If we are blessed we gain wisdom as we age. Sometimes those we encounter tap into that wisdom and are (hopefully) helped by it. I have been an extrovert my whole life and am always willing to share. (Sometimes both the person I share with and I wish it had never happened.) Wisdom is best imparted when asked for.
I have talked often on this blog about how much it means for us to share our experiences with each other. Professionals are important but sometimes good advice comes from those whose experiences are similar to ours. All advice must be weighed against our own experiences and our insight into ourselves. Don’t ever be afraid to speak up for yourself when in the presence of “professionals” who may or may not really understand. You are allowed to ask questions and take some time to consider. You are your best advocate.
When working in pediatrics I listened carefully to the mothers who came to us. Sometimes others don’t listen carefully enough and may miss important clues that make a big difference. Doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists hear so much that sometimes they can leap to the wrong conclusions. Don’t let them rush. (especially doctors) Make sure you have the time you need. If that doesn’t work for them find someone else.
You are important. Your thoughts and feelings are important. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
I love reading the stories about the “No 1 Ladies Detective Agency” by Alexander McCall Smith. Not only are the stories wonderful but there is enormous wisdom contained in each one. He writes about a time, in Botswana, when the “old ways” were being eroded by new ideas. The wisdom of the old culture is being replaced by less caring and courtesy….less connection with your “brothers and sisters.”
The loss of that kind of culture has been left behind a long time ago in my world. I am sure it is the result of many changes…..people leaving the land and moving to cities, not knowing your neighbors, having no relatives close by….etc. etc. It is unfortunate that this has happened. Things were not perfect in the past but I do think the world around me was more courteous.
My daughter spent time in Japan as an exchange student. She became aware of the courtesy of the people and their respect for others. Their world is also not perfect but I think living so close together has created an environment of an awareness of personal space and respect for others feelings. I hope that it is not eroding there also.
Courtesy is a gesture of kindness to others. Saying please and thank you are not outdated. Respecting others feelings shows caring. I see so many acts that express an attitude of thinking only of oneself. Cars drive in our neighborhood with radios blaring so loudly it surely damages the ears of the driver. People step ahead of you in line and glare at you when you seem surprised.
It has become quite common for cell phones to ring in places that are not appropriate. People answer their phones while eating with others ignoring those they are with.
I know I am seeing things from a different perspective but courtesy improves our environment. As the population grows we will be living even closer together. Will we end up hating each other for our attitudes or will we finally learn how much kindness matters?
Our society expects us to maintain a facade. We must never seem broken or fragile. Society sees this a weakness. Underneath all of that the reality is that it is frightening. If you are shattered maybe that will happen to me.
Think about how we greet people. “How are you? I’m fine.” We may be suffering but oh dear we better not share it. I have heard people respond “not okay” and the other person doesn’t even acknowledge what has been said. Too often we don’t want to hear it. It might draw us into the pain and suffering that we don’t want to see.
In truth, most of us are balanced on a precipice and feel that a little shove might push us over. We wouldn’t want anyone else to see this as that would diminish us in their eyes.
Most of my life people have sought me out to share their fears and their pain. I don’t think I am at all special. It is because I have never hidden my own wounds and am willing to open myself to others. I’m not sure why I am this way but it is who I am. Being this way is not always comfortable but it has given me the opportunity to show compassion and love.
Never be afraid to share your true self. Some will turn away but it is their own fears that cause that. Showing others how you have learned and continue to move on will give them hope.
Finally got to a computer at my daughter’s house. I can’t blame them it is my own relaxation that has stopped me from writing. It is nice to take a break.
I have been doing a lot of reading and just being. Spending time with this family is a boost in intellectual conversation and different foods. My son-in-law is a great chef and we have been indulging.
It has also been time to consider my life in the scheme of things and I am mostly content with where I am. Sometimes there is that nudge to stretch out and do something more but my sense is that what I have is enough. Overextending can leave us with not energy. Then our ability to be creative is stifled. I have had to wean myself from some of my former passions and learn to be comfortable with where I am.
This is a difficult thing to do. There is always the pull wanting to go back but different times in live require different things of us. It is so tricky to discern what is called for. Life always throws us curves and makes us take a few steps back and reevaluate.
One of life’s challenges is knowing what is called for at each stage of our life. To do that we have to take a hard look at where we have been and where we need to go. Sometimes we don’t want to take the time to do that processing and we end up in a quandary. We can be too hard on ourselves.
We must spend time “centering down” and living with quiet. it is crucial to our well being.
My husband has taught me over the years some comments that he lives by. One of my favorites is “there is always a solution…it may not be the one you envisioned or wanted but there is one.”
I have so often found this to be true. Sometimes the idea that we have can’t be done the ordinary way. We don’t need to give up but be willing to search until we come up with something else that will work. This kind of thinking has lead me to be creative in my solutions and come up with ideas that I might not have found before. It helps me to not give up.
Over the years I have seen my husband (a structural engineer) receive awards for buildings that he was told “it can’t be done that way.” He does it. It works and stands the test of time.
I know that over the years he has learned things from me too. I am a people person and am astute at judging motives and at nudging out the truth. People usually open up to me. I am absolutely no good at math and engineering. I have always been the literature/psychology person.
When I was young I wanted to be a nurse but thought I couldn’t get through the science part to get to the people part. My first college degree was History/Music. Later in life I made up my mind to defy my fears and sturdy nursing. I found out I could do the science since I love learning about human anatomy, diseases and how to help those with problems related to them.
My people skills led to living the last 20 years of my career as a parish nurse. This brought all of my experience, skills and faith and wrapped them up in one package. It was an amazing experience.
I always tell young people to not worry if they don’t know their passion or their path right away. Just leap out and do something. You have time to do many things and pursue many ideas in your life. Never give up exploring. Something you thought early on may change with time and experience. It is never too late to make changes if you have the desire and the drive to do it. As my husband’s quote says there always is a solution. It may not be the first one you find. Jut keep on and try different things until it works!
Life is uncertain; in the end we control only a single thing: our own thoughts.From the book “Pandemic”
While reading the book this jumped out at me. It is so true. There is very little that we can control and sometimes we have trouble controlling our thoughts. And yet, it is one of the things we most need to learn. Our thoughts can take us on a wonderful journey or send us into the deepest depths.
For those who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, bipolar etc. it transpires daily. Our thoughts control how we feel. Sometimes the problem can begin with a trigger such as stress caused by the life we deal with or by physical issues such as IBS. Whatever sets off the thoughts can bring us down in a minute.
Most of the coping mechanisms we learn have to do with changing those thoughts. If only it were easy. We can learn the coping skills but we have to use them for them to work. This means making them become habits and that is the hard part.
Whatever helps you to override the thoughts that bring you down work hard to have it become natural as breathing. It is a struggle but one that is worth the effort.
Never give up on finding and using what helps you calm those errant thoughts!