Monday, February 25, 2008

Changing How I See Myself

Sorry to be MIA for so long! It’s been a hectic. Good, for the most part but hectic.

And I’ve been looking at what changes I might want to make in my life. (Yes, I can’t help tinkering. As good as things are, I know they could be even better.)

One of the things I’ve been noticing is that I have tremendous empathy for others. Maybe it’s being a writer, but even when I’m in conflict with someone, I grasp their side of things and the ways in which they are hurting and I want to help. On the whole, I’m glad this is who I am.

The challenge, however, is that I rarely stop to ask myself what I want or to have empathy for my own fear or hurt.

Example: I can’t imagine being as impatient or verbally abusive with someone else who was learning to do something new or trying to do something that was difficult for them as I am with myself in those kinds of situations.

In any situation, I tend to focus on what I think I should have, do or be and rarely ask myself what I WANT.

Part of it, of course, is that I grew up in a family that said what I wanted didn’t matter. And part of it is that I grew up in a family with distorted ideas of what was right and wrong and I’ve spent most of my life wanting to make sure I became a far better person than that. And part of it, I suspect, is this cultural notion that we have to earn the right to be happy.

And yet....and yet I know that we become the best person we can be, discover the most creative solutions to problems, and are at our most resilient when we embrace joy in our lives.

I do that on a conscious level all the time. The challenge is to look at the unconscious times I treat myself as if the opposite were true. The challenge is to realize what I haven’t even noticed I’ve been doing to myself.

Which isn’t easy. It takes something external (usually) to get us to notice what we don’t notice. And of course our conditioning and natural impulse is to get angry that this external thing happened—missing the possible ways it’s a blessing in disguise.

My life is good. It’s getting better. I’m seeing new ways to do things, new ways to see myself. Sometimes that takes a lot of time and energy—as it has since my last post.

Here’s wishing for all of you ways to love yourselves more and bring more joy into your lives. Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs)))))))),
April_optimist

7 comments:

gypsy-heart said...

I think your growth is wonderful!
Others can be energy vampires...without even meaning to. I am like you I care a lot..and sometimes too much! This is why I became a hermit on an island. :)

I still try to help but I am careful to not lose myself in the process.

I have seen your evolution on here..and it is beautiful. I hope you see yourself that way.

Karma said...

Its been hectic for me too. This is a great post. I find that I also have much less empathy for myself than I have for others. I get frustrated having to carry the baggage of trauma (and other stuff); I wish I was different. And then I feel like I need all of these things to feed the pain that I feel.

If I could follow your lead and start thinking about what I want in my life and taking steps to get there, to do it in a way that is loving, that would be a great thing.

Kahless said...

Remember your wants and needs meme?
Hoping you do something for yourself from the list every day!

Kahless said...

Hey, JIP wanted me to tell her blogfriends that she has posted a longer post to try and explain where she is at. She said she is sorry that she cant visit her blogfriends posts at the moment.

Kahless said...

The littles of JIP have written a fantastic post and made an artistic impression of what you look like. It is very cool and good and worth a visit! :-)

keepers said...

that is a big one isn't it? changing how we see ourselves and even treat ourselves. we ourselves get way too impatient, we want things to happen right away sometimes even when we know it can't or won't. peace and blessings and a few hugs too!!

keepers

April_optimist said...

Gypsy-Heart, Thank you for your kind words.

Karma, See my latest post. It's a journey--learning to care about and for ourselves.

Kahless, LOL! I do do something from my list every day. The interesting thing was to realize that even as I consciously did that, on another level I was still doing the opposite...

Keepers, Ah, so easy to be impatient! So hard to learn to let go and let things unfold at their own pace...