Set Your Self-Care And Moral Jailer Free.

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Self Care

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Self-Care Tip – Set your self-care free.  Be a friend to yourself.

Self-care just is.

The problem about saying self-care starts and ends with Me is that people forget about the journey it travels between here and there.  People become fearful that it means alone-care, apart-from-God-care, selfish-care, and so on.

When we take care of “Me,” we can connect more with others, including God, have more inside of us to give to others, and have more interest in the world around.  The opposite disables our abilities to do those things.  Again we say, “Can’t give what we don’t have.”

God gave us this person, “Me,” to take care of.  He considers “Me” valuable and of high priority.  He celebrates with me and cheers me on.  He stands beside me and He doesn’t see self-care as having exclusionary implications to anyone else.

Please, shake it off.  Self-care is no more of a moral issue than anything else.  It just is.  It is a choice, a freedom, an opportunity.  It is as much about salvation as any other act of good or bad, and has no influence on our worth.  It just is.

Lord, What must I do to be saved?

– Paul’s Jailer.  Me.  Could be you.

Questions:  How do you speak to the stigma in your church, community or self toward being a friend to yourself?  How do you get to Me, despite the pressure to pay-up to all the others around you in emotional and physical energy first?  How is your relationship with God when you are friendly with yourself?  Please tell me your story.

Self-Care Workshop Notes, by An Attendee

Sharon Profile

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We have been meeting Thursdays, as you know, for our workshop.  Every meeting takes me by surprise by how well it goes, which may be a bad sign but that’s just how my nerves go – setting me up for some denuding catastrophe.  I don’t think Billy Graham or Martin Luther King had that problem.  Even so, pressing forward, I and the rest of the group have done the hard work to get ourselves there – and the inherent energy and brilliance natural to being good to oneself did the rest.

One of the attendees spoke for a couple minutes and I thought you might want to know what her prompt notes looked like.  This woman is one of the courageous.  She has been victimized horribly but she is not a victim.  She has chosen freedom.

I WAS ASKED WHAT IT MEANS TO ME TO BE A FRIEND TO MYSELF

  • Had no idea 
  • hadn’t thought about changes made in my life as if in doing them I was “being a friend to myself”
  • Only have learned what I need to do to stay emotionally healthy and balanced
  • Some of these things cannot be compromised and yes, I do catch flak occasionally, but as I stand my ground it becomes less frequent
  1. Friday group with friends
  2. Aftercare group once a month
  3. Meds (acceptance, cooperation with dr)
  4. Saying “No”
  5. Responsible for only me
  6. Reaching out (for myself and for others)/ Connecting
  7. Recognizing when I need help
  8. Faith (new)
  9. Setting boundaries
  10. Therapy as necessary

Starts and Ends with Me

  1. Don’t give power over myself to anyone else
  2. Always have a choice, yes or no, but consequences go along with each choice

Awareness of situations and circumstances that are unfriendly to me

  1. Drama: the friendly action => minimize exposure
  2. Confrontation:  When it came to Tall Poppies, I wanted to rip out at roots and crush into ground; 
    1. can’t allow myself to get to that point; 
    2. wait until not angry or just let it go; 
    3. use insight to figure out other person’s angle or underlying issue

My employment:

  • loved it
  • my identity
  • first priority in life
  • many years of discussions about it killing me and need to give it up but wouldn’t at any cost
  • after truck crash, priorities changed
  • few more years passed and realized time to give it up
  • still miss it very much but cost to my overall well-being is too high
Questions:  Since becoming a better friend to yourself, what has changed in your life?  What does it mean to be your own friend?  Please tell us your story.
Self-Care Tip:  Take inventory on what you have done for yourself differently when you were being friendly.  

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Calibrate the forces in your life

Calibration

Calibration (Photo credit: Kyle McDonald)

I’ve taken this week off, mostly at least. Besides a couple half-days, I’m living the non-income life, otherwise known as “vacation.” In any sort of self-employment, that’s what vacation is – a carefully calibrated force with another opposing, calibrated to keep me from mutating. All for the price of income.

It was getting close there, and just in time, after the significance of making wrong change and missing signatures finally broke through, I found myself here. Vacation. #gratitude.

But what does one do, “relaxing?”

Yesterday, someone asked what Adam and Eve did before the fall. I loved that question. What did they do all day? Reminded me about my thought-thumbing through what a heaven or eternity would be like. Where’s the delicious tension from living this way, dynamic and traveling persons? I’m very interested to know what will keep my attention for eternity.

Anyhow, vacation is like what one patient described as counting the days, either with anxiety or happy anticipation, of when you will be going back to work. I would say that it’s an exercise in calibrating the forces in ones life, before she mutates.

I remember as a little girl, with tangled hair in my eyes and muddied toes, hearing, “At the end of someone’s life, no one ever says they wished they worked more.” It scared me. I sensed the intent behind these words to threaten whoever was out there working and not spending time with their family. I was scared for them and at the same time for myself. This has replayed many times in my mind since then, in shifting sounds and shapes as my thoughts took on the years and experience of what family time offers/takes verses work time. And then finally one day, I said to my sister, “When I’m in the dying stage, I don’t think I will agree with that. I can’t imagine ever not wanting to work more.”

When one gets to do something as fun as work in psychiatry, with heroes and see magic and watch what all that does to their own person in a process no less than what a dreamers canvas would display – they don’t ask for less. They will always want more, and so will I. This is not a qualifying statement of how much of my family I want in my life at all. One of the major problems with the original scare is that it is based on assuming either-or, either work or family. That’s ignorant, same as my fear.

So tonight, after a pajama day cleaning out the toy room, kids and movie time, my flow was interrupted by thoughts of patients’ narratives and personalities, and I missed them. Vacation, against that, makes for a pretty relaxing time. #gratitude.

Self-Care Tip – Calibrate the forces in your life. Be a friend to yourself.

Questions: How do you relax? Do you enjoy your work? What will you still want more of when you are in the dying process? Please tell us your story.

Do You Believe In God?

Yesterday, sitting with all the intellectuals, the thinkers and the brains, my “Big Fat F” felt like I was dressed wrong more than once.  However, thanks to you guys and what we’ve done together, I was able to recognize it and make it through without sautéing the shame of being who I am wired to be.  See blog-post, Hear, Be Hear, Believe and Speak in Your Language.

 

Ma-Student03

Image by rimabek via Flickr

 

There are temperaments that find it easier to believe in God I think; feelers, more so than thinkers at least.  But definitely not across the board.  Whatever our temperament or brain health, we are all deciding what to do with the surging evidence of the evolutionary history of our world.  This can translate into an all-or-none decision for the existence of God.  When logic and knowledge make a seven-day creation unbelievable, than believing in God might too.  When we discover the repeating themes between religions, Buddhist with Christianity with Mayan and so forth, than rather than believing in a message that is bigger than culture and Time, we might believe that there is no message.  When we understand emotions and behaviors on the cellular, hormonal and related biology and draw the line even more clearly to evolutionary origins, we might nod our heads.  “No God.”   When we say,

Everything starts and ends with me,

and in the connections we find, discover humanism decreasing the perceived need to depend only on God, we might pull a hand back, take in breath, go silent and think,

Is this all?

Yesterday, talking about oxytocin, how it was measured and manipulated, how emotions and behaviors were measured and manipulated, I was in awe.  I always am by these discussions.  It amazes me over an over again that we can have this beautiful understanding about emotions and behaviors.  However, there was the curtained message that there is no God.  I can’t say exactly how I believe this to be true.  But I do.  I felt a chill and remembered, even if these things are true, doesn’t say anything about God not existing.

All these things that I use to define my reality, which of them can be really trusted?  Love, Emotions, Time, biology, personality, senses, brain, essence, connections and external input, learning and knowledge, the Bible, visions and more – they don’t have to define the existence of God but for many of us they may.

So I ask you, of all the things you use to define your reality, what do you trust?  Do you use them to grow your belief in God or vice versa?

Self-Care Tip – Work these questions over deliberately before these questions work you over unsuspecting.

What Is Your Life-er?

Cover of The Cowardly Lion of Oz.

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I’ve been doing my usual struggle with lifestyle, health, weight and image maintenance.  It’s one of my life-ers.

There are some things we will courageously and sometimes cowardly maintain our fight with.  These are our life-ers.  We will have it on our docket every day.  There are times when this will blow us away with frustration, hopelessness and feelings of impotence.  Other times we will see it more calmly for what it is.  It is.  No more or less.

It’s helpful to say these things out loud.  That way when we wake up and see the life-er there, or catch a reprieve with distraction, or work like a mad-dog to get friendly with ourselves despite it all and find that that doesn’t take these life-ers away, we will maintain hope.  We will see these life-ers, although part of us, don’t define us.  We will own them and weave them into our friendship with ourselves – flawed and perfect selves.

What is your life-er?

Self-Care Tip – Knowing what your life-er is, is part of being a friend to yourself.

Summarizing What You Say About Friendship With Yourself

Friendship

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In Summary:

Q1:  What does being “a friend to yourself” mean?

  • self-awareness
  • Acting on that self-awareness
  • Grieving who I wished I was
  • Valuing Me

Q2:  What helps?

  • Knowing where emotions and behaviors come from
  • No self-injury or aggression to others
  • Knowing God
  • Gratitude/self-inventory
  • Support from outside of Me
  • Personal check-points in place to offensively guard again self-sabotage

Q3:  What doesn’t help?

  • Perfectionism
  • Ingratitude
  • Untreated or treatment resistant brain illness
  • Stigma
  • misdirected efforts to feel empowered (such as, preoccupied thoughts = control)
  • isolation
  • habit

Q4:  What helps despite this?

  • Self-forgiveness
  • Realism/Without catastrophizing
  • Tenacity
  • Remembering what your self-care has done
  • Presence

Q5:  What is the relationship between biology and choice when it comes to understanding where emotions and behaviors come from?

  • Biological template determines function
  • Choice is there for using that template

Love Differently, Love Your Flaws – Be a Tall Poppy

Tall Poppy

Image by Steve Corey via Flickr

To my family and friends, I thought differently.

But since I’ve loved my flaws less harshly, like pointing jeweled fingers;

since I’ve fallen and let myself savor who I was just then, rasping throat from less than gentle sounds, beautifully broken down, a phoenix who was afraid and not afraid to die;

since I’ve been in the same room with myself, my smells, my dying cells, my mistakes and since I’ve loved these things – since then I have loved you.

I thought I was before but this is differently better.

I am loving you when you turn away and miss your opportunity to praise.  I feel myself soften and think how you are mine.

I am loving you when you miss your self-care and come late and forget.

I thought differently before.

I thought I loved you more the other times, but this is.

It is better to see that you will never be who I expected and that you just missed the turn and won’t.

It is better since I have thought more of me.

And although this sounds off; a discordant honk in the culture score around us,

Although this is awkward showing my ankles exposed while I walk amongst tall-poppies, I even love that

and it is not to say I gloat,

just that I won’t run to hide behind my accomplishments

and won’t hide you behind yours.  I love you more because there is more.  This is differently better and I love you.

Self-Care Tip #278 – Be a tall poppy.

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