I love C.S. Lewis. I have read a great deal of what he has written. He has written so much beside the Chronicles of Narnia. Recently, when we were without power I re-read his other fiction series beginning with “Out of the Silent Planet.”
I could quote him every day but I want to focus on this one.
We all have a past. It may have been wonderful or it may be have been awful but it is the past. We can’t change it but we can let it go. Even if we are struggling the struggle will pay off. We are like the swan who looks so wonderful as she glides along and is paddling furiously under the water. Each thing that we do, every moment that we glide ahead takes us one step further even if we are paddling frantically.
We can change only the moment we are in. That’s as far as we can go. We need to not obsess about tomorrow but just manage this day, this hour, this minute. It’s all we have.
That quote from Joan Rivers seems to go a long way to explaining why she spent her life altering her appearance. For so many of us our view of ourselves is set by others. We see ourselves as others see us and not as we are. We can spend our whole lives wishing that we were different.
I doubt that any of believe we are perfect but in today’s society it would be easy to believe that you are ugly. The norm set for beautiful by fashion models is unreachable except by 13-16 yo’s. There are so many ads on media telling us what to do to be beautiful…use this face cream, wash with this soap, go to this plastic surgeon.
The truth is that the criteria set by society is not reality. None of us can live up to it and we can make ourselves miserable trying to change. Even the “beautiful people” have a history of being unhappy. It seems that no matter how you look there can be shadows underneath. Remember how many rich and famous people have committed suicide.
In my lifetime I have never thought myself beautiful. I was an awkward teen and as most girls I wished I was prettier. It took some time before I began to see the things that were good about me and they weren’t all physical. By the time I married and had children I was reasonably happy with myself. I felt able to “fit in.” Even though this felt good I think this is part of the problem. We want to fit in.
The thing is we don’t always need to fit in. We need to be ourselves. We have to learn to be the best at who we are. This requires accepting ourselves. This is not always easy. Many of us have things that set us apart from the norm. It could be appearance (being in a wheelchair, having a deformity, etc.) or it could be mental illness.
You are unique. There is nothing wrong with being who you are. Learn to be yourself! This is one of the most valuable lessons that you can attain. Accept who you are with all your warts and scars. Those things are what make you YOU. Don’t let others tell you anything different.
Everyone matters. It is so easy to dismiss people as not being worth our notice. I have frequently visited nursing homes with many patients in wheelchairs sitting the hall. I have noticed that most people pass them by without comment. It is as if they don’t exist. How terrible to be relegated to such a position. I have always made it a point to speak to each resident and smile. Most of them are so happy to have someone reach out to them and I receive lots of smiles in return.
I live in the South of the United States and there is a big difference just walking the streets of the town I live in. People routinely smile and speak as they pass on the street. The city has a large Art college with lots of students and it is easy to tell that some of them are startled when passers by speak. You can see them wondering whether to respond. I am not sure that this is routine in all southern cities but it is in many that I have visited. It is nice to acknowledge people and have them respond.
However many people do not speak to those who are obviously homeless. They choose to not acknowledge their existence. So even in a place where people routinely greet another person they still attach a stigma to those less fortunate. I do continue to speak to them and usually get a smile in return.
I can’t imagine what it must be like to feel as if you don’t exist. I know that has happened to many who suffer from mental illness. They certainly know what it feels like to be deliberately ignored.
I hope that we can learn to see each person as a human being deserving of being recognized. I wonder how thing would change if this were so.
I am finally coming to the end of being the administrator of my best friend’s will. She died 2 1/2 years ago. You do not want to die in the county she lived in. This was a simple will but the judge there made it a nightmare to get through.
Mr friend’s life was not easy. She had two boys and much later on a girl who was born with major heart defects. Life was never the same after that. It is so easy to concentrate on the sick child and not be able to manage the others. She and her husband struggled and some events caused one son to be sent away. The other developed an unforgiving mode and when hurt (which has happened several times…badly) is unable to let go of resentment and anger.
The saddest part of all is that the two men are unable to even be in the same room. The anger goes too deep and has been there too long. It hurts me to see this as one of them has no one else.
Holding on to anger and being unable to forgive does not hurt the person we are upset with. It only hurts us. Anger eats away at our insides and prevents us from being the person we could become.Not being able to forgive affects us emotionally and physically. Not only does it make us miserable but it changes us into a person unable to accept relationships easily if at all. My attempts to express reasonable alternatives has landed on deaf ears.
I pray for these two and hope that something will change over time.
I read the daily articles from Richard Rohr who is a wonderful source of inspiration for me. Today he quoted the works of Viktor Frankl who was a respected psychiatrist. Frankl talked about how most of us seek for meaning at some point in our lives. I know this has been true for me.
I have found myself at several points asking “what is it all about?”
Frankl posited three possible sources for meaning: in work, in love and in courage. He talks about the possibility of being able to do work that has some meaning. There are jobs where this seems obvious….doctors, nurses, social workers. (there are lots more) In other jobs meaning may not be so easy to find. I am sure that those of us writing blogs have found some meaning in the response we receive and the assurance that we are helping others. This is very affirming.
The second idea…love…also seems fairly clear. Hopefully our love reaches out to others. It allows us to help others in our everyday lives. Again this allows for meaningful affirmation.
The third idea….courage…means being courageous in difficult times. This certainly includes times of suffering. He says that suffering by itself has little meaning. The meaning comes from how we respond to it. We have the ability to use our suffering to be an example to others. Our response can encourage others who are facing the same kinds of challenges.
It seems to me that many of the bloggers I read can find affirmation that their lives have meaning as so many blogs help others. The community members need to see that this work can bring meaning to their lives. You are important!
By Dr. Perry, PhD “I believe people are afraid to be still because we’re used to being stimulated.” ~Michael W. Smith When was the last time you sat alone in silence without anything or anyone to distract you? For many of us, it is difficult to be alone without something to entertain us or to […]
My granddaughter has had me watching some episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. Usually not my thing. However, one episode really struck me. Two of the main characters have a way of dealing with stress that I found interesting. They “dance it out,” That idea doesn’t sound so silly to me. Making yourself put on some happy, butt moving music and just dancing however you want is not a bad idea. Especially if you can do it with someone else.
Maybe we all need to find someone that we can do this with. If there is no one just do it by yourself. I would really like to try it. I know that when I am cleaning house if I put on some dancing music I tend to get more done and I also feel good.
Let’s all get some happy dancing music and “dance it out.”
Recently I read an article that led me to explore another coping skill for managing stress. One of the things I have noticed about dealing with stress, anxiety and depression is the more we are able to step away in our minds helps. The ability to almost have an out of body experience allows us to look at things differently. We disassociate ourselves from the distress and are able to see it as outside of ourselves.
We seem to do it (when we can) without really understanding that it is what we are doing. I think if we can understand this process, and actually use it, more control is possible. I can imagine saying to myself “now just stand away…let this other person struggle you are separated from it.” I don’t see it as a true out of body experience but just the disconnecting of our mind from the immediate issue.
It does seem to have a relationship with things like taking a deep breath, or lowering your chi. I do think it goes one step further. Breathing can help to get us to that state. Take a deep breath and imagine yourself standing apart from all the problems. See your other self and let the feelings that are there be away from you.
This may all sound a little out there but I am adding this coping skill and will report on how well it works for me.
Understanding. A word that means so much. I think that each of us longs to be understood. I know that I do. Each of us is an individual. We have our own past, our own values, and our own lives. Many of us have issues with mental health. This makes it harder for people to “get it.”
The other problem is that most people (including us) don’t really listen. If we take the time to stop and really hear what someone is saying it makes all the difference. No one can be understood if they are not listened to.
Maybe that is why we do feel that we are heard on Word Press. If someone is reading what we have written no one is interrupting. When we are talking with someone that may not happen. Too often we spend time deciding what we will say next instead of hearing the other person. Maybe if we really listened then it will encourage someone else to really listen.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important.” ~ Ambrose Redmoon I went online today to do some research. I figured mainstream news feeds might have the data I sought. What an ugly mistake. For readers unaware, I don’t watch television/cable, nor do I read newspapers […]