Unkindness

This week I have heard two stories of people being deliberately unkind. In both instances it was totally uncalled for. It is amazing to me how mean ad hurtful some people can be. In one case the person hurt made no response. In the other the hurt was brought to the attention of the person with not a smidgen of remorse or acknowledgement that anything was said that hurt.

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How do we handle this kind of person? It totally depends on the situation. Unfortunately, in both of these cases there was no ability to dismiss the person and just stay away from them. The one person tried to deal with it and since it is a work situation will not be able to do anything until later.

The second one is dealing with family. Both of these people do not have the option to just walk away. That would certainly be the best choice.

Being unkind in return just exacerbates the situation. It is better to state your feelings in a calm and simple way and move on

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At my age I seldom tolerate those who behave in this way. I will either stay away from them after voicing my thoughts….quietly but with conviction….or if family point out the hurt and hope that they see. Sometimes I choose to speak to spare a family member from being the one in the cross fire. As we get older it is easier to absorb the fall out.

We do not have to continue to be hurt over and over. People who are this unkind are usually unhappy themselves. Their behavior is often the result of being hurt in the past. However, we don’t have to put up with it. Sparing ourselves is important to our health and well-being.

The mystics

I love the mystics. Not just the Christian ones but any of them. BuddhaJalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, Joan of Arc, Julian of Norwich, Hildegard von Bingen, Confucius are just some of them. They are so focused. They spend time connecting with everything beyond themselves. Their understanding about what really matters is clear.

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I wish that I spent the time in meditation and silence that would bring me even a little closer to their link with “everything.” To be so synced with the universe and our role in it would be wonderful.

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I have experienced small amounts of this in the past and want to connect again. It is so hard to disconnect with everything going on around me. I continue to try and hope that I can find this kind of connection again. I will need to push to maintain a schedule until it becomes a habit.

Choose life

It is difficult to face each day thinking that whatever chronic problem you have will never change. Yet, there are people who do and live fully each day. Their “fully” may not look like yours and mine but for them it is enough.

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How do we learn to live in the “enough?” I do wonder. Could I do it? I don’t know and I have to say I don’t want to find out. Maybe the stressors that have been present in my life would have swamped someone else. Maybe each of us can best manage our own problems. I have mentioned before that at a conference the leader asked everyone to write their biggest and most pressing problem on a sheet of paper. Those were passed forward and put in a jar. She then asked if anyone would like to come and draw one out and take it on. There were no takers.

Our expectations of life can be so extravagant and unreasonable. I know that those who grew up in problem homes may not have seen things that way but many of us did. We want everything to go exactly the way we want. We don’t look for life to knock us down. When I grew up with IBSD I thought it was normal. In those days people didn’t talk about it. For that reason I just accepted it and moved on with my life. Fortunately, I had some breathers between episodes so I coped pretty well. I just battled through when it caused anxiety and depression. I guess in some ways ignorance was bliss.

I know so many people who are living with issues that seem insurmountable to me. I think I would be crushed by them but they are living each day. On Word Press I read someone who has ALS and writes about his faith and love for his family. I used to visit a lady who had lived her whole life with Cerebral Palsy, in an electric wheel chair. Part of it was spent in a nursing home as a young adult. (imagine having to live with only the elderly for company in your youth) She was able to live in an apartment after changes were made in disability coverage. She was always cheerful and grateful for her life.

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It is people like them who help us to see that life is about choices. Will I choose to live a life of “poor me” or one that is grateful for each day no matter how difficult. We are entitled to get down but not to stay there. We have to learn to continue learning, being grateful for life, coping and growing.

 

Saving from pain

When my mother died and then my aunt a year later I was tasked with cleaning out their homes. This was not an easy task. Not only were there things that hadn’t been seen in many years but also things that brought back memories and tears. This was back around 2003-2004. I still remember the agony of that job.

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For this reason I am trying, little by little, to make cleaning out my things easier on my family. I have written about getting rid of things but this is the underlying reason. I am moving slowly but making progress. This is another thing that strangely enough is on my bucket list. I know, this is not a fun thing but it matters to me.

Little by little, bit by bit I am going through papers and personal items. Many things can be discarded but others need to have a place, with explanations, where they are kept. I hope I don’t die soon as this may take me until my death to do. For my children’s sake I hope not. For me this is not a macabre task but a loving one.

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It seems that we spend the first half of live accumulating things, the next quarter enjoying them and the last quarter letting them go.

Each part of life has its demands. Too many people leave a huge disaster for others to clean up. I hope I can do better than that.

We are connected to the earth

In coastal Georgia, where I live, we have 7-8 ft tides. There is nowhere else along the southern coast where there is such a fluctuation. It is because of the westward dip in the coast. Today we had extremely high tides. I have not heard how high but such tides cause some coastal flooding on roads that are extremely low. It is not unusual for this to happen on a full moon and at this time of the year.

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When the tide is so high that we can only see a little marsh grass peeking out across Turner’s Creek we know it is well above normal.

Tide has an ebb and flow. It is related to motion of the earth. As human beings we also have an ebb and flow. The fluids within the cells in our bodies actually respond to the cycles of the moon and the motion of the tides.

Years ago my youngest daughter wrote a paper about the moon, tides and the increase/decrease of episodes of crisis in those with mental illness. She studied the admissions to psychiatric units and correlated it with moon and tide phases. it was a small study and not really enough to prove the relationship but there was an increase in admissions related to certain moon phases.

Nurses have forever said that hospital admissions, births and accidents have that same relationship although statistically it never shows up that way. As a neonatal nurse we usually saw more babies with problems at a full moon.

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I do wonder if we kept track of the times we ourselves have difficulty with mental health flare ups we would see some correlation. It would be interesting to know. It would help us to better understand the cycles of crisis and plan to be ahead of the curve.

 

 

What ifs

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It is so easy to fall into thinking that we can control outcomes in life. When things don’t work the way we want we start with the “What ifs.” If I had only finished something at work faster, if I had only been nicer, if I had turned left instead of right. Depending on the situation we can blame ourselves for what happened. We can also blame someone or something else. One way leaves us feeling guilty and the other way exonerates us but leaves us angry and wanting to lay blame on someone.

responsibleThere is also the problem of responsibility. Some families have solved their children’s mistakes so many times that the child has no sense of responsibility for their actions. They have not suffered any consequences. Unfortunately, we need to be held accountable early on in life or when something happens that can’t be fixed then the result can be devastating.

 

Life is unpredictable. When we are truly at fault we need to take responsibility but we can’t take on guilt for the vagaries of the world. Knowing the difference between these two is a critical life skill.

When situations arise take a hard look and sift through what happened. Learn to use some perspective and don’t take on things that are uncontrollable. Don’t lose yourself in the “what ifs.”

24 hours to rant

status-quoI have been thinking about the words “status quo.” There are many people who struggle against change of any kind. They fight for things to remain the same. The problem is that things never stay the same no matter what.

The one thing we can count on is that things will change. Sometimes that change is for the better, sometimes not. One of the greatest lessons we can learn is how to cope with change.

Recently I have used the term “new normal.” This is how I describe the pattern that is present in my life at the moment. I hope that this pattern will hang on for a while. Patterns give me peace. But I can surely count that, at some time, everything will change again.

pity partyCoping with change is one of the critical lessons we can learn. The ability to let go of our previous “normal” and move on to another has a lot to do with our state of mind. For those of us who battle anxiety change is a trigger word. It can send our whole world into a tailspin. Coping mechanisms for dealing with change are a must. I have a friend who says that when change happens that is negative we are entitled to fuss, fume, and cry about it…..for 24 hours. I have found this works. Just being able to rant for a while seems to get some of the frustration out and it helps me to move forward. I may be having a pity party alone or with someone…it doesn’t matter. It helps either way. There is a positive to venting. Let all those feelings out! Then move on.

When change comes use all the coping skills in your arsenal to overcome fear and anxiety.  It can be done!