What if you were curious, not harsh or judging, with yourself over your motives or choices, as you would be talking with your favorite author, or as gentle with yourself learning new things as you are with your niece or nephew or grand baby?
What if it’s a New Year and you could be your own best friend? When someone lets you down, or worse betrays you, take time – push the pause button, do three deep breaths and ask yourself “what do I need right now” to feel loved or safe or successful? Let’s try something NEW, skip the berating and raging or looping, and take some time for self care.
Maybe to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul, and strength and mind is taking that time to pause, let God’s unconditional, unfailing love wash over us – as we breathe deeply, in the moment. Then loving others as ourselves could be a creative action, as we have something fresh to offer.
The personality Dot is fascinating, as it seems to be the effort of our True Self to have a safe identity out in the world. Born into families and cultures with values, and certain behaviors and feelings that are affirmed, we as clever little tykes quickly figure how to get our needs met by developing certain identities. Below is a list of common identities we can use:
Why is understanding your Acting Identity important? Because even though you bring the gift of yourself somewhere in the role, there are automatic reactions from the chosen identity that keep you from really connecting to others and feeling the kind of joy we usually reserve for celebrations and special occasions.
For instance, if you are the Angry One you tend to attack and push your energy/opinions forward or if you’re the Easy Going One you may withhold/withdraw and even though these actions keep you safe in the short run, they don’t make for respectful connections that bring the sense of being understood and loved – because your heart is not open.
So a braveheart for the Angry One: take a deep breath (Holy Spirit time) and truly listen, or for the Easy Going One: take a deep breath (equally Holy Spirit time) and put some words out there. True actions open opportunities for true interactions, and love is found in that space between.
God – self – others
body – soul – spirit
nutrition – cognition – locomotion
past – present – future
There are so many connections in our lives, and many of them have three sides like a stable triangle or the ‘three legged stool of health’ my beloved grandpa use to rehearse with us – Sleep well, Eat right, Exercise. Bless his heart, he was onto something but the soul and spirit of the triangle didn’t get a mention and I wonder how that played into his struggle with depression…
Self care can seem overwhelming, especially as we age – things like sleep and stretching and good nutrition become necessities if we want to enjoy vim and vigor, chasing our midlife dreams and those grandbabies around. Increasing my exercise and decreasing my carbs has helped my energy, and recently I added hot water with lemon and raw honey to my mornings.
What self care routines nourish you?
There are people who listen and people who don’t, and then there are the folks who listen and say, “Yes, but…”. I vote to kick them out of the listeners’ group. It feels like tires spinning on an icy road, there is no traction. You say something, and they don’t disagree, instead they slant the conversation by comparing what you said with something bigger, better or often, someone worse off. An observant friend commented that even “No, but…” is a more engaging comment, at least they are tracking with you and have something to add.
In any case, you don’t feel listened to and it’s hard to return to the original point. Sometimes the slant is spoken casually, and sometimes with passion because there is hot spot in the topic for the listener.
Wouldn’t it be helpful if the listener would wave a flag?
This topic = Fireworks!!
I’d like to suggest universal speaking and listening etiquette:
1. Speaker: states topic, opinion or idea without interruption, for up to 3 minutes. (I’ve read where most people can’t listen for more than 17 seconds without interrupting; well my family has broken that record, easily).
2. Listener: summarizes what is said before changing the topic or even asking a follow-up question.
3. Speaker: ‘thanks for listening’ – acknowledge the time/energy spent caring about your thoughts or feelings, this is a gift.
There are people who observe, people who write about change, people who do the change… in the world of therapy there is an author who has observed couples over the years and written about change, AND he has also lived that change with his own marriage and relationship with his father. Terrence Real is one of my relational heroes.
“I Don’t Want to Talk About It” is a ground breaking book about relationships, depression and how it shows up in men especially in covert ways, often overlooked. Such good stuff, stepping back to take in the American world view with the limits and repression of the patriarchy that has shaped our society for so many years. Splitting off certain qualities into more worthy (doing, accomplishments: masculine) and less worthy (being, relational: feminine) has diminished us all and led to some very dissatisfying and often destructive relationships over the years. He gives theory and action steps to develop and nourish exciting, vital relationships.
He encourages the women to speak up with savvy and respect, to go toe to toe for what they need and want in the relationship, which calls the man to be who he could ultimately be. Revolutionary steps for those of us raised to be loving by not speaking up/disagreeing with others. And equally revolutionary for those who feel safe behind their tv remotes and sports chatter to step out and engage from their heart. The following quote sums up this change from safely uninvolved to growing honesty and joy filled connection:
“In twenty years of practice, I have encountered many unfortunate women who, afraid to make reasonable demands on their depressed husbands, wound up, years later, being left anyway. Most wives do not fully contain the resentment that they rightfully feel. And even if they do, the relationship itself eventually loses vitality by virtue of the lack of honest engagement. Conversely, unless the patient has already decided to leave his family, I have rarely encountered a man who was willing to set foot in my office but unwilling,with coaching and help, to pick up the challenge of increased relational skill.” “I Don’t Want to Talk About It”, pg 318