It’s been a while since I wrote a blog. I’ve been busy with family things and a small additional foot surgery. I’m fine. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my mother as she was recovering from a leg ulcer that almost put her in the hospital and she had many, many follow up appointments. That, and her elderly dog had cancer surgery…he’s fine as well. Plus, birthdays and some necessary home plumbing issues.
So, things have been rather busy. But one day while at my mom’s I was reading the letters column in her newspaper. And I happened to read something that I thought you all may find heartening.
Legally, things in this area as far as prosecuting priests has been held up by the diocese not releasing records of the accused priests. This prompted a member of the congregation, a cradle Catholic and church-going bishop-appreciating, non-clergy victim, to speak out against the church publicly. This is not right, she said. If you have nothing to hide, then release your records. And if there is something to the accusations, then punish the bad priests. What is wrong with you people?
Or words to that effect. In any case, this person brought to light that the congregation sees what is going on. And the congregation is getting sick of the church not handling things in an open and direct manner. That is encouraging. Because this is causing non-survivors to question things and to begin to step away from a church it feels no longer can be trusted.
They don’t make it easy, though. It’s not easy, any of it. It’s so tempting to curl up into a ball under the covers with your remote in your hand and a bag of chips or an entire chocolate cake…or whatever it is you reach for when you realize once again that your half empty glass is not going to refill itself.
Today, I’d like to talk about how we are affected by situations and the other people in our lives. And more importantly, how we handle those triggers.
I think we have all had people in our lives who have not liked us, and we don’t know why. I used to work with a woman who had to walk through my office to get to her office and she would walk in with lunch that she had ordered for everyone…everyone but me…and then she would call people…who had to walk through my office…to come and get their lunch. I mentioned to her that I would be interested in ordering lunch too, and she kind of acknowledged that…and then did the same thing the next day.
It can make things awkward when people use group tactics to isolate a person to get their feelings across. It is particularly difficult when you have to be in contact with that person through family or at work. It can also bring out feelings buried inside. We may feel exposed and vulnerable. Someone has found out that we’re not as good as we thought we were pretending to be. Or we may feel angry and not quite sure how to go about expressing that feeling for fear of making things worse for yourself. Or if you are like me, you are non-confrontational and don’t ask uncomfortable questions.
Or perhaps you have felt rejected by someone. That never feels good. Or you write something, and someone gives you only one star and you begin to wonder if what you are doing makes a difference to anyone. Because that little voice has been nestled there inside of your brain for ages just waiting for a chance to speak up.
There are always flip sides, remember. For every time you have felt rejected or bullied by someone, there is someone who appreciates you and who you are.
For instance, my ex-husband used to tell me that I was “too nice”. That was meant as an insult. On the other hand, one of my co-workers told me that I was one of the nicest people she had ever met. Both people were saying the same thing, but it was meant differently.
At work, I had been praised by a supervisor for defusing a difficult situation with a patient, told by another person that I was kind and sensitive when I was covering for the patient rep, had another boss tell me I was a diplomat when working with people….and then had another boss tell me the same thing as an insult. And yet another supervisor said I was a bleeding heart.
My point is that as humans, and as sensitive humans, we tend to care what people think about us. It feels so good to get a compliment, and so bad to be insulted. But the thing is, we are still the same person. It is the other person who is seeing what they choose to see in us. I’ve read that what we think we know about someone is only a tiny bit of who they are. And that someone who knew you when you were 16 does not really know the person you are now at whatever age you may happen to be and whatever experiences you have gone through that have changed you.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t learn anything new about ourselves from the feedback we get from other people. But just as hurtful words and actions from others can make us feel bad, so can hurtful thoughts and beliefs within ourselves about ourselves do the same.
I was thinking recently…what if we flipped our own script? We may be so used to believing we deserve the bad comments or treatment because we see all of our own imperfections. What if we say to ourselves…so what if I am not perfect? So, what if the best I can do is not as good as what someone else can do? This is me, and I am good enough.
I’m thinking….and serious about this…that in addition to a gratitude book…we also start writing a self-love book. And write in that book every time you do something that makes you feel good about yourself. Or every compliment you receive from someone. And read that shit. Often. Love starts from within.
I’ve been spending a lot of time with my mom lately, as I said. And I realize that like most people in this world, she has some issues. Of course, as her kid, her issues were taken as my issues because as kids we don’t understand that parents aren’t perfect. And my mom…fluctuates as to what it is she wants. So, this has always made it very difficult to please her. And punishments were arbitrary. So, if I did something, I’d find out it was wrong after the fact, and I was told that something good was going to happen if I hadn’t done what I had done but not any more. That was so not fair. And confusing.
When I was married, she constantly criticized everything, which made me feel like I was in between my mother and my husband. Then when I left my husband…well, then and now, he is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Also confusing. It can be very difficult to not please those with squeaky wheels, but sometimes it’s more difficult when you do live your life carrying the oil can around with you for everyone else.
When I was younger, I used to take Karate classes. One of the things you learn in Karate is how to ground yourself so that your opponent cannot easily knock you off balance. Grounding and balance are used in many energy practices for a good reason. Think of yourself feeling strong and connected to the Earth. You belong and are a part of creation. Think of the energy in your solar plexus…the core of your being…your strength. Think of your connection to a higher power…whatever that may be to you. Visualize and calm your own energy. Let other people own their own energy and not topple yours out from under you.
An inspirational book I have been reading by our own Dorothy Small, is called “From Darkness into the Light”. Dorothy has a gift for expressing her thoughts and in this book of personal poetry, she credits her higher power for helping her through some of life’s tough times.
I don’t try to tell anyone what to believe or what they may find works for them. Some people have held onto their religious beliefs. Some people have changed their religion. Some people have gotten upset with me for even mentioning anything other than what they have been taught. I feel that whatever best gets you through your life and whatever life throws at you, is something that works for you. Might not work for someone else. But that is what makes us unique.
And we are all unique. You are a child of the universe, and you have a right to be here.
One thought on “Desiderata”
Everything starts from within.
Love, self-esteem, being secure with who I am and what I’m about, all of it starts from within. Just like beating myself up mentally and emotionally for years comes from within. Aside from the scoutmaster sexually abusing me for years nobody in my life has ever treated me as harshly as I’ve treated myself.
I’ve had to go from hating myself for being sexually abused to knowing and feeling from within that it wasn’t my fault and I am not defective because I was choosen as a victim. However, to make that kind of progress transitioning from a victim to a survivor took decades to accomplish.
Even though it comes from outside of me, internalizing support and encouragement and validation from others makes an important contribution to my self-worth.
My attitude today is non-negotionable if I want to keep moving forward.
I’m the best friend I’ll ever have and I can count on me today.
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