Friday, August 5, 2016

Letting go of self-definitions

I am slowly continuing my journey through Kristen Neff's book.  I say slowly because it is incredibly difficult for me to actually do the exercises and not just read through them and move on.  As one friend responded when I told her about this book "I never do the exercises."   That is a lot of what I do, I like words and language and knowing things, it is not easy for me to stop reading and give the exercises time.  For this exercise I am looking at a trait that I often judge myself for having, showing, displaying, feeling, thinking and all the other things.

This week has been a lot of ups and downs, I have really been uncomfortable with my current flare, impatient with lack of relief, and really impatient with lack of knowledge.  However one comment kept coming up again "I am weak."  I was apologizing to Adam over and over because I felt so weak and I needed his help moving around a couple of times.   He accidentally dropped me once because my legs just were not able to support me and he wasn't able to gauge what was going on and I wasn't able to communicate very well.  I said this over and over when I needed to take more of my medication then I like to, because I was miserable.  I chose not going to yoga so that I could give myself a bladder treatment, and I apologized again for being so weak and not being able to push through.   

Before I began exploring the questions to ask myself about the trait, I just wanted to figure out what does "weak" mean to me.  Why have I latched on to that word at this time?   I think it has a lot to do with me feeling like I let people's expectations down.  Expectations that I don't even know if they exist. It has to do with me not quite feeling at home or safe in my body, and so it brings up feelings of powerlessness and weakness.  As I talked about in my previous post, I am learning to listen to my body and it in a stage of transition and change right now, which is not comfortable.  

The first questions in the exercise involve how often is the trait displayed, what circumstances bring it out and am I still me whether or not the trait is displayed.   The thoughts come up very often when I am dealing with a flare, and the fact is I am weak in someways, my body is reallocating resources to repair my bladder lining, to process the additional cortisol and other hormones released in the body and so I may not have the resources to get through my entire workout, drive or see people.  I mentioned this in my previous post, about picking battles I want my body to be taken care of, not win battles with my mind.     

For me this process of understanding these traits that I judge myself for and beating myself up for is coming to terms with where is the root.  Maybe it is acceptable to feel weak and display that trait at times?   Maybe my body is telling me "be gentle," and here I am increasing the cortisol and other hormones because I feel ashamed and disconnected.   

At any given moment thousands of feelings and thoughts pass through my body and brain, which ones get latched on to, are the ones I act on.   Sometimes those feelings are just because of the path of least resistance and I have practiced being shy, small and lonely; however sometimes those traits are useful and it is important for me to understand what is going on, so that I can leave the judgement behind.  Adam doesn't judge me because he sometimes has to carry me, I don't judge Sterling because I have to carry him, so why judge myself? Yes it is inconvenient and sometimes I grumble about carrying Sterling, but I understand he is old and having trouble moving around.  Adam grumbles at me sometimes, but he is still there to help.  Why judge myself for acting in way that is appropriate to the situation?  

I take this as a reminder, the body is fine, it is taking care of me.  My mind, my judgements are really what is kicking my butt right now.  Yes my body hurts, it is uncomfortable, that is my opportunity to learn and take care of it.  Being "weak" is an opportunity to explore how I have been taking care of myself, what is going on in the larger situation and understanding if it is appropriate or not.   I need to be better about pay attention to listen if it is appropriate, and act accordingly.  If it is just coming up because it is a neural pathway that is well worn, then change my focus and remind myself I am so many different things.

Question of the day: The traits that you judge yourself for having are they are true reflection of the "inner you;" do they really define who you are?   This is worth exploring and just notice how often you display the trait and how often you just think you are displaying it.  

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