Monday, May 23

10 Benefits When We're Gentle Towards Ourselves

         “The six most important words:'I admit I made a mis-
take.' The five most important words: 'You did a good 
job.' The four most important words: 'What is YOUR 
opinion?'  The three most important words: 'If you
 please.'  The two most important words: 'Thank You.' 
The one most important word: 'We.' The least
 important word: 'I.' ”   Author Unknown     

 Image: The California coast: Point Reyes 
        Showing grace
towards ourselves. 

      We are lucky when there are opportun-ities to practice patience. Especially towards ourselves.  Driven and highly motivated, we may be.  Even more than most.  We want to make our life count.

      We don't care to be a loafer. 

     For many of us, much of our drive since youth was prompted by insecurity.  We had a strong need for approval.  With time, we learned we can enjoy peace and serenity instead.  This happens when we realize we are not circus animals.  

     We do not need to jump through hoops.  We don't have to impress others.  We are good, just as we are.  Our faults do not define us. 
     Knowing God's love empowers us.   Often it is demonstrated through a community of  emotionally and psychologically healthy others   These are our Balcony People.  They undergird us.  They grow our confidence.  They prove support we can lean on, when we are pressed.   Hurray!  

       Recovery allows us to see areas needing growth.  We accept our vulnerable, undeveloped parts graciously.   No longer are they viewed with frustration or despair, as the ugly parts of who we are. 

       We want to view these areas positively.  They are areas where we can grow! 

       Emotional maturity happens when we start treating ourselves with kindness.  We see our lives are getting better.  It's going in the direction we've dreamed.  Looking back at the past month, six months or year, progress has taken place. 

       We want to be patient towards ourselves.  It helps to remember growth happens in millimeters, not inches or yards. 

       Recovery allows us to be gracious towards our character defects.  We now say, "That's okay, sweetie," as areas needing characterological growth come to view.  That's a big improvement from the hateful, critical voice that once condemned us. 

         Such times were before we started using healthy, affirming alternatives to heal tortuous sabotaging thoughts and behavior.  

        For many, sinister, condemning voices were born from the judgments at home, school and church.  They are now muted by the ongoing affirmation we receive from a loving God.   The hateful voice of self-loathing has been muted.  How?  By relating with caring, supportive friends. 

       We want to be kind towards our Hunchback of Notre Dame vulnerable selves.  When we are, this wounded part of us comes out from the shadows of shame.  It emerges from the belfry of isolation and self-judgment. Our deform-ed self experiences healing.  It enjoys transformation.  Why because it is tended to by the loving Esmeralda of grace. 

I know it's hard to see, but she has a water
skin bottle in her right hand. Please click on
 the link below to view this scene.
      We can be unlov-ing towards our warty, unattractive, frail and flawed inner selves.  Sensing condemna-tion, our real, vulnera-ble selves hide.  When that happened, no healing transpires. 

       Our experience can be different.  Looking at areas where we want to grow can be a time filled with love.  Removing splinters from our soul is now a time of tenderness.  Towards ourselves.  We may now see many coping tenden-cies of youth are no longer valid. Hope abounds. And, we become better persons.  Ya ay!

Being gracious towards ourselves has benefits:
1.  We are happier.
2.  We experience less depression. 
3.  Condemning ourselves diminishes.
4.  We are more motivated. 
5.  We sleep better. 
6.  We draw better friends into our lives.  How can we have others who respect us, if we don't respect ourselves? 
7.  We are less defensive.  
       a.  We are more comfortable in our own skin. 
       b.  We get along with others more easily.
"Condemning my imperfections has never enhanced my appreciation of life nor has it helped me to love myself more."
                              Courage to Change, p 19

8. We have an Attitude of Gratitude because we are kinder towards ourselves and others.  
9.  Grace permeates my life.  
    We learn to ask, "How important is it?"  Circumstances that once would have irritated are now are seen for what they are: not worth losing our serenity. 
10. As I'm gentle towards myself, I've become more compassionate  towards others. We give only what we have received ourselves.
 How About You?
a. How are you when the dragons of despair raise their heads in your soul? 
b. What do you find as healthy alternatives to frustration, disappointment or self-loathing? 
c. What do you do, that allows you to be gentle towards your weaknesses?
d. What silences the critical parental voice that screams at and condemns you? 

       I will work on this post tomorrow, Tuesday.  This is my best for today.  I am exhausted.

Wednesday, May 18

Moving On With Life: The Three A's Revisited

"You can't undo anything you've already
 done.  But you can face up to it.   You can tell 
the truthYou can seek forgiveness.  And let
 God do the rest."            Unknown
      This was written more than three years ago.

       It is spiking in the sidebar to your right.  I thought I'd share it with you, in case you haven't seen it.

The Value of Awareness

       I celebrate the sanity en-joyed when looking at life realistically. 

      This is awareness.  It's a good start, but incomplete.  It's eighty-eight percent of the answer when dealing with problems. There's no remedy without first seeing the issue.

       Awareness helps us overcome life's challenges and disappoint-ments.  I'm seeing progress.  My learning curve spiking upwards definitely an encouragement.  Circumstances that once lingered, for months----perhaps years---are now dealt within two months.  Thank God for personal growth.

Rooting Out the Problem
The Vital Need for Acceptance

      It's vital going beyond awareness, seeing the problem.  Acceptance is next.  This is taking the perspective awareness provides then dealing with its emotional impact.  This step is often neg-lected.  If we don't take this action, we are only trimming the shrub of our problems.  The problems are guaranteed to grow back.

       Acceptance is getting in touch with the issue at the visceral lev-el. It involves five steps.  It is:
1.  Seeing the vexing area.
2.  Feeling our re-sponse.
3.  Taking our feelings a step further. We grieve the loss involved.
4.  Letting the negative sentiments go---often through forgive-ness.  Forgiveness is not forgetting, it is letting go of the hurt.
5.  Seeing what steps we can take next. This is looking at our options.

      Acceptance helps remove ten percent of the problem.  Did you notice?  Acceptance is not acceptance marked with resignation.  It is not, "Oh, this is my lot in life.  I'll have to tolerate it."

      Here's another critical point: many go straight from aware-ness to action. "I see the problem, and now, this is what I need to do....."  and design an action plan.  Bad idea.

      When we respond this way we are only operating mentally.  We are going rational.  The heart level is not addressed. With-out acceptance, the problem isn't rooted out.

      When was the last time we made time, determining why we isolate?  When have we done an inventory of  a perturbing area?  When have we made the time to root out festering resentments?  When have we looked at steps that overcome the torture of self-loathing?

      We need to connect at the gut level. If we want to heal our pain.  That doesn't happen if we go rational, as most of us do.  Negative feelings just don't disappear, if ignored. 

      It is wise looking for the payoff for our unhealthy behavior.  When have we investigated our thinking, checking for false beliefs?   It's emo-tionally healing, uncovering our motives.  We don't do anything if there isn't a reward.

       There's a key point regarding acceptance.  We don't have the psychological or emotional distance to clearly see areas needing growth.  We need friends who accept us.  When we fail, they are compassionate.

       We thrive when surrounded by friends who loves us.   Yet they challenge us.  With hard questions.  This is what's needed if we want to dig out problemed areas in our lives.

       We cannot experience healing if we go it alone. 

The Shoe Leather of Personal Growth

        Awareness of what triggers us is helpful.  Handling the emotions that surface---meeting the needs beneath them is critical too.  That's acceptance.

        But next step is critical.  It is applying the shoe leather of practical action.  We want to make efforts that support meeting our need for thriving, balance, and peace of mind.

        Donning the shoes of practical principles and actions help us.  They protect us when we are out walking in the street of life.  Principles assist us in handling life's demands.

        They enable us to overcome the vulnerable, co-dependent parts of our personality. We want to apply healthy alternatives.  We want to move away from unhelpful default modes.  We want to replace unsuccessful former approaches with new and better behavior.

        Practical principles permit us to tread upon the gravelly aspects of life without being harmed.

       Action is the remaining two percent needed for handling painful areas. There you have it, the Three A's.  Awareness deals with the head, acceptance with the heart and action with the feet (what we do).  Applying healthier alternatives---staying in the solution---helps us move beyond what were once monuments of our past pain.

       We will enjoy better relationships, sanity, serenity, emotional health, and ease.

How About You? 
Which of the three A's are you using to deal with a rocky area in your life?

Sunday, May 15

Inventorying The Past Week ........... 5/15/16

       Highs for the past week.  This is an inventory of the last seven days.
1.  Confronted fears.  I did not allow emotions to overrule common sense.
2.  I ran five miles on Monday and walked for another six on that day.  It has been years since I have run this far.  Good news: didn't feel sore at all, afterwards.

     I walked for six miles for four days.  I ran for 4.5 miles for the remaining two.  It feels good.  It is de-stressing me.
3.  Enjoying teaching a couples workshop.  Last week was the fifth week.  This week it ends.   I love what I do.  Even better, I am thrilled for how the workshop is helping others to draw closer to their partner.

     They are learning how to truly be intimate: being present, authentic, and saying what they feel and want.
4.  I took charge over an area that was overrunning me.  A manipulative person was affecting my serenity.   I detached from the situation.  I looked for my options.  I felt much better, not letting her to disrepect me by her controlling behavior.
5.  I was texted by someone.  Not replying right away makes me happy.  I enjoy not letting social media consume my time or dictate when I will reply to texts or e-mails.  I love the freedom and autonomy I exercise when I do not measure up to the expectations of others.

    I live my by internal standards.  How others consider me or what they expect from me does not determine what I will do.  I am internally referented.

    Monday, I will update this and share my lows for the previous seven days. 

Wednesday, May 11

Agitated .............. 5/11/16

        I'm growing.

        Against my will, I am encountering a lot of instant learn-ing.  This happens when we are assaulted with many demands.  It occurs when we experience a multitude of failures.  Being the Attitude of Gratitude guy, I see things from a positive point of view. Even during the roughest times.

        Failure and disappointment do not define us.  Instead, resilient people look at setbacks and learn from them. Then move forward.

        If thrown back once again,and they fail, IT IS NO BIG DEAL.

        I don't care for it, but I still need to handle life's disappointments and pressures.  Especially when taxed---emotionally, mentally, physically, as I have been, the past two weeks.

        An awkward and wobbly elderly person needing a walker paints a picture of the steadiness of my present world.

         Topping it off, I was sucker punched Tuesday.  Shocked.  After-wards, throughout the day, I reeled.  And mourned.  As distraught as a cat caught in an alley jammed with feral dogs, I felt.  Couldn't think straight.
        Fear filled every pore.

         I have been worn-down.  The result of hard work.  There is much to do besides sessions with clients.  Poor sleep breeds weariness, too.  I have many de-mands shouting for attention.  Includ-ing improvements, here.

       Gearing what I offer in new ways----in a fabulous direction, has taken its toll on my equanimity.  The laundry of my life is being re-sorted.  Making me disoriented and confused.  All this is happening as I am laying a foundation that will help me better serve those I help.

      Tuesday, for several hours, visions of doom took over my soul.  Not my usual state of mind.  Making it worse, no answers for my troubles appeared.

       Except for two antidotes.

1.  Slowing down.  I need to be deaf to what clamors for my attention. I need to take care of me.

     I am in HALT.  I need to slow down. I will dictate how I spend my time.  Not the e-mails that assault me daily.  Nor the text messages and phone calls that barrage me throughout the week.

2.  Realizing I am powerless.  I've no control over any of the pronouns in my life: people, places, and things.  This is Step One, in recovery.  It hits hard.  Life is unmanageable.

      Growth happens when I embrace negative realities.  It is a mark of resiliency.  In the meantime, I am curious what wild things are wanting my hugs.

Saturday, April 30

The Man Who Would Not Move 4/30/16

      Experienced drama last Sun-day.

      Spent the morn-ing with friends.  Afterwards, a chum and I drove to the Englander Restau-rant in San Leandro.  Everyone squeezed into the place, sitting shoulder-to-shoul-

Saturday, April 23

Celebrating Life, Enjoying Abundance ...... 4/23/16

The Fairmont

      Just got home from visiting San Francisco.

      We made a birth-day person feel special.  Celebrating life packs a positive punch.  It invigor-ates the week. It transitions it from ho-hum to sublime and fun.

Sunday, April 17

Saying What We Feel and Want: Being Present: Not Letting Others Poop On Us........ ...................4/17/16

     Someone puts your soul into a storm of turmoil. It looks like the clouds in this pic-ture to your left.

    Their put-downs make you want to find shel-ter and hide.  Embar-rassment

Sunday, April 10

Making the Right Choice, Part II 4/10/16

      This past Friday I knew what I had to do.  I am a mandated reporter.

       I was on my cell phone, walking around my neighbor-hood.  Getting support, talking with a friend.

      Still, I needed to process what I experi-enced that morning.  I disagreed with some-one.    The fellow used a hammer to punish himself.  He struck his head with it.  While in my

Saturday, April 9

Making the Right Choice................ 4/9/16

      "Whack, whack, whack, whack."

       That was the sound I heard.  It happened as I walk-ed away from him.  He was pounding his head with a hammer.

        When I heard it, I thought, "This can't be.  He must be hitting the couch he is sitting on."  When I returned to the room, blood poured from the top of his head.

        It ran down his nose.  Into his eyes.  Unto his white T-shirt.

Friday, April 1

Calmness, Patience, Grace, Firmness: Overcoming Defiance.......... .................. 4/1/16

       She sat there with a sassy atti-tude. Her blonde hair in her eyes.

       Her mother con-vinced her she only had to see me for ten minutes.  After that, she could leave.

       According to her mother, it took more than two hours for this teenager to ap-ply

Quotes from the Posts

"I'm mindful that our thoughts affect the words we use, our words influence our actions, our actions shape our character and our character determines our destiny."

From "My Character Determines My Destiny." To read it, please click here.

"Progress not perfection, is better than no progress at all, especially when we're trying to rid ourselves from unwelcome dragons that dwell within the closets of our soul."

From, "Still Learning" which, within four days, became the most popular post
written. To read it, please click here.

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its trouble, but it does empty today of its strength"
From the post: "Life Is Not a Correspondence Program." Click here to read it.

"Even though we cannot control our circumstances, we can control how we choose to respond to them."

From, "Handling Stress and Dealing With an Emotional Bully."Click here to read this post.

"Nope, being busy isn't exciting. Boring is good. Because boring is not boring; boring is being healthy, living a balanced life that has serenity"

From: "Do You Know What It Means If You Are Too Busy?" For more, please click here.