Just because you can breathe doesn’t mean you can’t drown…

I gained remarkable insight this afternoon while sitting across from a wise, dear friend.  As I shared what was going on in my life and the full spectrum of emotions I experienced, she helped me connect the dots on what others have tried to tell me.  She helped me see how single focused (and selfish) I was looking at the world through only my lens.

I have had more than one person tell me ‘you are stronger than the average person’ and ‘you can’t expect everyone else to handle things the way you do’.  I use phrases like “claim your power” and “you are not responsible for other people’s feelings” often.  I insist that everyone has the ability to get out of any situation with enough willingness to change.  Some people find this inspiring; others insist not everyone is willing or able to change.  I previously thought if someone wasn’t willing to change, that’s their problem and washed my hands of it (much to the dismay of people more compassionate than me).

As my friend talked about the ripple effect people’s choices have on others, I began to think about water.  I thought about my fear of drowning and how uncomfortable I am with my face wet.  I panic quickly if my face is under water for long so I swim with my face up.  Similarly, I am uncomfortable with negative emotions for long so I flip everything to the positive as quickly as possible.

Then it hit me…

Everyone can breathe but that doesn’t matter much if someone is under water drowning.  Sometimes it takes a trained lifeguard with a floatation device to get the drowning person above water. Not everyone can be saved but that doesn’t mean drowning individuals deserve to be ignored or criticized for their choices.  Lifeguards determine the safest way to intervene and do everything possible to save, even when it’s not comfortable.  I can learn from lifeguards.

Depression is like drowning… No one chooses it.

When I was drowning in a sea of negativity, I had someone with a life preserver pay for me to go to therapy.  I had people show up with love and support when I needed it most.  I was willing to accept the help but I had help.  I didn’t recover alone.  I still have people who show up exactly when I need them and appreciate their patience with me while I discover things in my own time.

I am mindful of the fact people have differing abilities handling change and stress the same way people have differing abilities in water.  I may be a speed demon when it comes to life changes but that doesn’t mean everyone else fits my timeline; the same way an Olympic swimmer is much faster than me in water. Even Olympic swimmers can cramp and drown.  If I were to do a cannonball in the middle of a pool, I wouldn’t be appalled the people on the sidelines got wet.

There is a space between thinking only of one’s self and only of others.  There is a space between being oblivious to the impact my actions have on others and being paralyzed by the possible implications.  There is a space between being irresponsible and responsible for things that aren’t mine.  That’s the space where I intend to float.

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

Advertisements

Alone For The Holidays

I moved out from my ex-husband’s home December 4, 2004 (almost a decade ago!).  I had people at work that cared about me but, outside of that, didn’t really have any friends.  I didn’t have a supportive birth family and wasn’t close enough to anyone to be invited anywhere.

I got through that very painful transitional time with a few tools:

1) a life coach

2) a journal where I was free to express my feelings unedited

3) a “lie” box where I could put my negative, self deprecating, thoughts away (On a post-it note, I’d write the “lie” on one side and a reframed “truth” on the other side before placing it in the box.)

4) The books “Courage to Change” and “Co Dependant No More”

5) willingness to accept I am powerless in situations outside my control and openness to rely on a power greater than myself (even though I didn’t have that “power” fully defined)

6) a “personal massager” named King Tut

Looking back, I see that time period made my fulfilling relationships now possible.  When things are getting off track within me or within my current marriage, I recognize the warning signs sooner.

Every good relationship has ups and downs.  If there are no downs, somebody isn’t being honest and that’s eventually going to be an issue.  That’s not to say that you need to be down often.  Just, at some point, there are going to be disagreements and disappointments that can turn into resentments if partners do not address them.

Holidays are no more, or less, than what you make of them.  In the cosmos, they are just another day that comes and goes.  Whether you feel you have much to celebrate this year or not, please use those days to celebrate your LIMITLESS potential.

Cherish the joys, grow from the challenges and be grateful to be alive!

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

Enough

At the core of every self-destructive behavior is a faulty core belief of  “I’m not good enough” in some form.

I’ve spent the majority of my life in such a state and learned to recognize it only a few years ago.  I’m currently practicing rewriting the botched tape.

Before it’s ever a conscious thought, my tape manifests itself in ways like: being critical of how I look in the mirror, comparing myself to and therefore competing with others, getting off task at work, yelling at my son, beating myself up over missing a workout or not doing the entire thing well enough, overeating, etc…

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to control the symptoms instead of addressing the core belief that’s behind them all.  I am good at sticking to a plan and checking tasks off a list but that only tames the demon for so long.

If you’re in the same boat, try overwriting the old tape with me by saying to yourself:  I’m good enough because I am.  I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this moment, what is the next right thing to do?

What a wonderful new world we can make together!