Advocate for yourself

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.

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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.

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You are important. Your thoughts and feelings are important. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Kindness?

detectiveI 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.

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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.

Singa_the_Courtesy_LionI 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?

 

We all see differently

One day, a while back, I was at the beach and in the bright sunlight I happened to look at something with only one eye open. I saw the color of the object clearly. For some reason I closed that eye and looked through the other one. The object’s color was a different hue. It could still be called the same color but there was a remarkable difference. That’s when it hit me that not only do we each see color differently but our eyes can see things differently.

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None of us sees things in the same way. Each of us brings with us our lifetime of experiences. The things we have seen and been through have given us our own perspective. So how can I expect someone to grasp a problem in the same way that I do?

Years ago my husband and I went to marriage encounter. It is a wonderful program to enhance good marriages. We were taught a tool for getting closer to what someone else is feeling. It is hard to describe but is like bouncing back and forth “Does it feel like” until you find a common emotion to describe an event or issue.

For example I might say: does it feel like going to a friend’s funeral and the other person might respond no but it feels like your beloved dog died. I might then say I know what that feels like. It is frequently is a longer process but that is the idea. The whole things is based on discovering feelings.

I once knew someone who had great difficulty accepting a male image for God. I later found out she was abused by her father.

Getting to the root of someone’s feeling helps us to understand them. We can develop a bond with those who have suffered similar problems. That is why support groups work.

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Here on Word Press we find support from others who really understand. The community is important. Thank you to all those who share feelings openly and offer support and understanding. You are important!

Kindness heals

Today has been a better day. The hurt of yesterday has had time to be absorbed and put in its proper place. There is a difference between sadness and depression. Sadness is something for me usually comes from the outside and gets logged into its place. Depression hangs on.

sadness vs depression

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So, I will still feel that hurt but it will not push me into depression. It will just go its way in time. Thanks for the kind words that lifted me up.

Nightmare and grief

Do you dream? Do you remember what you dream? I dream a lot and I often remember the dream…at least for a while. The bad part is that sometimes I have nightmares. I had one last night. Mine are not about monsters chasing me or falling off a building. I wish they were. I could deal with that better.

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My nightmares have to do with trying to help my mother and my aunt. (both deceased) The dreams are sad and frustrating. I struggle to solve whatever is going on with no success. It makes me wonder if this is some leftover guilt for something I regret not doing for them. I cared for them in their last days and was with each of them when they died.

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As a part of grieving we tend to guilt ourselves for being human. Of course I have regrets but my care for them was the what I was able to do. I did all that I could. Sometimes we just can’t let it go. I remember crying hysterically in the dream ….so frustrated that nothing I tried worked.

Now wide awake I have to understand that grief comes in waves when we least expect it. This time it surfaced in my nightmare years after both of them died. It is still there and will crop up again. Loss becomes a scar but sometimes the scar hurts. That is normal.

Be there!

There are some things we can’t fix. I have written about this….I know this and yet I don’t want to accept it. My friend is in an untenable position. It is amazing how events can transpire in such a way that there is no way out.

No matter what we do sometimes life boxes us in and there are no good choices. Only ones that bring pain.

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Sometimes I wonder why some people seems to have more sadness and challenge in their lives that others. Is it because they deserve it….no, no, no. Sometimes the worst person has the best come to them and the best person gets the worst. We just want to yell at God and say NOT FAIR. But no one ever promised that things would be fair.

For me it seems at least sudden catastrophes can be gotten through. The long term, every single day, on and on things become an impossible burden. It is amazing to me how there are those who cope each day and go on. Think about the ALS patients (Lou Gehrigs Disease). Day after day…on and on.. each one failing a little more. Those that I have known have been amazing. Keeping faith and a positive perspective through it all. How do they do it?

Life is a precious thing and maybe just waking each morning makes it worthwhile. I can see that but what about the person for whom life has no meaning left, no joy? They may not know that dawn comes each day. How do the families face the next day? How do you manage when each day brings no change but only sameness?

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The only thing that I know to do is to be there in those times. There is nothing that can fix it but my presence may give some solace. This is what we must do. See around you the people who are in pain…emotional or physical. Reach out to them. Let them know that someone cares. You don’t have to know what to say. Just presence in enough.

Everyone has pain in life. Some immediate, some long lasting. Don’t forget to be there whether supporting them on Word Press or in person. Be there!

 

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!