Our Feelings Begin and End With Me. We Are Not Victims.

Freedom is useless....

Image by rAmmoRRison via Flickr

Self-Care Tip #245 – Our feelings begin and end with Me.

Are we victims of victims?  I know I blame people and am not above a good rant on all the why’s “I feel this way!”….  However, the cleanest air I’ve ever breathed is when I’ve stepped out of that space and started naming myself responsible for my own feelings.

Slavery comes in many ways.  Thinking about being a slave by our own design is an odd twist but choosing the victim role does it.  Choosing freedom to self-care is liberation by the same government.  This is a cornerstone of understanding the “Five W’s and One H” of self-care.

Victims also generate victims not only of themselves but also of others.  Somehow the emotions, heavy, immobilizing, irritable, angry, coming off of the person in the victim role are absorbed by others if those others aren’t seriously insightful and vigilant against them.  Considering this, we can understand the difficulty of being present, in the moment and not either running away or trying to change the person in the victim role.  (Remember the 3 C’s?)  Anyone porous to them is at risk.  Too often, we all find ourselves pointing, pounding, pity-party preaching victims – none of us naming ourselves responsible for our own feelings.

We know that we are more prone to personalizing things when we suffer different emotional illnesses.  In this case, we can’t help but catch the familiar features of depression.  There are other illnesses of course with these symptoms, but an irritable depression is one of the most difficult to endure for all parties. Sometimes, simply gaining insight into our coping skills can make us better friends to ourselves.  That is such a relief.

Too often however, being the victim is not fully under our control.  Too often being the victim is a symptom of the disease process that came without an invitation.  Also, just as often or more, the person in the victim role doesn’t have insight into any of these aspects – their choice into slavery, their influence on others, their medical condition generating these symptoms or their options to gain healing.

I could easily tell you a number of word-pictures, maybe describing the before or after treatment, maybe letter-layering the innumerable ripples that self-care made on the world after treatment or maybe I will more easily just not.  All these stories bring me, at this late hour of our week, too close to those contagious emotions and I’d just rather not.  Maybe you’d like to share though?


  • When you started owning your feelings for things that you never thought had anything to do with you, what were your thoughts?  How did it ripple out of you and affect others?
  • What do you see at the cornerstones of self-care?
  • Please tell us your story!

Sharing Will Take You Out of Isolation

Flowers for Valentine's Day

Image by Steve Rhodes via Flickr

Self-Care Tip #180 – Sharing will take you out of isolation.  Be a friend to yourself.

If Valentine’s is about Love, today felt like Valentine’s Day to me.  Your support, my friends, came to me like bouquets of home-grown roses, lilies, daisy’s and bird-of-paradise.  You swept me up and carried me over a threshold of something I didn’t want to cross alone.  Thank you.

Carl, dear Carl, is always surprising us.  He told us yesterday about his own amazing dad and then said,

I can truly say I know how you feel.

Even though much of this feels unique to me, I know it is not.  Pain is not unique.  It is our choice to experience it alone or in community.  I choose you.  Thank you for choosing back.  Thank you for my flowers.

Mom has always been a fierce lover of flowers.  She arranges them dramatically and gives them out, believing that their beauty is enough for now.  She never worries about when she won’t have any.  I actually don’t ever remember Mom without them.  She just can’t stay away.  Either she goes where they are, or they seem to some how follow her.  Sounds like story fodder but it’s true.  She will be one of the loveliest in heaven, just because she was designed to be.  I can’t imagine all that Mom will learn on beauty through an existence disconnected from time.  I’ll know where to go when I want to gather some for you.

Mom goes to see Dad every day.  She’s usually wearing something shiny or bright or both.  Dad’s hospital room is in full bloom and there is always food for nurses or visitors.  This is how Mom does her fighting for Dad.  Through beauty.  Not bad, huh?  She washes him every day so she can spare him as many further humiliations that come with illness.  He is lotioned up; more able to receive than he ever is outside of the hospital.  In their own way, he and she give to each other like that.  I’ve seen Dad cry and Mom just push aside the tubing and get in beside him on his electric bed.  In the hospital, a lot can happen.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and Dad said,

Well, I guess I’ll just have to let this one pass.

But if Valentine’s is about Love, he doesn’t have to worry too much.

Since round high school, Dad has told me that I have to sing some day at his funeral, “The Only Thing I Want Is To Be With Jesus,” By Joni Eareckson Tada.  I am sure I never will but he refuses to believe it.

The only thing I want is to be with Jesus.  Just to see Him smile and say well done, what a day that’s gonna be.  I want to feel His strong and Loving arms just hold me to His side, and to be with Him, throughout eternity.  Just to be with Him is heaven enough for me.

My seven year old asked the other day,

Mommy, will Papa be alive when I have kids?

I told Dad and he laughed.  He’s an easy laugh.

That’s a really good question.  What a mind.

Dad has almost died about a zillion times and it’s easy to feel like he will live forever.  All I know is that if he keeps putting me through this, I’ll need you there to take me out of the isolation and remind me that none of us have been chosen to be alone.

Question:  How has pain been a connecting force in your life?  What has helped you share what seemed impossible at once to let outside of yourself?  Please tell me your story.