The Growing Process Shifts From Shame and Fear to Friendship

Hello Friends.  Tonight ends our pilot run of the self-care workshop series.  Whoop!  Thank you for your support.  Very much.  The growing process, when in the company that we have here, shifts the experience form one of fear and shame to one of …well this:  friendship, with you and with our own selves.

One of our participants was kind enough to send me his recap,

Some of the points that were most important to me were:

  1. Going toward our temperament/the languages we use,
  2. Invest in your bank,
  3. Going against your intuition,
  4. The energy balance as illustrated by the triangle diagram,
  5. It doesn’t always feel good to perform self-care.
  6. categories in the bio…model and how they interrelate, i.e. biopsychosocial model.  (Smile.)

Pretty good! Huh?

This was written after our second week.  After tonight, we can add,

  1. Accountability for our flawed self doesn’t mean blame or fault.
  2. Our flaws become part of our opportunity for growth and personal presence.
  3. Self-awareness is a tool for,
  1. Understanding our agendas,
  2. Bettering our sense of presence,
  3. Freedom that is ours independent of our effort, morals, or any human quality
  4. A freedom that we want to fight for with everything we’ve got to preserve.  I.e., a freedom we can lose.
  • Using the biospychosocial model as a tool for,
    1. Understanding where our emotions and behaviors are coming from
    2. Understanding where emotions and behaviors of others are coming from – such as STIGMA

    I wish I had another summary from one of our participants rather than my own.  I can make this so much more complicated than it is!  I am learning.  I am flawed.  I am accountable.  I am not blamed.  I am in the company of friends, including myself!  Whoop!

    If I get another summary though from “someone,” I’ll pass it on for your perusal and comments.

    Again, thank you and until tomorrow…!  Keep on.

    Me! Where Emotions and Behaviors Come From

    steps 15

    Image by Erik - parked in Cairo these days via Flickr

    We are doing a narrative series on understanding where emotions and behaviors come from:

    1. Emotions Are Contagious – Emotions shared
    2. Our own Emotional Junk – Emotions hidden
    3. Positive Emotions and Behaviors are Contagious Too 
    4. Our Conscious Self is Our Board and Paddle at Sea – Small conscious self and BIG unconscious self
    5. Biopsychosocial Model – Biological, Psychological, Social selves
    6. Me!  (Today’s Post)

    What we have covered so far in our series is that we know emotions are contagious.  We know that if we take care of our own first, we might not be as “susceptible” to negative “contagion” in turn and perhaps, be more available to giving and receiving positive “emotion-contagion.”  Further, we hope that if we do this, we might be able to choose to be with people we love even if they don’t do their own self-care.  We can have that connection without personalizing what isn’t about us.  Sigh.  That is nice, isn’t it?  Then …out at sea (away from our narrative for a day,) we talked about the pleasure in engaging with what bits of biology are directly available to us and the relationship we maintain with the big expanse of our unconscious biology.  Yesterday we reviewed our biopsychosocial model as a tool for further understanding where our emotions and behaviors come from.

    Self-Care Tip #272 – If you are ever unsure about where your emotions and behaviors are coming from, it is always safe and true enough to say, “Me.”

    Where do emotions and behaviors come from?

    Me.

    For example:  Me <–> Emotions Shared <–> Me <–> Emotions Hidden <–> Me <–> small conscious self and BIG unconscious self <–> Me <–> Biological, Psychological, Social selves <–> Me… round and round, starting and ending and starting with Me.

    Rob and Yesenia were both breathing hard.  Rob was pale and Yesenia flushed.  Where to start?  With Me.  This is what I shared with them both.

    Put your spouse down and take three steps back!  Own your own self.  Take care of your own self.  In the process, you will be able to pick each other up again and share love.

    Questions:  What are you holding, carrying, using to explain where your emotions and behaviors come from?  How have you been able to put those down and hold yourself?  Please tell me your story.

    Give Yourself Over to Connection In Your Good-Bye

    Michael Scott (The Office)

    Image via Wikipedia

    Hello folks.  Just cried my eyes out watching the well-developed character of Michael Scott close out his work at The Office.  What is it that moved me so much?  The connection.  Michael Scott, played by the talented Steve Carol, ended his performance with the question,

    They say that at your death-bed you’re never going to wish you spent more time at the office.  Not me.  I’m going to wish I had more….  Who are the people you work with?  Your very best friends in the world.

    I could barely breath at this point.  Pile of tissues on the table.  My stunned husband letting me blubber goo on his shirt.  He asked,

    What is it that you liked so much?

    Only my husband would ask what I liked in the middle of a good cry.  He knows that crying doesn’t mean I don’t like what’s happening.  He knows my twisted ways.  Connection is lovely enough to like, miraculous enough to marvel over, worthy enough to lose my cool over.  It is after all one of our favorite topics here at FriendtoYourself.com.  It is after all what you and I have shared, working so hard for, spending hours every day writing or whatever it is that each of us do to grow that fragile yet strong wonder of humankind – connection.  This bit of self-care follows us into heaven, or leads. Who knows, follow and lead, when we are connected.

    Within the friendly grip of connection, in this marvelous episode, we see that good-byes might bring us even closer together.  I see this all the time in crisis settings, hospitals, illnesses, pending closures to something that was loved.  The closure draws us closer into what good the connection had offered us.  To improve what we had previously thought was so good that it was beyond improving.  To draw forth, our greater selves.

    Self-Care Tip #  – Give yourself over to the miracle of connection in all your good-bye’s.

    Questions:  What makes connection part of self-care?  How have you been a better friend to yourself by the influence of connections?

    Go Toward The Pain To Get Connected

    dailymail.co.uk

    Audrey came in looking fresh.  Better than before for sure.  She had an aura that brought to mind the moment just when tearing off wrapping paper.  It was nice to see her.

    I am doing better.  I’m able to let more of the little things go, like the house doesn’t bother me as much when it’s not clean.

    She was more able to do self-care with less forethought.  What did take her by surprise though, was her guilt.  She could see that it was inappropriate but insight didn’t entirely remove what shouldn’t be there.  She said these thoughts and feelings were something her husband likely never struggled with.  She didn’t think he was worried about her home doing dishes when he was at work.  However, the reverse for her was true.  She gave a coughing laugh.

    I do!  I feel bad when he does the things.  It doesn’t make sense.  If he wasn’t washing dishes when I was working he’d just be watching TV.  But I still feel bad.

    For her, working her job, taking her jogs, and attending Mommy groups were all in a grey category of “extras” for life.  Not necessary but bonuses she was spending their retirement on.  However, despite this, she looked the champion she was when saying,

    I still am able to take care of myself.  Even though those thoughts come.

    Audrey, by thinking about, talking about, and materially man-handling these thoughts, she was able to join her personal journey.  These things became connecting forces in her life.  They drew her closer to her family and not away.  Resentment dissipated and she was able to take part in her available positive emotions and thoughts.

    It could have been different.  It had been different at other times, before medications and other positive deliberate choices in her life.  But it wasn’t now.  The could-have-beens trickled away together, the other near misses that sometimes we know about and sometimes we don’t.  There they go…

    Going toward the pain in life, not averting from it, is a connecting force in our lives.

    Question:  What have you been avoiding?  What has it done for you when you went toward the pain?  Please tell me your story.

    Self-Care Tip #124 – Go toward the pain to feel connected.  Be a friend to yourself.

    Are You a Victim or What?!

     

     

    Number Two of Bella’s List – victim or what!?:

    Last night I took my 5 year-old daughter on a sleep-over date at a hotel.  Generous I thought …and boy was it!  To me!!  I couldn’t believe how much fun I had.  I quickly realized why I had done this.

    A bit of me still wants to float away on wings of the modern-martyred-Mom, and I can, because it did take a lot of time and money and energy and….  But it’s not too friendly to me.  As attractive as that flight may seem, I’ll lose air at some point and take a big fall.  Ouch.  I might fall on my kid too which is against my intuitive effort here.

    Being a victim is attractive at some level, no?  My story is a softer example, but we all have tougher ones.  Like Bella’s when “she spoke of her injury.”  The gravity of her injury was created by her perception of things.  Our perception makes our emotional success.  My story about last night with my daughter sounds pretty because that’s how I perceived it.  However, I have other stories that have negative power over me as Bella’s had on her and as yours have on you.

    The key here is that when we take the victim role, we aren’t just telling our story or venting.  We are feeling self-pity. But venting is not necessarily self-victimization.  Venting can be healthy.  Venting can be done without taking a victim air-bus to no-where good.  Venting can be a way of being present in your suffering, of going where the pain is and letting it lose power over you.  Self-pity only gives the suffering more power.

    The great novelist and philosopher, David Foster Wallace, who courageously lived and died with major depressive disorder, encouraged,

    To be just a little less arrogant. To have just a little critical awareness about myself and my certainties.

    The willingness to learn or grow is the foot-path away from victim-ville.  Could we even say that being a victim is “arrogant?”  We – Me, my patient Bella, you – have we taken steps to tell our story, to be present, to live with the humility it takes to look at ourselves and not escape/fly-away?

    Whatever it is you are going through, it might help to vent it!  Grow and learn and get bigger than that experience.

    Self-Care Tip #94 – Get in your own space to choose freedom from self-pity.  Be a friend to Yourself.

    Question:  What barriers have you felt to telling your story?  What has made it difficult to be in the space of your own feelings?  Please tell us.

    The Price of Manure

    In yesterday’s post I asked “What has happened in the space between you and the ones you love?”  A reader responded,

    Think of being loved but not being able to be touched. …Rituals above spontaneity. Of having Lysol applied to everything you touch. Lysol applied to children’s legs and shoes. Not being able to hug your kids after work until after a bath and your inside-clothes on. The tirades. Most things literal and not humorous. Any cabinet or freezer needing to be as stuffed as possible.
    As a young person it seemed very personal and hurtful. …All the lost years….  After all those years now on the mend.

    It doesn’t matter how old we are, it takes courage to live.  There are many astounding parts of this story, but today I draw attention to “the lost years.”

    I don’t know if any of you readers saw the episode last week from the musical comedy, Glee.  It irreverently tossed together a potato salad of high impact emotions.  (Delicious potato salad!)  The best part was as usual the great Jane Lynch.  That woman is brilliant.  She shows us anger, resentment, and personalization through spitting words.  She contrasts this against her thick velvet love for her older disabled sister. Sue Sylvester (Lynch’s on-screen character) has festered the insults she absorbed on her sister’s behalf, ever since she first realized her sister was different.  It was only until her sister, with a still-waters affect told Sue that she didn’t care what others said about her.  Her disabled sister was whole inside.  Sue started to heal too.

    Being present with our dark history, can summarily be our gain.  Especially if in the end we found love, became connected with our journey and with others, and forgave.  It becomes rather an education of sorts.

    When I was struggling with my ambivalence about vocational choices, my dad told me, “Education is never a loss.”  I plunged forward with that as a talisman.  

    Education is never a loss.  Even our school of suffering?  Look at it as a currency of sorts.  It’s all perspective.  Even manure helps you know.  We had to pay $100 the other day for a truckload of chicken-poo for our farm trees.

    Self Care Tip #73 – Find the value in your suffering.  Be a friend to yourself.

    Question:  Do you agree or not?  Please tell me your story.

    There is Room In Our Wanting Selves

    Having another child born, our hearts somehow open up and make more love, more space where things once seemed crowed up like hobos in a boxcar.  Our time and energy does that too.  Feeling like you can’t do another thing by 6 PM?  Feeling like watching TV on the couch is an accomplishment at that point?  I’m telling you that this changes.  Do what you want.  You may not realize it yet but you want something special.  You want something that you were designed to do.   When you discover what that is, activity becomes joyful, congruent with your inner self.  Somehow there is more room in your day.  More energy that comes with no strings attached.

    My husband just came home from a tech conference.  He was told by famous Silicon Valley junkies, while sitting in an audience of other wannabe’s, “Don’t do a startup.  You’ll fail.”  It was a secondary message that returned intermittently – unless you can’t sleep at night because you need to solve a problem – if you are trying to do a startup company for any other reason than for your own sanity, you won’t make it.  These people were doing what they were doing because they felt like it was their life’s nectar.  It was their pearl of great price.  Their efforts were fueled by their own genetic design.

    In medical school, I used to look around me confused by the obvious natural positive responses of other students.  I looked at myself and thought I was a fake.

    I looked at them and thought, “There’s the real thing.  I wonder what it feels to be the real thing.”  I know.  Sad huh?  Ah well.  Turns out I’m a flaming extrovert.  I get energy from being with people.  Being alone takes energy from me.  Wether it happens slowly or quickly, either way eventually I have to resurface and connect with someone to re-tank.  Every day when I sat down to study, I felt alone, energy sucked out of me, the ground was going to swallow me up.  And I did it still.  Ground through my long hours long enough to make it to where I belonged.  With you in psychiatry :).

    Here’s the news.  We are all “The real thing!”  Yah!  We have our own greatness.

    I’m not talking about opportunity to reach that greatness.  Some of that we are given and some of that we make.  I’m just ringing our bells with the idea.  If you want to read more about this, read the blog posts on temperaments.

    Question:  Are you doing what you want?  Please tell me your story.

    Self Care Tip #64 – There is room in your wanting self for more.  Be a friend to yourself.