with his wife’s emotions and behaviors.  There is obviously more involved but, snore.  (Ahem.  Oh.  There I was.)
  • Rob’s social factors include his wife’s emotions and behaviors.  Yesenia’s untreated emotional illness gives Rob a difficult interpersonal relationship to contend with.  …Where to start?

Questions:  How has looking at your biopsychosocial self collectively as well as in parts been a useful tool for understand your own emotions and behaviors?  Is it difficult to do this for yourself?  If so, what limits you?  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.

The Pleasure That Should Be Ours In Emotional Health

Cup of coffee with whipped cream

Image via Wikipedia

Some time, I’d like to come back to our bullying series as there is still some help to be had for us.  However, today, my cherubs are asleep and it’s only seven PM.  My feet are up.  I’m sitting by lots of beauty colored in varied hues of sunset, shadow and dusk.  Tonight will be short.  I will let today end and indulge the coming together of these things.  (I am even drinking reheated coffee with lots of whipped cream!)

What I have thought of to share with you my friends, as I’ve enjoyed its friendly work on me today, is the pleasure that should be ours in emotional health.

Bad things will come.  We will have anger, lower communication and such.  We will wish we hadn’t pushed the call button on the phone by accident when yelling.  BUT.  But (“Mommy you said a potty word!”).  But it will pass.  It will not define our day or our perception of self.  We won’t catastrophize and we will trust ourselves to show love and mercy to Me in our weakness.  This is a pleasure to experience.  This is what comes when we have brain health.

If this is what has always been your reality, well great.  BUT.  But (“Mommy!  Why did you say that?).  But, many of us know what it is to crave for days when we can say that the blow-ups, outs and ins don’t blot out the sun.  They shouldn’t.  The pleasure comes with health.  Go for it!  You are worth it.  You were made to feel pleasure.

Questions:  When was it that you realized that your emotions and behaviors didn’t rule you or someone you love any more?  What did/does that mean to you?  Please tell me your story.

(Ah!  There goes the last of the sun and the trees are now silhouettes.)

Self-Care Tip #257 – Go for the pleasure of trusting yourself to respond with healthy emotions and behaviors.

Give Yourself Over to Connection In Your Good-Bye

Michael Scott (The Office)

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Hello folks.  Just cried my eyes out watching the well-developed character of Michael Scott close out his work at The Office.  What is it that moved me so much?  The connection.  Michael Scott, played by the talented Steve Carol, ended his performance with the question,

They say that at your death-bed you’re never going to wish you spent more time at the office.  Not me.  I’m going to wish I had more….  Who are the people you work with?  Your very best friends in the world.

I could barely breath at this point.  Pile of tissues on the table.  My stunned husband letting me blubber goo on his shirt.  He asked,

What is it that you liked so much?

Only my husband would ask what I liked in the middle of a good cry.  He knows that crying doesn’t mean I don’t like what’s happening.  He knows my twisted ways.  Connection is lovely enough to like, miraculous enough to marvel over, worthy enough to lose my cool over.  It is after all one of our favorite topics here at FriendtoYourself.com.  It is after all what you and I have shared, working so hard for, spending hours every day writing or whatever it is that each of us do to grow that fragile yet strong wonder of humankind – connection.  This bit of self-care follows us into heaven, or leads. Who knows, follow and lead, when we are connected.

Within the friendly grip of connection, in this marvelous episode, we see that good-byes might bring us even closer together.  I see this all the time in crisis settings, hospitals, illnesses, pending closures to something that was loved.  The closure draws us closer into what good the connection had offered us.  To improve what we had previously thought was so good that it was beyond improving.  To draw forth, our greater selves.

Self-Care Tip #  – Give yourself over to the miracle of connection in all your good-bye’s.

Questions:  What makes connection part of self-care?  How have you been a better friend to yourself by the influence of connections?

What Is Your Most Core Desire? That Is Self-Care

It's a Business Doing Pleasure

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Self-Care Tip #191 – Do what you desire to get friendly with yourself.

What is your most core desire?  I am learning more about mine.

I wonder at the improvement in my quality of life since blogging with you.  It is More than the pleasure of writing; which I do love and have missed for years.  It is More than the pleasure of being productive; a natural high for my temperament.  It is More than the self-care tips listed off that roll back; a tide of all that is sent out comes in again to wash over me and change the shape of my life.

This morning I ran into a newer friend.  We came into each other’s lives, catalyzed by the ingredient that this blog provided.  I am sure I would not previously have allowed myself the pleasure of speaking with her for long without it.  My temperament has always been a driving force that pushes me into “the barn.”  I often miss the journey for the end.  This is “The More” that has been given to me.  Connection.

Now people actually look different.  Despite years of medical education, years of psychotherapy and my years of life, I never saw people to the extent that I do now.  Each of us here for a time with our stories, our pearls to offer and each of us with our essence to share for eternity.  It is one more time for me when I am open-eyed, open-mouthed gawking at the thought of “The More” that is still coming.  Better than this.

Think of your most core desire; what you are driven toward by biology, genes and higher intelligence.  What has given you access to that?  Now think about how to go for More.  That is self-care.

Question:  Oh, you know what I’m going to ask…