Celebrate Your Imperfections

Perception_is_Everything_-_Rusland_Beeches.jpg

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Self-Care Tip #153 – Celebrate your imperfections and adequacy.  Be a friend to yourself.

Chrystal came in.  Years with degrees of depression pulling her up and down leave her hoping to reach euthymia (steady level mood).  Chrystal and I frequently find ourselves talking about the grief that comes with this.  But not so much today.  She was hopeful after a new medication trial gave her a week with less melancholy.

In depression, even a few hours of relief from the dark inability to feel pleasure or interest, even a few hours when hope slips in can be enough to remind us what it is about life that is worth living for.  Chrystal has stood in and out of that shard of hope many times.  Each time it returns, she turns her face into it.  Hungry.  Wanting.  Alive still.  Responding to what any of us do, as any of us would, when hope is on us.

Celebrating a little together this lovely hope, she was nevertheless aware that it might sneak off again.  She said, “We’ll see.”  I said, “We’ll see.”

And then I remembered.  “Why can’t we celebrate your flaws?  Who says we can’t?”  They have beauty.  They have depth and shape and the loveliness that comes only from pain.

Chrystal looked at me doubtfully.  “Really?  I’m not so sure about that.”

I remember Someone perfect.  Last I heard, He had some pain and scars too and it didn’t change His status, value, or essence.

If we can’t celebrate our imperfections, we can’t celebrate anything because that is who we are.  Imperfect, all of us, except for One.  All of us adequate.

Adequate.  I celebrate that I am adequate today.  Adequate to live, to love, to do what I do.  “Adequate” implies a personal balance between perfection and flaws.  It implies a presence with both poles.  It does not quantify.  It does not mean that we don’t continue to grow or hope.

I’m not sure about everyone’s opinion about my self-perception, my attitude, or my effort at life.  However, I am growing surer of my own and am getting glad about that.  I’m wondering if Chrystal can celebrate her flawed self as much as she celebrates the hope of escaping her suffering.  What about you?

If each of us in turn were as pleased with ourselves as that, still hoping, still growing, still hurting, still suffering, what then?  Let’s celebrate together, alone, healthy, ill or wherever we find ourselves.  Let’s celebrate our imperfections and adequacy.

Question:  How do you live with your adequacy?  Please tell me your story.

Having Mental Health Means Sleuthing Magical Perceptions Sometimes

Black Magic (comics)

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Self-Care Tip #134 – Looking past the dark magic in your life might require medication.  Be a friend to yourself.

Much of what psychiatrists do at work is help with misperceptions.  Seeing something one way does not make it true.

In Scientific America, there was a great article, “Magic and the Brain: How Magicians ‘Trick’ the Mind,” By Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik | November 24, 2008 | 17.  It tells us that we misperceive things so easily, that people use that quality to entertain others.  Magicians use it to entertain and exploit the limits of cognition and attention.

Magicians aren’t the only ones to exploit that.  We do.  We exploit ourselves.  Tsk.  Not too friendly and not generally as entertaining.

How is having our misperceptions a form self-exploitation, you say?  Because we nurse them and drive our own selves into the ground with them.  No one else is doing it when down to the last trick.

It comes to me that when we feel disconnected from others, we are mistaken.  Some magic turned us awry and we don’t see the gazillioin links touching us all around.  When we feel worthless, when we think we are despised, when we feel singled out for suffering, that be black magic my friends.  When we think our lives our so hopeless that we would be better off ending them, look for the mirrors.  Look for the rabbits and top hats.  We aren’t seeing things right.

When I move the curtains across my clinic day, I often find medical diagnosis hiding behind.  Some sort of biology giving us the slip.

My dad often told me, “Things are never as bad as they seem.”  I realize he was talking about this kind of magic.

Question:  How have you gotten past self-harmful misperceptions?  How have you seen another do it?  Please tell me your story.