Seek To Know Your Uniqueness

He who seeks truth shall find beauty.
He who seeks beauty shall find vanity.
He who seeks order shall find gratification.
He who seeks gratification shall be disappointed.
He who considers himself the servant of his fellow beings shall find the joy of self-expression.
He who seeks self-expression shall fall into the pit of arrogance.
Arrogance is incompatible with nature.
Through nature, the nature of the universe, and the nature of man, we shall seek truth.
If we seek truth, we shall find beauty.
—Moshie Safdie, TED 2002

Questions:  What direction does this offer our efforts toward friendship with ourselves?  Will you give us a personal example?

Self-Care Tip – Seek to know your uniqueness

Reworking Choices With Your Physician as Part of Your Team

What do you want? 

It is one of my challenges as a physician when someone comes to see me for reasons I’m not able to accommodate.  I can’t validate them.  I can’t tell them what they want to hear.

What can I do?  Help them “realize” that they came to see me for another reason.  Another way to say it is to help them “choose” another agenda.  A part of them realizes their need for help; they came.  A part of them believes I am a person that can help; they came.  A part of them.  A part that I and the patient are responsible to find and shift agendas deliberately or by any wiles possible.

Hands touching

Image via Wikipedia

We are an unusual team in this.  How often do you find another so awkwardly paired?  Yet these are some of my best patient-doctor relationships.

What do you want?

When there is a meeting up, a connection and everyone is working for the same “want,” both presence and movement are natural responses.  It’s like we’re standing still in the moment, senses taking it in, and moving all the while.  The process of moving itself brings pleasure and healing.  It is not always about arriving.  It is not always what we think we want.

Self-Care Tip – Enjoy your re-choices and what you will get from them.

Questions:  Have you every found yourself being “helped” to have a different agenda that improved your presence and movement in your personal journey?  Please tell us your story.

In The Space of Anger, Remember You Are a Friend to Yourself.

The Rage of Achilles (1757)

Image via Wikipedia

Bullying:  Series Continued.

  • #144 Leave Space In Your Beliefs To Grow
  • #163 ”He’s Never Hit Me.” Abuse.
  • #251 Just Ordinary Bullying – The Bully and The Bullied
  • #253 How to Be A Friend To Yourself When Thinking About Your Bully
  • #254 Free To Do Self-Care, Despite Our Bully
  • #255 Bullying That Includes Life-Threatening Behavior.

You are saying this to provoke me!

Paula was angry.  Her hold on her composure was tenuous.  I backed off before she lost her cool.  No one feels good when they do that.  If she felt this way around this mostly unthreatening environment, she must be suffering its effect on her relationships or lack thereof in her other life environments.  No one feels good when they can’t trust themselves.

I am not going to sit here and take this from you!  You are doing this on purpose!

And Paula walked out.  That was it.  That was all I got.  For now, my opportunity to help was over and I was left to wonder after her.

1.  In taking care of ourselves around anger, the first step is to ensure our personal safety.  Deescalate if possible the tension.  But most importantly, do what we must to be safe.  If we have to leave to do that, than we leave and it is over.  I commend Paula for leaving before she acted out on her anger.  That is good coping going on.

For myself, if she had continued to escalate, I could call for help or leave.

2.  The next step, (exclusively per Dr. Q), for those experiencing the anger…  Well there are many, and if it is happening often, should probably include medical interventions along with other considerations of her biopsychosocial self.

For those subjected to the anger, it will be most friendly to themselves to process their own emotional response to the anger-trigger.  “Do I feel angry too?  Do I think I am responsible for her emotions? Do I think what went down here is about me?”  Get our personal out of the stuff that isn’t.  Why make it about us if that isn’t true?  It is another thing if we were poking her with a skewer or had initiated our own emotional diarrhea before she did.  But that just takes us back to step #1.

3.  Finally, for the “victim,” take some time to tease out if we are putting ourselves in a position that isn’t safe repetitively.  “Is there a pattern?  Do we find ourselves in the space of anger or other negative emotions often?  How often?  Do we allow this person to treat us in a negative way that we would never allow anyone else to treat us?”  The answer to that will be telling about our self-friendliness.

Self-Care Tip #259 – In the space of anger, remember you are a friend to yourself.

Questions:  What patterns, if any, do you see in your life, or someone you love re: anger?  What empowers you towards self-care in the space of anger?

Anger – Sometimes There Doesn’t Have to Be A Reason

A metaphorical visualization of the word Anger.

Image via Wikipedia

Self-Care Tip #244 – When emotions and behaviors come without being asked by you, think about the medical reasons.

She needed to keep going, Minka felt hurt and angry.  Control and failure nipped at her.  She wondered what it would take for her to recognize her own success.

Minka had a child who provoked her.  But worse for Minka, was not perceiving progress in their relationship.  Minka was bewildered by it.  But still and more so, angry.  She asked me what she needed to do to be happy and feel like what she did when life was good.  It reminded me of the man who came to Jesus and asked,

Teacher, what good thing must I do to have life forever?  (And listed off all his good deeds.)

Just as I was thinking about this, sure enough, Minka listed off her self-care efforts, angrily as if they failed to redeem her.

Turning this around in my mind, my thoughts ran over a differential – the 3 C’s, her temperament, her biology, other medical conditions, other influencing stressors and I wondered if Minka was angry in other situations as well.  (See The Biopsychosocial-How-To.)

No one really likes themselves much when they are angry.  Anger is pulled through the capillaries and passed on until it colors all of us red.  It is a confusing emotion; internally preoccupying.  Many people don’t remember chunks of their lives during which they said things and did things in anger.  It just disappeared into the white noise of the emotion.  During anger-binges, people can black-out too, much like alcohol.  Often times anger comes without invitation.  Often times, anger is not something that will leave by invitation either.

So we know already that the 3C’s apply to this kind of anger.

I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, I can’t change and or cure it!

Minka hurriedly answered that they didn’t work for her but she had tried.  It was on her self-care list apparently.

I don’t want to blame my daughter.  I know I’m responsible for how I feel but I keep holding her responsible even though cognitively, I know she’s not.

That was pretty big.  In my opinion, she could put that on her self-care list and check it off as well.  Steller.

the

Image via Wikipedia

Through further disclosure, I learned that Minka hadn’t enjoyed anything much lately – not only her daughter.  She was irritable, edgy, felt superior to others and then kicked herself over it.  Minka said she tolerated less and less of what life touched her.

I wrap those descriptors in the same nap-sack as anger and mood.  They are on the affective spectrum and for Minka, it wasn’t for lack of trying hard enough, for lack of being spiritual enough (it makes some of us uncomfortable to say this), or missing a puzzle piece from her psyche.  Minka was medically unable to put her anger aside and connect with her daughter.  Minka’s medical condition was isolating her not only from her daughter but most other bits of life touching her.  She was ill.  She wasn’t choosing those emotions.  Now came the job of helping Minka see that and go for help in the right direction.

Question:  What is your opinion about behaviors and emotions coming without being invited or chosen?   …without a “reason” for being there?  Please tell me your story.

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If it Matters to You, Even The Hot Shots Say, SELF-CARE BEGINS AND ENDS WITH ME

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Self-Care Tip #220 – Take your freedom and be good to yourself.

Free-will keeps cropping creeping climbing clambering up with us.  Go figure.  As usual, Carl pushed buttons and inspired me to remember the lovely word “self-government.”  I was so delighted that not only does the term self-government say it so well, but I felt like I was the first to come up with it.  Then I googled around and found Webster, many countries (possibly yours,) and even our own constitution of the United States (“We the people…”) might have wrinkled time and stolen it from me before I even thought of it (See Einstein and the Fabric of Time.)  Can you believe that!

While calming my unappreciated self, I ran across like-minded David Rigoni’s splendid work at the University of Marseille.  (After reading this, I’m sure he will delight in hearing us named, “like-minded.”)  Dr. Rigoni says,

Folk psychology tells us if you feel in control, you perform better.  What is crucial is that these effects are present at a very basic motor level, a deep level of brain activity.

He and his team studied thirty people over different tasks, using different mediums of examination and deduced that it is better to believe.

If we are not free it makes no sense to put effort into actions and to be motivated.

Dr. Rigoni’s work reminded me of the work of MIT neuroscientist Sebastian Seung.  Some time ago, Dr. Seung gave a wonderful TED conference,

I am my connectome.

Dr. Seung tells us the good news that we are more than our genes.  The connections among neurons are where memories and experiences get stored – not in the genome.

My pleasure grew when I read about the collaborative work from a few schools we’ve heard of – see NYU news.  ….Apparently goals and habits show overlapping neurological mechanisms.

This is all very exciting to our self-government.  I’m sure that we the people would hate to find out that all this time we’ve demanded our freedom – it wasn’t even possible.  But it is – even per the hot-shots of the world. The sophisticated and unsophisticated, in paradigms of thought, Time and Timelessness, learning, beliefs and feelings, in my country and in yours – we continue comfortably and with confidence to say, SELF-CARE BEGINS AND ENDS WITH ME.  (See Ghettysburg Address.)

Questions:  When have you found yourself unable to claim your freedom to be friendly with yourself?  How have you managed to cross the barriers you perceived around yourself or others?  What would you like to tell Carl or Carl?  Please tell us your story.

Get Out Of The Company Of Comparisons. Forget About Fairness.

Tail lights, lights, rain on my windshield, co...

Image by Wonderlane via Flickr

Self-Care #186 – Forget about fairness.

It’s raining here; herding us.  I don’t like driving at night, but driving in the rain at night is worse.  Driving in the rain at night, with a rabid sheepdog tailgating me is still worse.  However, I do love slowing way down when I’m tailgated.  That was nice.  And seeing some family, including my folks, made it all worth it.

My kids were in on it too.  They were doling out banana smoothie and repeating a favorite theme called, “Make it fair!”  In Parenting, the frequent reminder that life will never be fair for my kids, and wondering if they’ll ever get it, gives me almost as much pleasure as being tailgated at night in the rain.

“Make it fair,” isn’t far from any of our hearts desires.  It’s easy for me to forget humility and judge my kids, but when people aren’t looking, I’m also checking to see how much I got.

I met a girl in clinic, Britt, who was also working this out for herself.  She was holding it in her hands and turning it over; a foreign object.  Britt said,

It doesn’t matter what has happened to me, I’m still responsible for taking care of myself…

She said it many ways, and the tail of her pauses kept flipping up into question marks without actually asking,

With my abuse…?  No one else will…?

I could see her with all the rest of us suffering folk, checking the fluid line in our glasses, saying

With all the hurt I’ve received…

I was poor my whole life…

I just can’t seem to get a break!

For Britt, coming to a point of owning her self-care felt like losing social support.  She had for so long sipped on her succor as a victim in the company of her received wrongs, that she felt awkward.  Britt needed to find a new group of friends.  She stood there toeing the floor,

I have to take care of myself.

Britt will be alright.  She will be emotionally healthier and in better company very soon.  She will move past where so many of us are still gripping our goblets asking about why we didn’t get more.  She will say, without that question, self-care begins and ends with “Me.”

Britt hasn’t been able to do this without medical help.  For her, part of seeing herself as a victim to what life gave her was symptomatic of her major depressive disorder.  She was personalizing what wasn’t personal.  Not everyone will need medication.  Some of us will do well just recognizing that, “Life is not fair,” and will be able to move on.

Question:  How have you gotten out of the company of comparisons?  How has putting fairness aside been a form of self-care for you?  Please tell me your story.