When You Are Hurting, Remember Why You Want To Live, And Live For That

 

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Self-Care Tip #133 – When you are hurting, remember why you want to live, and live more purposefully for that.

My daughter has a viral upper respiratory infection.  She is laying on the floor in her sleeping bag that has the stuffed puppy dog head for a pillow.  She just wants to be near me today while I work.  She wakes up and coughs, I check her out and dose her if she’s febrile.  She goes back to sleep.  Awakens.  Trundles up to drink some mango juice, water, eat 3 noodles, comes down again and lays there, pink in the cheeks, red eyes and chafed upper lip.

Sometimes when one of the kids is sick they stay home if I’m here.  It usually stresses me out but I’ve been getting better at believing more that we can take what comes and still get the work done.  Today, in-between patients, I laid down beside her.  Face-to-face.  She leaned in, opened her eyes and smiled!

She is one of the most delicately framed little people I know.  My nuclear family has never had small bones so this must be from someone on my husband’s side.  My daughter swung that tiny arm, warm with fever over my neck, put her face on mine, and fell asleep.

Lying there, thinking I’m so glad I could do this for her, suddenly felt wrong.  It flip-flopped over in my mind and I realized that I was glad.  But for me.

Having her near me while I work is a connecting force.  To both of us but maybe more for me.  My family has been exchanging this virus for 2 weeks now.  It hasn’t been hell but it has not been a delight.  Yet here I find myself delighted.  I wonder how long I’m going carry this gladness around.

Come what may in this world, it is these surprising moments that convince us about the rest.

In psychiatry, I’m required to ask each patient if they have thoughts of wanting to die.  Then I ask, “What do you want to live for?”  That catches some people off guard and I’ve gotten looks that could defend anyone in war.  But we aren’t at war and eventually they tell me why they want to stay alive another day.

At some level we all answer that question even if indirectly.  Everyone suffers.  If I were asked, my daughter’s smile would be on my list.

I am often amazed by good things that come out of bad.  Knowing that, gives hope.  But it also gives purpose and we can choose to angle ourselves more purposefully towards that rather than passively.  We can choose to live for the reasons we think worth living for.

My husband prays, “God please turn my posture toward you today.”  I’ve always loved that.

Question:  Why do you want to stay alive?  What are you living for?  Please tell me your story.

Choose Well, What You Will Live For

Self-Care Tip #96 – Choose well, what you will live for.

Yesterday we discussed finding our reference point for why we do what we do.  All day today I found my thoughts returning there and had to spend another blog-post-opportunity on it’s “friendliness.”  I was happy to find that I was not the only one when I got a reader‘s response:

I’m still coming out of the fog of doing anything for survival-as-a-habit.  As in, being in panicked survival mode even when all is calm and safe–that is no way to live, any dog knows better than to live like that.

I contrast her response with my colleague’s:

The intentions of any life is self-serving.  Altruism doesn’t exist except in God, (which I accede not to understand), and people can’t rise above their own genetics.

Now this man is the kindest, sweetest, most generous man you’d ever meet and he doesn’t say these things with any meanness, anger towards a past offense, or to turn people from God.

However, contrast his take on our reference point in life with the reader’s above.  She talks about her choice.  Can a choice transcend our genetics?

You may remember some of a previous post mentioning the work of MIT neuroscientist, Sebastian Seung. His research tells us that memories are stored in our neurons and not in our genes.  Eg. Habits are memories and not genetic therefore not permanent.

There is an interplay between choice and genetics.  YES!!@!!  We aren’t robots!  😉  Nor are we a picture without a frame.  We so often don’t think about all the good that our genetics do for our lives.  There’s just so much talk about how we fight our genetics.  We have been given both a design and free choice.  Of course we can’t change our design, but as our reader later said so well:

For some people it is a process just to ask “why am I doing this?” … AND actually ask that question to themselves. (man-o-man the times I have asked everyone else why I was doing something) Maybe it will take sometime for an answer to come, but asking means we are on our way!

Choice is the gift from God that the apple and the serpent and thousands, or billions of years (what ever is true) can’t take away from us.  Only you can.

Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  Where are you in process between your choice and your design?  Is the interplay one that is smooth or rocky for you?  Please tell me your story