Being A Student… To Yourself!

Montmartre

Image by John Althouse Cohen via Flickr

Self-Care Tip #240 – Be a student to yourself.

The PossAbilities Triathlon today was the best.  It was the first triathlon for my young niece.  Doing it with her made it so much more than just a triathlon.  She is someone who works hard on what she loves.

Her father, who is my brother Vance, and I had more time to chat today, thanks to my niece’s excellent pacing.  Vance is a natural teacher as well and he’s been practicing on me our whole lives together.  The fact that we are old now doesn’t change the dynamics much and I think we are both just fine with that.

Today we talked about teaching directly.  Vance said,

To teach well, first you have to understand what their fears are, and waylay them.  Then you inspire, but you can’t inspire until the fears are examined at some level and trust grows.

Isn’t that lovely?  So my question for us today, is how do we do this for ourselves?  Sure, we want to be humble students as well as educators in the teams we work with involving others.  However, reducing this to the basics of self-care, we finger the idea that this can start right here, where things start and end with “Me.”

Understand our fears and let them lose their power over us.  Then spend our time and energy on what inspires us.  This is how we can teach ourselves and learn from ourselves!  What a delight.

Questions:  What do you think about the idea of being a good teacher to yourself?  Is it ridiculous?  Arrogant?  Possible or not?  How do you teach yourself?  Is it the same as a “doctor-heal-thyself” trap, or as described in this bl0g-post, “teacher teach thyself?”  Is there still self-care potential in this, despite its obvious limitations?  Please tell me your story.

When You Can’t Control This, Emote Empathically

Self-Care Tip #172 – When you can’t control this, emote empathically.  Be a friend to yourself.

A couple of days ago I wrote about being transparent with ourselves and others when we are not in control of things.  (Say, “I Can’t Control This” When You Can’t.)

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It got mixed responses but all worth thinking about.

Jennifer responded on Facebook,

The 3 C’s help me all the time; I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, I can’t change and or cure it!

Isn’t that wonderful?!

  1. Cause
  2. Control
  3. Change

And it’s helpful to remember that claiming these 3C’s still may not remove us from the stressor.  We are however more present with ourselves and others despite the stressor.

Another reader BeeBlu’s, brought up that famous “fine line,”

I agree that it’s healthy to have this attitude to certain things in our lives, but as you say, it is also no excuse for bad behaviour and letting emotions go into free fall at the expense of others. I think there is a very fine line between the two. bb

…And her signature, “bb,” – awesome.

A line that is thin implies insecurity, danger and something precarious that may end up all wrong.  I wonder about that line.

On one side we have the 3 C’s:  cause, control, change.  On the other side of the line we have responsibility for the boundaries of others.  I wonder if there really is a dividing line after all or if it is just bad lighting.  If there wasn’t, there would be no need to thicken the line, to defend, or to pick sides.

Emotional health makes shadowy lines disappear.  It takes someone who has emotional health to be able to say their 3 C’s and still consider the internal and external milieu of others.  It takes someone who has done their self-care and put money in the bank; someone who has reserve built up that spills over into empathy.  We can’t emote empathically so well when we aren’t emotionally healthy.  The less of that, the more real the line becomes.  The less of that, the more precarious we are.

Gaining emotional health may take medication, exercise, sunlight, granola, grandma’s kisses and all sorts of things.  Each of us has to figure it out for our own selves and just do it.

Questions:  What do you think about this business of shadows, lines, and living cautiously?  When you have been healthiest, how have you been able to embrace both the 3 C’s and emote empathically at the same time?  Please tell me your story.