Love must help us to be ourselves

True union . . . doesn’t turn its respective participants into a blob, a drop dissolving into the ocean. Rather, it presses them mightily to become more and more themselves: to discover, trust, and fully inhabit their own depths. As these depths open, so does their capacity to love, to give-and-receive of themselves.—-Cynthia Bourgeault   from the thoughts of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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Real love, wants more than anything, for us to be truly ourselves. If the person we are with only want to mold us into someone else then we had best back away.

In my life I have known people who have created themselves to mesh perfectly with another person. They have submerged themselves and little of the true person is visible. Their ache for love is so great that they will do anything to get it. They will even betray themselves. The sad part is that they are not being loved for themselves but for the person they created.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears. Kahlil Gibran from The Prophet

Sometimes we want so much to be loved that we are willing to give up ourselves. This may seem ok for a while but eventually we will feel the strain of it. and end up know that is it not the right thing.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed, for love is sufficient unto love. Kahlil Gibran

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In any relationship we must love ourselves. We have to be able to accept who we are with all our warts and scars. Then with that love we can reach out to another person.

 

Wholeness: mind + body = wellness

feeling-sick

Today has been up and down. I realize I ran myself into the ground planning, traveling, cleaning etc to get ready for my husband’s surgery at Mayo. My immune system was bottomed out. So, after getting a cold while at Mayo, I ended up with a sinus infection and on antibiotics. I am someone who seldom gets sick and to say it unsettles me is an understatement.

I am worse than the parents of the children I saw when I worked for a group of pediatricians. The child would be put on antibiotics and the parent would call later that day saying he/she isn’t well yet. (completely true) I have been given an excellent treatment and I want to be well yesterday!

Feeling down and sick is not fun. I am not sure which is at the top but I guess it doesn’t matter.

There are so many people suffering with physical illness and coping beyond amazing. There are so many with mental illness who are also suffering and coping. My oldest daughter worked at a children’s hospital in a unit called “Adolescent Med-Psych.” That unit cared for teens who were having mental problems because of their physical problems or the reverse. They handled teens with diabetes who didn’t care for themselves, and anorexics with who had created physical problems from their diet. Some patients had severe mental illness that had led to physical problems. I don’t know how she worked there. The anguish of both teen and family must have been horrible. She loved her work.

Many of us don’t take care of ourselves. We let our emotional problems cause physical symptoms. Conversely, we can’t cope with the physical problems and let them move over into emotional problems.

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I think the coping skills for the two things are similar. We are whole. We are not a separate thing. Our minds and our bodies and forever connected. To flourish we need to care for both. The things that we do for our mental health help out physical health. We know that meditation, mindfulness, and managing stress have a powerful affect on our bodies. Keeping up with needed physical exams is also critical.

We need to continue to learn and use coping skills that work for us. Not everyone is the same. Keep testing and trying different things until you find what works for you. It will pay off in big benefits in the long run.

You are important

pused over the edgeLife can be difficult at times. It may not be one big thing but many little ones that push you over the edge. In fact for me that is usually the case. If there is a big crisis I seem to do well until it is over…then I crash. Many little things nibbling away at just push you closer and closer to the precipice.  You don’t notice it is happening until it is too late.

We want to be strong and able to handle the things that life brings but sometimes it is just not possible. When this happens I have to take a step back and realize that I am over the edge. It’s time to back away from the things that I can and handle only the most important. Sometimes I struggle to prioritize and don’t know which balls in the air to let fall. Sometimes some fall while I am not looking. It can’t be helped. None of us are Wonder Woman or Superman. We just aren’t.

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I spent much of my life trying to be all things to all people and the stress took it’s toll in anxiety, depression and physical symptoms. We have to learn that we are vulnerable too.

The sad part is that when you spend your time saving everyone you become expected to do it and sometimes you receive no thanks or appreciation. When you stop it is a tremendous shock and you may have some upset people.

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We have to set boundaries. I think our struggle with self worth is part of the reason we fall into this trap. The more secure we are with ourselves and our own self respect the more we can choose wisely. Logical decisions about what we can do are critical.

You are important. You are just as important as anyone else. You deserve to have pride, dignity and self regard. Don’t throw yourself away.

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.

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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.

Healing — a poem

I am reaching the point where I don’t know if I have shared this before but if so here it is again. This was written when my job at the church was ended.

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Healing

I have the healing in my hands

From the heart of God

I can choose to heal

Or hurt

 

The healing of God

Flows through me

Seeking hurt, pain, grief

To overcome

 

God is willing to allow

Me to direct the light

To those in need

Of it

 

Can I learn to use the light

To see the hurts

That are in others

And in me?

 

I know I want to heal others

For I see their hurts

Exposed by the light

Of God

 

For I direct the light

Outward to others

From the depths

Of my soul

 

But can I learn to direct

The light inside

To heal the pain

In me?

 

It is necessary to look inside to see our own pain. The pain we have experienced helps others.

Finding balance

Today, as usual, I was doing yard work. Maintaining the flower beds is an enormous job and it’s all mine. My husband takes care of the grass. The property was initially bought by my grandparents and left to me. It is on a tidal creek and we can swim from the dock. We allow some neighbors to use the dock with their son. They use paddle boards and have lots of fun.

yard workAs they were on the way to the dock today they passed me, sweat soaked, red faced, and dead tired. A while back my husband and I lived in their house. I commented “when I lived in your house I had fun! Now all I do is work in the yard.” It really hit me. I spoke the truth. I don’t swim off the dock…sit out and watch the water or just relax in the hammock. I just go out and do yard work.

I can’t afford to pay someone else to do the work as with a big space it would be very costly. So what do I do? Several times I have written about choosing how much you set for yourself to do but I am not doing it myself. My mother always said that the things you didn’t do would still be there when you got back from doing something fun. She was good at creating a balance.

happiness balance

Somehow I have to find that balance. I am tired and missing out on fun choices. Feeling pressured to work all the time is not the right thing. Life is too short for that. Balance is critical to wholeness and health.

Beware cultural cloning

Cultural cloning …levels human personality and deifies predictability. When this is the goal, diversity is no longer recognized as a strength in this culture. Sameness becomes the bottom line.  —–Michael Yaconelli in Dangerous Wonder

Are we headed in this direction? It seems that we are but I really hope not. Are we destined to be identical robots? Will we lose the ability to think for ourselves?

1984Just picturing us all being the same reminds me of 1984 and Soylent Green. If anyone thought for themselves they were corrected…that is reprogrammed. In a society such as this anyone with any kind of mental disorder would either be reprogrammed and if this was not successful, eliminated. Aberrance would not be tolerated. Most of us who express our opinions on blogs would be done away with.

And yet, it seems to be that the function of society at this moment appears more likely to create people with emotional distress. The more we separate ourselves from each other the more our mental stability is at risk. We are humans who need others to thrive. Isolation causes emotional distress. We are communal in nature.

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I have noticed there are two types of people. Probably related to introverts and extroverts (but not entirely). Some of us feel better if we can share our emotional distress with someone else. Usually with someone we trust deeply. Then there are those for whom sharing makes things worse. They may have had a bad experience with this in the past. I feel better for sharing.

This is the beauty of these blogs. Even those who feel insecure sharing can share in a community of understanding. It has been a blessing for me to be able to share my anxieties in this format and find support, positive feedback and understanding. I know that occasionally someone will respond in a negative post but I hope that is the exception.

Mental disorders are difficult to cope with and just as difficult to share. Too often the response of the public is one of disdain or, at the least, not understanding. Understanding comes from those who have experienced similar things in their lives. Helping others by sharing is a gift.

God willing there will be no human robots.