A letter to my grandchildren #2

I have been thinking about what bits of wisdom I want to pass on. Can I say anything that will matter to you? Will you be willing to listen? Years of life do teach us things that we wish we had know earlier. These thoughts are simple ones.

Enjoy what you have and not what you don’t have.

Enjoy-Where-You-AreIt is so easy to focus on the things we want. They may not even be things we need but just things we think we should have. If we have a place to call home a bed to sleep in and enough to eat we have enough. Don’t struggle to keep up with other people. They don’ really matter. Instead be grateful every day for your life and health. If you have people in your life that you love and who love you ….you are blessed. Thank God every day for them. Show them that you appreciate them. Life is short and they may be gone before you can blink an eye.

Appreciate the moment

Live-in-the-moment

Every moment is precious. Even the ones that aren’t so good. Don’t just let them slip by but store them away in your memory. They won’t come again. Remember we only have NOW. Tomorrow is a day away and yesterday is gone.

 

Find the good in everything

never-all-bad

Watch the movie Pollyanna and absorb her philosophy. We can find good even in the bad things. Some good can always be found. Don’t spend time bemoaning the negative. It just makes you miserable and who wants that. If you must express your sorrow, frustration or anger give yourself 24 hours for a “pity party”and then move on. You earned some time to fuss about your fate but after that get up and go on. Just being alive is a gift so appreciate it.

Don’t regret what you can’t fix.

cant fix everything

 

If you did something that you are sorry for do what you can to fix it and then let it go. To hang on to guilt does nothing to help. Some things in life just can’t be fixed. Remember that. The only thing you will do is to frustrate yourself. Let it go.

 

 

Get a decent meal and a good night’s sleep.

et well

Some food in your stomach and some sleep to rest your mind can change your attitude and your approach to things. Things tend to look different in the daylight. Worrying doesn’t help so have a good night and be ready to tackle the next day. Remember, all things pass….for good or ill. Perspective is everything.

Love, your grandmother

 

Is the fear real?

fearFor those of us who suffer from anxiety I am sure that we realize that anxiety is fear. I’m not sure that we can identify the fear….or put a name to it. Maybe if we could do that we could conquer it..and that is the trick….learning how to conquer it.

All the coping skills that we learn are ways to shove the fear away and replace it with calm and resolve. When fear raises its ugly head we react with the flight or fight response. Our body is ready to go into battle. As most of us know, there is no battle looming. Only the one with ourselves.

success

Like those with PTSD too much adrenaline is coursing through us and our heart rate increases, alertness heightens, and we are hyper and fearful. We know it is anxiety and too often related to nothing threatening but there we are.

I wonder if we could stop and identify the specific fear it would help. Maybe just taking a good look at our worst thoughts would help us to be more realistic. Most of the time the bridge we are trying to cross is never coming.

fear mandela

I think I will add this to my list of coping skills to see if I can identify the threat and thereby defuse it. It really would be nice if this can be another skill to add to the arsenal.

Why?

whyWe are always asking questions about life? The problem is there are so few answers. At least not ones that make any sense to us. We want to know what life is all about. We want to understand. We just get more questions.

Sometimes not knowing spirals into a feeling that we don’t really matter. We do matter. Believe it! Just because we can’t answer the question of why we are here? Just because we feel we have no purpose doesn’t mean we are not meaningful in this world.

There are people who think they have the answers. Sometimes those answers seem right and we grasp them only to see them slip away as we grow and learn.

We don’t need the answers. We have to understand that just letting the questions be is ok. Life is unpredictable and we may not have answers. Sometimes is is hard to live with this reality. We want to know…why am I sick? Why do I have mental illness? Why did the child die? It is hard for us that there aren’t answers. It would be so much easier.

Maybe someday we will know but for today we just need to live each day and know that we are important, we matter and we are meaningful.

if-you-live-the-questions-life-will-move-you-into-answers-quote-1

Poem: Why?

We ask the question why?

Why are we here?

Where did we come from?

Where are we going?

 

So many question

but no answers

and there won’t be any

 

And yet

we must live in

the uncertain

the unpredictable

 

Meaning escapes us

not knowing

always searching

 

somehow

we need to grasp

the search is enough

the questions

form our lives

 

How we live the

questions

tells us

who we are

 

do you live

into answers

that have no

meaning?

 

or do you

continue to

live the questions?

We have to keep on!

stress level imageToday has been a little hangover from the stress of IBSD yesterday. I am better but have not totally let go of the anxiety. It is incredible how it can get a hold on you and not want to let go. It truly takes positive action on my part to continue to push it away. Sometimes I think how silly it is to let anxiety take control when there truly is nothing to be anxious about. We surely can make our own distress. Unfortunately, it is not under my control. I keep working at it and it is better than it was in the past.

stressed-stress-relax.jpgLife will always be up and down. That’s just the way it is. It’s how we handle it that counts. In spite of struggles we have to keep fighting! Giving up is not an option as none of us wants to live that way. Life is such a gift. We can’t miss it.

Be Yourself

quote-the-psychic-scars-caused-by-believing-that-you-are-ugly-leave-a-permanent-mark-on-your-joan-rivers-114-62-05

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.

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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.

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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.

Learn to enjoy who you are!

OOPS!

oopsIt is amazing to me how closely linked my anxiety is to my IBSD. There is a connected pathway between the two. It goes both ways. For the last few days I was really stupid and didn’t take some of my medicines.  The results were what you would expect. I ended up with a bad episode. It’s what happens when you get disorganized and don’t follow your regimen. Now I’m suffering for it.

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It shows how life goes along just fine and then we ignore what we need and we bear the results. I know there are people who don’t deal with issues such as this but no one is perfect and they have other things to deal with. Life is never perfect and we would be bored to death if it were. It would be like living in Pleasantville (old movie). Nothing changed and life was desperately ordinary.

pleasantville1a_756_426_81_s

Sometimes it is hard to cope with the things that plague us but most of the time I can see other problems that I wouldn’t want. I once went to a lecture where the presenter asked everyone to write their biggest problem on a piece of paper and pass it to the front. She then asked who wanted to come up and take someone else’s problem. No one did. Like it or not we have a relationship with ourselves and have developed the coping skills to mitigate our health issues.

Each of us has the life we have been given and our purpose is to make the best of it that we can. This means continuing to learn, grow and live!

Learning to see yourself

It is really sad that our culture wants to find ways to put people down. They are too fat, too thin, too poor, strangely enough- too rich, too sad, too ugly, too drunk all the time….I could go on and on. My experience over the years has been that those judgments are made to move the viewer up one notch…..”I am not that fat, thin, old, ugly….etc. By comparing myself with you I can make myself feel better. The actual problem lies with their own self esteem.

improve-self-esteem_03

We each want to feel good about ourselves and in some part it can be enhanced by how others see us. We all need positive affirmation. We especially need someone who can reflect our goodness back to us. We are communal people and yes,  we want others to like us.

Only someone who is totally secure in themselves can survive without affirmation. It is the rare person who can achieve that kind of security in themselves. (or someone who is a narcissist or a sociopath)

All of this is why we need to stay with those who support and uphold us. People who tear us down and are negative need to be let go. We don’t need that in our lives. Some people can seem to be supportive but are really undermining your self esteem in subtle ways. Beware of them. They are probably the most subversive and worm their way in by seeming kind. Turn away from them.

images (1)We grow and strive toward acceptance of ourselves and if we are blessed we achieve some achievement of that as we grow older. I almost think it takes age for us to realize our own worth and not depend so much on others. If we do it earlier we are rare.

 

Learning to understand and appreciate ourselves and our abilities is a lifelong journey. Each life lesson brings us closer. Keep learning and growing.