Archives for posts with tag: self-worth

Sipping my coffee, scrolling through my feeds, reading the posts of friends dropped into this app or that one, during the night. There is content that troubles me, and I see a lot of it; people posting vague remarks that are self-critical, negative, and on a hopeless sort of downer that shrieks of depression, self-loathing, and… a regrettable lack of understanding that there are, still, and yes, even if they are deeply depressed, some choices involved. Harsh. Why the ever-loving-fuck would someone repeatedly post this sort of quagmire of terribly self-contempt-filled morsels on which to feed themselves? Horrifying.

I don’t have to look too far in the past to “get it”. I only “don’t get it”, now. It’s one major drawback, for me, of healing and forward momentum; it can be hard to understand, or identify with, those past challenges. I guess I’m grateful for that, generally, but when I want to offer comfort, or suggest there is another way, I wish I were more easily able to do so. How do I tell someone in such circumstances “that’s just your opinion of yourself, and only for right now, and holy crap – did you know you can change that??”… when it is their own heartfelt convictions, and deepest terror, about themselves, that I’d be seeking to challenge? I mean, I can say words. Words I’ve got – lots of them – but, generally, these friends are not listening to those words. They hear the words they say, themselves, about the self they so loathe. Anything I could (and often do) say is drowned out in the din.

…It can be heartbreaking to scroll past egregious thinking errors that recognizably mire dear ones in misery. We each can only do so much. If a feeding frenzy of corrections, positivity, love, and encouragement, in response to such posts does nothing to bandage a wounded heart… what can? Well… being present helps. Listening deeply helps. Constancy and steady patient friendship helps. Eventually, though, it’s down to that person and those feelings. …And the verbs…? Yep. No surprise; they’ve got to do the verbs, themselves. No one else can actually undertake to do the work to feel better, aside from the person having the shitty experience – particularly if that shitty experience is one they’ve willfully crafted for themselves and reinforced over time.

Well… shit. That sucks. I’d love to be able to reach out a hand to a friend and take their pain away. Generally, it does not work like that. If I cling to them, wrapping myself up in their pain, eventually some may even sap my strength for living my own life, and caring for my own heart – and not out of malice, just done in a way not so dissimilar to someone overboard grabbing for a life vest or flotation device and just holding on desperately. So, I focus on self-care, and listening deeply, and sharing the journey, and “being there” – but I also work to set skillful boundaries, to be there for my own self, reliably, and to avoid getting sucked into drama. I do what I can to encourage friends who are suffering to choose less suffering, if they are able to. I still feel sad when I watch them choose suffering again and again, in a way that appears crafted and willful. My heart aches for them; I’m pretty sure that if they were able to really understand how much suffering they specifically choose, foster, nurture, and feed, they would also understand they could choose differently.

…I couldn’t treat myself differently until I both understood that such a thing were possible, and – but? – also not until I was ready to see myself differently, and as worthy of better treatment from myself. Harsh – but the truth of it is that I can’t walk that mile for anyone else. I can only suggest that there is such a path available to be walked.

It was a lovely quiet weekend, spent in the gentle good company of my traveling partner. Some snow fell. Some rain fell. Movies were watched. Content was shared – as was contentment. It was warm and connected and close. It feels good to share the company of such good companions: my Traveling Partner… and the woman in the mirror. It feels good to be in a place in life where my own good company is precious to me. I finish my coffee, wondering what words it takes to suggest to the worn down, forlorn, depressed, or anxious, that they, too, have this amazing relationship near at hand…? That perhaps the answer to the question “when will I find someone?” could be found in their mirror, right now?

The coffee is finished. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

My appointment with my therapist was a weird rollercoaster ride of shared moments that began well enough talking over recent weeks in a frank and vulnerable way; the break-in had happened only days after our last visit. We started there.

Over 3 years, I’ve come so far… I have a pleasant moment reflecting on how well I bounced back from the violation of a home invasion… then… well… He has this way of sifting through the tons of words and asking some innocuous question about some seemingly nothing bit of a something, and unraveling some long-standing self-deception, or startling me out of my complacent acceptance of some damaging bit of chaos or damage. There’s more work to do about all this chaos and damage, but this morning my head isn’t aching from hours of crying, and actually – I had a lovely quiet evening of reflection. At one point, I hopped online and took at look at computers – strangely, both my Traveling Partner and my therapist said things that pull my focus back to the missing laptop. My Traveling Partner more than once simply observing rather matter-of-factly that “we need to replace your computer”, in one context or another in which it becomes obvious that it is missed. I felt something I was calling “indifference” and would push back that I was “getting by” and “there’s really no rush”. My therapist looking into my face earnestly and attentively commenting instead how he could see the loss was very hard for me, and… the questions. I got home feeling the weight of my missing laptop more than usual, and understanding that however odd it may seem – its absence is related to the emotional void keeping me out of my studio (also my study, where my laptop lived). I rarely go in “there” at all since the break-in, even now.

I shopped with an open mind, finding myself pulled in the direction of my own best computer experiences. I sipped chamomile tea and compared holiday deals. I compared them by price. I compared them by features. I compared them to the list in my head of the things that I need most and didn’t have before, and the things that turned out not to matter – and the things that mattered greatly. I sent a link to my traveling partner of a laptop that was rather-the-same-a-bit-more-what-I-need-a-bit-less-what-I-have-previously-thought-I-like-but-appeals-to-me-now, and then immediately retracted it in a moment of anxious tension over money. I struggle to spend money on myself – it makes me uncomfortable to do so. Baggage.

I kept thinking about that laptop, and found myself “smiling back” at the idea of it, not quite yearning for it, not quite letting it go. I repeat a narrative I’ve been telling myself a lot; no new one, however perfect, actually replaces the old one. It’s not about the laptop; the content is lost. I finally let it go and pick up a book and read awhile before deciding to head to bed. In our exchanging of tender well-wishes for a restful night, my Traveling Partner comments on the good value in the laptop I’d linked, and said “you should go for it”. My heart thumped hard in my chest. I should go for it? His loving support and confident assurance that I am worth my own time, my own attention, my own affection and support, has endured all through the years we’ve enjoyed each other. Even my own money? For me? Why the hell do I still carry around so damned much pain about my own worthiness? I get up from having crawled into bed and put my glasses back on. I it is time to replace this tool that I use so much and rely on so heavily for many things in life. That’s practical. I recognize it (from a distance). My partner recognizes it. My therapist recognizes it. The IT manager at work recognized it. Why on earth would I hold myself at arm’s length when I reach out so readily to embrace the ones I love – and even those I simply hold in high regard?? That’s… madness. Madness built on a lifetime of practice. It’s time to practice something different.

It was exciting and frightening to click “add to cart”. Heart racing and breathless, I checked out. My new laptop is on her way, and I feel like the bestie of a dear friend who is lost to me is about to turn up on my doorstep seeking welcome… I’m excited… a little wary… mostly excited… but it’s a bit of an unknown. I love being my Traveling Partner’s Santa Claus. Really, it seems only proper that he would similarly be mine, even if the trip down the chimney is the nudge of a mouse hand. 🙂 I adult a bit more, sending the receipt over to the insurance company to document replacement of the lost laptop, and taking time to meditate and calm myself to that the excitement and anxiety don’t ruin my sleep. Will I really be able to sleep, I wonder, as I pull the covers over me…?

I woke with difficulty to an insistent beeping that seemed both familiar and peculiarly difficult to understand. Why the hell was there beeping at this hour? I sit up and frown, reaching for the alarm clock, puzzled. Right. It’s a Thursday. I have work. Actually, I have rather a lot of work. I get up. Yoga. Meditation. A shower. It’s in the shower that I recall ordering the laptop. I smile at the recollection with eagerness and a noteworthy lack of buyers remorse. The morning actually seems a fairly ordinary one, only… there’s a sense that something has been put right that feels quite comforting. My Traveling Partner was right. We needed to replace the laptop. I needed to replace my laptop. I needed to take care of the woman in the mirror. I feel a moment of gratitude to have so much help with that. 🙂

The point of this handful of words isn’t the laptop at all, of course, it’s the self-care. It’s the self-knowledge, and the self-acceptance. It’s the willingness to provide for myself as I would for others. It’s understanding that to practice something new also sometimes means to stop practicing something that doesn’t work so well. I’ll head to the office today and work my ass off supporting my employer’s agenda, and in return I will be paid. It’s reasonable and appropriate that a measure of that effort will provide for me, quite directly, and  it does: rent, groceries, utilities… I would buy a bed if I were sleeping on the floor (although I felt guilty about it when I did). I bought chairs when I needed someplace to sit (but I felt uncomfortable about the “luxury”), and a dining table when I needed someplace to serve meals (more for the comfort of others). The purchases make sense. The baggage doesn’t make so much sense. My smile this morning is for me. When I needed someplace to write, archive images of my art, my photos, my manuscripts, my memory, I bought a laptop (because I need this for me, and that’s totally okay). I feel another bit of baggage hit the floor with a thump.

Today is a good day for gratitude and appreciation that so many dear to me care so much. Today is a good day to be merry, and a good day to let go of some baggage.

It’s been an interesting morning, so far. Yesterday’s appointment wasn’t particularly telling, and it’s enough to say that I don’t know more than I knew yesterday, and have received further confirmation that medical professionals will go the extra mile to pacify someone in distress, but actual answers are not necessarily in their mandate. lol

A change of perspective on a misty morning.

A change of perspective on a misty morning.

This morning, I am pre-occupied with words in a different way; I don’t understand everything the same way everyone else does. (You don’t either, that’s just a thing.) This morning, an article shared by a friend revealed that some people think the advice to ‘work on yourself’ rather than frustratedly seeking love is communication that if only we are not too broken, we’ll somehow be more worthy of love! 😦 Wow. What a crappy perspective on self-care, and self-worth. I wasn’t viewing the common suggestion to work on oneself rather than chasing partnership as anything other than a very practical suggestion that life is finite, and that wasting time yearning for what we don’t have is… wasted time. Live! Live, for fuck’s sake – and do so in spite of the lack of day-to-day physical affection and contact in our electronically connected, emotionally disconnected, society! Perhaps most importantly then. Your life may literally depend on it (or at least its quality will.) It’s not about ‘being better so someone will love me’! It’s also not about ‘improving your relationship worth’ by having or being more than you are today. It’s about not wasting precious lifetime mourning what isn’t, when there is so much that is! Sure – troubleshoot the hell out of your issues! Fix what you find to be truly “broken”, or make something new and wonderful of the wreckage left behind! (A process, I’ll point out, that is often most efficiently managed solo.) It’s not about what anyone else may value in who you are – or who you may become – it’s about YOU, what you want of that human being in the mirror, who you choose to become. It’s about living life, having your experience, investing in your own heart, lavishing yourself with authentic affection – your own high regard – and investing in good self-care. When we treat ourselves well, treating others similarly well becomes a natural thing, and although there are no guarantees in life, it does seem to be a thing that when we are not desperately earnestly heart-wrenchingly focused on forcing love to happen within the context of our existing experience, it sometimes happens quite unexpectedly on its own… and if we are truly caring for ourselves, living authentic deeply rewarding solitary lives, it may be less painful to be alone. Mostly. (I can at least confirm it has been my own experience so far that enjoying my life without specific regard to pursuing physical or romantic affection seems both more enjoyable generally, and also more likely to result in satisfying sexual and romantic relationships. Mostly. You would not believe the verbs involved – and my results do vary.)

Being alone more than I want to be, going without physical affection, sex, romance, and intimacy in moments when I would greatly prefer to be enjoying one or more of those things, being alone for an event or holiday which is generally celebrated among family or loved ones; these are emotionally difficult experiences. That’s one truth. It is what it is. Making the best of the life we live may not mitigate that truth, may not be helpful specifically in that matter at all in some one desperately lonely moment – but it beats sitting around getting fat on the couch and crying about being lonely. (Which I have also explored; as strategies go, it seems very unlikely to produce better results than enjoying my life – even if I am doing so alone. 😉 )

Now – having covered that, the rest of the morning seems to be pre-occupied with figuring out why, 13 weeks ago, my WordPress posts started posting to Google+ to me only, instead of ‘Public’ – where they can be read. lol I don’t recall changing a privacy setting on either side… but I also have a brain injury, and sometimes lose track of small actions I didn’t necessarily notice. (There is some occasional right side/left side weirdness for me, moments in which I literally took an action with one hand, that I wasn’t aware I was taking while my attention was focused on what the other side of my body was busy with. Oh yeah. The fun never stops. LOL) So, first things first – is there a setting? Did I know that? Have I changed it? If it doesn’t appear to source with me (it doesn’t) – is there a software change on one side or the other? (Both.) Did that affect security settings? (It seems so.) Can changing those settings restore order? (We’ll find out today!) Is there help available? (Hahaha! Fix it yourself, we’re busy, thanks. ~The World) (…And actually, by the time I finished writing this one, help had been provided, so… yeah. Assumptions. lol)

Funny that this proved to be such a distracted morning. I woke gently enough, started the day easily, and shortly will make my way downtown to share the morning with a friend, and visit the farmer’s market, which sounds much more engaging than futzing with computers and blog posts and security settings and all manner of modern-day bullshit – how is it that this takes so much more time than changing a light bulb? (Get off my lawn, ya damned kids!! 😉 )

Today is a good day to take a step back from assumptions, from complacency, and from what I think I know. Today is a good day to explore the world from another perspective. Today is a good day to smile at my frustration with small details, and embrace the moments in life that actually matter most; the time we spend in the company of our friends. 😀