My ambivalence to awards!

I just read a comment from Vapor Sage who I nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award that he reluctantly played along with it.  It highlighted that I also felt very ambivalent about participating and about all awards really.  I feel we can become so externally focused on recognition at times, that we may lose our way.

It is important me to know that what I write or share here resonates for others.  I try to be as honest as I can.  But at times I struggle with knowing my own heart or at least feeling comfortable enough to fully express my truth.  It comes from a childhood in which I was teased a lot and often told I didn’t feel a certain way.

I remember when I was very young I used to write a lot.  My older sister had left at that stage and she was the only one I related to emotionally and so I must have started writing then due to feeling all alone.  I remember how I wrote somewhere that I was in love with Peter Woolridge, my first boyfriend from my primary school.  My Mum always invaded my boundaries and she found what I had written and then stormed at me and laughed saying “you are too young to know what love is!”  Ouch!

This is the reason at times I struggle to trust my own feelings and truth.  Initially when I was nominated for the award I was happy my blog touched someone, but were they nominating me because you have to pay it forward when you participate? At the same time another part of me balked.  This isn’t really why I write my blog.

I wasn’t affirmed or validated much as a child.  Often I was told I was too big for my boots, or showing off, or that children should be seen and not heard.   So I am ambivalent about awards.  Never the less yesterday I chose to do something different and participate because sometimes its good to try new things.   I was a bit tired last night though after having to answer all the questions and think up my own.  Today I am wondering did I do what I should have done.  Should I have gone with my first impulse and just not participated in the award?

Maybe there is no right or wrong answer and I hope I haven’t caused others distress by nominating them.  There is no pressure to participate if you don’t want to. 🙂

Decisions, boundaries and self care

It was a tough therapy appointment yesterday.  I am really regretting having my tooth out.  I don’t seem to feel any better at the moment and not being able to chew food well is really affecting me.  I am aware that I need to be patient as what I am going through is as huge adjustment but I just wish I had stuck with the crack in the tooth as I am not really sure it was giving me an infection, as my body is still full of phlegm and gunk.  I also felt very disappointed in my therapist and wanted to throw the whole therapy over yesterday but at the same time I was aware of the state of mind I am at and it was poisoning my right view of the value of what Katina does give to me.  So I just went to it and fully expressed all my feeling to her.

She was amazing, she sat there and empathised and then apologised for influencing me because she had said to me several times “if you do have an infection it is probably poisoning your entire body”.  I am not sure that is really what has been happening, the poison is the anger I sometimes feel that I don’t use effectively to assert boundaries at times.   Anyway we discussed it all and I left the session feeling a whole lot calmer basically because of the empathy Kat showed to me.  And I am adult enough to know no one has the answers always for me.  They may be able to understand or empathise but they may not know how things will turn out for me if I make a decision and they can advise but they don’t have to live with the consequences which is something my niece and I were discussing the other day.

Have you ever decided you wanted to do something that may be good for you, but when you mention it to others, they try to dissuade you or pour cold water over your decision?  I think it happens a lot and its something we were also discussing in therapy yesterday, how do we know who to truly trust with our decisions?  After all no one else has to live our lives.

I have been on the end of discouragement when I have asked for advice on doing what would have ultimately been good things for me.  I look back to those times and see I didn’t stay strong and own my own power.  And afterwards I felt resentment but also had to accept I was responsible for the decisions and choices I make.  As a people pleaser it is sometimes hard for me to say I wont do something that I think may bring joy to another person or to take care of me when you are hurting or in need.  As I shared the other day, when I have the energy to give to others, I will give it, naturally it is what I want to do as an empathic person.  But there are times I just need to take care of me.  And I guess that is where discrimination comes in as well as a good sense of connection to my inner energy levels, feelings and needs.   What I am talking about here are boundaries and on some level we can say that on the spiritual plane boundaries don’t fully exist as we all come from the source, that grander sphere where we are connected to each other beyond words and other human constructs and as our egos form we learn what is ours and what is not ours if we are lucky enough to have good help to build healthy egos but if not we can be in trouble.

And that is why empaths and highly sensitive people can struggle a lot.  We instinctively feel the feelings of others and want to reach out and to do so is natural and good most of the time.  When others have defences against us though we suffer.   I heard a saying a long while back and its a major lesson that I learned in my last intimate relationship that a person can never reject you, just a part of themselves they see in you that they have not befriended in themselves.   This is the defensive ego that may want to reject you if you are feeling sick or vulnerable.  This is the protective ego that doesn’t want to see that you may have hurt and a deep longing for love hidden beneath anger. For if you think about it if we get rejected for anger the person is not seeing that on some level we felt hurt and are trying to get that hurt addressed.  Then the hurt has no where to go,  and we are left holding it and then as someone asked me the other day “where do I put this anger?”.  I responded by suggesting prayer.  It seems to me the only thing I can do when my anger gets too much, I pray to my higher power for help with it.  And if someone won’t address it with me and I see that my anger is justified I have to beware of how I relate with that person in future.  I may need to forgive so I don’t keep holding onto the pain and hurt myself more, but I may be better off not having that much to do with them if they express no concern for how their actions affect me.

It can take a long time for some of us (like me) to see we have the right to set this kind of boundary if people have blown us off before for expressing how we feel.  And we also don’t have to take every hurt we feel to someone else, for in the end its really up to us to care for ourselves and protect ourselves and we all have the right to do this .

If we were sensitive and hurt a lot in childhood.  If we were teased, humiliated, made to feel small, gaslighted or invalidated developing the wisdom and power to develop and set boundaries may be a process fraught with peril.  If we were led to believe that emotional abuse was not emotional abuse we may be very confused as to our boundaries.  That is why we absolutely need an empathic person to go to, to express our truth with and get a reality check.  And we need power and strength to know we have the right to take care of ourselves and that we are not bad or wrong or selfish for doing so.   And some of us can keep chosing to love even when on the end of shitty behaviour from others once we have learned to practice self care, we can learn to positively detach not with hatred and anger but with love, a true honest love that comes out of respect, maturity and a deeper empathy for suffering.

Listening with empathy

We all have a need to be heard at the deepest level.  The capacity for others to be receptive to our deeper true self, from our earliest years influences how healthy we become emotionally, how connected to our needs and feelings.  Learning to listen with empathy is a skill we need to master if we really wish to be there for others.

Listening with empathy requires giving up a self centred view of the world in order to participate fully in another person’s experience.  It requires focusing and paying attention not only to the words being spoken but also to gestures, body position, and facial expressions.  When you listen with empathy, you make a conscious effort to set aside your biases or any distorted thinking you tend to employ.  You learn how to connect with the other person’s emotions without being carried away by them, to step in then step back, reading the other person’s cues to judge when to move closer and when to give distance.  Part of the reason my mother was such a great empathic listener was that she understood how to live with ambiguity and the inability to find answers or solutions to all problems.

Listening with such clarity and depth of feeling that the other person truly feels heard is a kind of holy listening…… Empathic (holy) listening goes deep into the other person’s heart and soul to reveal what is hidden by fear, anger, grief, or despair.  This kind of listening can be taught.  It can be passed from one person to another.  We can learn how to listen with empathy by being around people who are empathic and who understand how to “listen to our souls in life.”

Empathic listening releases the compassion hormone oxytocin, which blocks the release of the stress hormone cortisol.  Your brain releases oxytocin when you feel understood and connected to another human being.  In addition to releasing stress and preventing the release of cortisol, this neurochemical helps us to live longer, promotes calmness, reduces fear and addictive behaviour and increases trust and feelings of security.  When we feel calm and secure, we are in a position to correct our distorted thinking.

Empathy is therefore strongly connected to validation and the above quotes from The Stress Solution : Using Empathy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Reduce Anxiety and Develop Resilience reveal how a child that is not responded to with empathy will find their body and brain flooded by stress hormones which leave negative consequences.  Invalidation abuse triggers a stress response in a person and then tends to amp up the stress response through negative thought leading to more painful feelings.  Difficult feelings can then intensify if the person is left alone with no empathic witness.

If we want to help ourselves when we are feeling flooded with stress it is so important to respond to ourselves with empathy or find someone who is empathic to share our feelings with. If we can learn how to respond with validation and empathy we can become soothers in the world and for ourselves.  Listening with empathy is such an important skill to learn.  Understanding the consequences of having lived with those who lack empathy is also important.  We cannot blame ourselves for having developed real scars and difficulties with anxiety or stress if we have consistently found ourselves in situations where we are consistently being treated with a lack of empathy.

Reflections on empathy, forgiveness and narcissism

I am prompted to write this after some comments on a post a wrote about forgiveness for our mothers.  I am aware that forgiving someone who doesn’t want to acknowledge hurtful things they do and has no interest in changing is the most unhealthy option for our own physical, emotional and spiritual health at certain points in our healing and recovery journey.  I think that when those who hurt us show no remorse or deliberately choose to remain unconscious its in our own health not to keep going back to have the rug pulled out from underneath us again and forgiving such behaviour is damaging for us.

When I attended AA and studied the Big Book which outlines a course of healing others have found and worked through via the 12 steps the way in which we were advised to handle this kind of thing was to be aware that the person concerned was spiritually and emotionally unwell themselves. We were advised to hand over our hurt so that it didn’t rebound on us and to pray for the person.  We were encouraged to recognise that we need not take on the hurt they were unconsciously enacting upon us.  That said it is not always an easy thing to do, brushing off hurt most particularly when that person may have been a parent, the very one that as a youngster we most needed to rely upon for empathy, guidance, validation and support.

Just think about that word validation for a moment.  It concerns the implicit idea that who we are and what we feel has value and meaning for us.  If we are repeatedly told that what we feel, say, think or do has no value, if we are acting purely out of our own sense of self that is authentic, that is a deep spiritual wound and it is damaging.  It can leave us with lasting scars that may or may not be conscious or unconscious.

But if you think about it more deeply, how people react to, treat and respond to us often has little to do with us but more do to with their own relationship to their inner world.  If a person was taught that feelings have no value, how are they going to honour yours?  If they haven an investment in you being, doing or acting in a different way, a way that doesn’t evoke their own wounds, black spots or scars how will they value what you do and who you really are when you are just trying to express yourself from an authentic place?

Can we forgive when we realise the other person is just a wounded, disconnected person who perhaps never had the benefit of inner sight or consciousness.  To my mind when we do this it shows we are showing empathy for them.   We are recognising that not everyone has access to all parts of themselves and not everyone is interested in self inquiry or self questioning.

As someone who never really got to develop a totally secure sense of self, it is also apparent to me that many of us, wounded in childhood go the other way.  Lacking a secure sense of self which involves being connected to feelings, needs and emotions in a healthy way we lack necessary spiritual muscles and an inner voice of self affirmation and so we tend to question, second guess or criticise ourselves all the time.

If someone acts badly towards us, instead of getting upset we may question if we did something to cause that hurt and if we look back to childhood we may have been accused of hurting others when really what we did had no malicious intent and was necessary for self care or self protection.

It is a common fact that people who suffer from an unhealthy narcissism never tend to look too deeply inside to question if what they did impacted on others in a hurtful way.  The narcissistically wounded would prefer to blame outside events, rather than look to any contributing cause that lies within themselves.  They may get easily offended if others question or criticise them in any way.  They find it hard to keep an open mind and also lack necessary empathic skills that would help them to know that other’s reality at times differs from their own.  They lack the capacity to put themselves in the other person’s shoes.

So often my own therapist reminds me when I go to her in a fit of remorse over some way I may have acted that lacked insight, saying “Oh God, I am just sure I am a narcissist”, she will remind me that we are all somewhere on that spectrum and that my own need to question my behaviour shows I don’t really have NPD.

Knowing that what we feel and need has value is important to our ongoing health as individuals.  Being able to stand up for these thing in a way that doesn’t ride roughshod over others is a huge part of becoming a mature adult who is able to live and relate in a world where opinions, feelings and needs of everyone vary widely.  Being able to hold onto our own reality when other’s reality varies is at times important.  Being able to open up to and encompass new points of view which take us beyond previously limited ones is important too.

At the outset of writing this particular post I actually titled it “If I had been allowed to feel and know and need what I really felt, knew and needed”, because having had my tooth out today has brought up so many previous experiences of feeling I was acted on by powerful others whose domination eclipsed my own view.  Perhaps due to the fact that the last time I the former dental bridge reconstruct I was emotionally abused by my ex for expressing the pain and so disturbing his sleep.  I had taken myself off into the toilet so as not to wake him up and had woke him up and so I got a ‘serve’.   I was not conscious that this memory was about but over the past few days abusive incidents I suffered at his hands are coming to consciousness.

In my life trying to play small so as to avoid abuse has not served me well.  Learning to swallow down or override what I truly feel, need and want has caused me so much pain.  Not being able to be with safe others who let me express my feelings has caused me so much damage and it made me SO ANGRY for a time, but then I was in trouble for being offensive for expressing that.  NO WONDER I WAS PISSED OFF.  Now I know that how I felt was real.  For a lot of my life I suffered invalidation abuse.  I was not allowed to feel and know what I felt and knew.  But the pain of that was what led me to here.  It formed the genesis of this blog in many ways.

Today I took a Panadol for the pain I am in.  I decided not to suffer more. Choosing to remove ourselves from harsh, unloving environments is similar.   Recovery means we recognise the damage that was done and call it damage.  But recovery also means we put a stop to further damage through self care, validating who we are, what we know and how we feel and showing wisdom as to who will and wont do the same.  Forgiveness for the abusers may not be necessary, but holding onto the pain can hurt.  Perhaps what I should be talking about in my blog is letting go, rather than forgiveness, letting go of the pain so that we can embrace peace, healing and recovery for ourselves.

 

The importance of empathy in healing past hurt and anger.

I love it when I get guidance to go somewhere, often to a bookshop or a library and the book I just need to read turns up for me.  It happened last week that I got that message on a brief window of time before my Thursday therapy appointment and came across Arthur C. Ciaramicoli’s book, The Stress Solution : Using Empathy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to Reduce Anxiety and Develop Resilience.   Personally I have never been a huge fan of CBT as I believed it encouraged sufferers to over-ride injury or deep issues of hurt with mental directions to reframe thinking that may be justified and bypassed the deeper feeling work that needs to accompany true healing.  This book provides the missing link in helping to show how old hurt that cannot be felt, understood, empathised with, expressed and resolved then warps our ability to think, interpret and trust clearly exiling us to a wasteland of anger, resentment and depression as a result.

I posted a poem yesterday on the sorry that my own mother has never really been able to say to me.  I have shared that my mother showed empathy for her own mother’s situation to the point she could never ‘blame’ her for hitting my mother and driving her so hard as a child.  This failure on her part to say sorry and to act wounded and upset when I try to point old hurts out had been a sticking place for me in the past and I have needed outside validation of therapy to help me face and address the painful state my own unresolved hurt, sadness and pain has left me in for years.   But now that I am facing having to have my front tooth removed tomorrow my mother is in an acute state of distress.  She sees how I have suffered and all the onslaughts my body has been through as a result of my childhood and the trauma of those years of accident, illness and loss and she feels bad.  But is still not able to say sorry about her part in it, only that she is sorry I have suffered.

A comment from a reader today made me think about how important sorry and empathy really are to healing our hurt, anger and distress and its the exact point that Ciaramicoli makes in his book.  Anger which goes around and around affects our neurochemistry and then can lead to all sorts of body issues later in life, including heart attacks and strokes.  I also believe it can be behind the development of many auto immune diseases.

If we were hurt in childhood we need to understand the nature of those hurts and not carry the anger on where it can poison other later relationships with fear, insecurity and mistrust, but our hurt needs to be expressed with someone who can validate it for us.   I made this point in a blog last week.  I mentioned how trauma expert Peter Levine has showed that if, when faced with a traumatic situation we have one person who can calm us and show empathy we are less likely to develop long term Post Traumatic Stress.  Empathy is the key that can then help us to rewire the mental negative thought forms of mistrust that accompany a childhood of loss, trauma, pain, invalidation or hurt blocking us from love and empathy in the present and future.

I highly recommend the Ciaramacoli’s book and below is an extract from it that I found extremely helpful to my own emerging understanding.  I am sharing it in the hope it will help others too:

When hurts accumulate without a positive resolution, we often lose ourselves in self absorption and resentment.  This kind of preoccupation is a tremendous drain on mental energy, leaving us with little capacity for interest in others.  Anger can turn to tolerance, however, when our perceptions change from fear to truth.   When we stop seeing others through the hurts of the past, when generalisations cease and we begin to perceive more objectively, we become more hopeful and optimistic.  We feel closer to people in our lives as we recover trust.   Trust is often correlated with happiness in communities or individuals.  When we trust others, we feel safe and calm.  We can then perceive more accurately and thoughtfully.  What we feel inside determines what we feel outside.

Once a person….harbours unresolved hurts, her anger and sense of helplessness can dramatically change the way (they) think and behave…. even a trauma survivor can return to a state of calm through meaningful contact with an empathic, understanding individual.  Such relationships make us more reflective and enable us to embark on a journey to learn what has troubled us, how to resolve our hurts, and how to move on.

Sadness is often seen as synonymous with depression.  Depression is often, in fact, an attempt to avoid the sadness.  Sadness is the body’s cue to stop, think, and work through what is troubling us.  People who don’t head this cue avoid examining their troubles, and the stress caused by avoidance becomes a way of life.  In essence, depression is often an avoidance of using the information sadness can provide.

We cannot resolve our thoughts alone.  Without input from others, we repeat our thought patterns over and over again and remain stuck in the mire of our own negativity.  This is a formula for continual stress.  By releasing ourselves from the mistaken beliefs that support our uneasiness with people, however, we reawaken our basic goodness and allow love and compassion to break through.  Our empathic breakthrough then removes the obstacles to seeing our world and ourselves clearly.  If (we) allow (ourselves) to be open and vulnerable, to share (our) hurts with others and accept empathic feedback – a courageous step for sure – (we) might ….(be) able to recover the spirit for living (we) once possessed…..holding onto anger and resentment ties us to the past and the story we created when emotionally distraught.

I would like to say here though, something he does not address and that is, it is no point sharing our feelings or vulnerability with those who will not validate them.  It is essential to this process that we choose someone who can validate that our pain and hurt at the time was real.   If we don’t get help to see how we were affected in a negative way we cannot fully address the sense of injury that occurred when we had to face such difficult and ultimately alienating experiences of abandonment or trauma alone, feeling our hurt, grieving for it and then allowing the outflow of that feeling to be shed and released is so important and we need validation and lots of loving affirmative support with this.

And then there comes a point where we have to make the conscious choice to open our heart and let the pain out, rather than close it tight shut again, locking it all back inside, running the endless negative, repeat, feedback button over and over and over again, which only ends up hurting us.   If we suffered abuse in the past we can let our anger be an informative guide of what may not be safe for us, ie, person’s lacking in empathy who lack the capacity through emotional insight to help us release and validate our pain.  For it is these people who trigger our stress response.  Recognising this requires we show empathy for ourselves and our healthy emotional boundaries and honour them.

Self rejection and self betrayal

Rejecting our feelings gets us in bad trouble, bad trouble indeed. Why do we reject feelings? Because they are uncomfortable, some of them. It is those uncomfortable feelings that we reject—feelings that lead to sickness, fear, loneliness.

We need to be gentler with ourselves. We need to embrace bad feelings as soon as they come up, just embrace and wrap our spacious Self around them. When we embrace, we love, don’t we? And it is love that is the healing Force.

https://celiaelaine.wordpress.com/2017/07/04/may-our-interior-be-healed/

I read a wonderful chapter in my book Soul Without Shame on self betrayal last night.  The author was sharing how he learned to betray himself in childhood as a result of how his parents reacted to him telling him something didn’t hurt him or he should have a different response to his own legitimate one.  In that moment, so as to not be abandoned emotionally he decided to self betray and self reject, it was pattern he learned to carry on siding with the outer parent who was now bought inside (or introjected as an inner critic) and abandoning his own inner child.

When we tell people they got what was coming to them or that they were let down in this way for a reason we forget that this is neither truthful or kind and comes out of our own defects of character or emotional blindness or disconnection.  If we learned early on to self reject we may not even be fully conscious of it.  We often as adults loose true empathy and understanding of a young infant or child’s plight.  They are not big enough to side against the parent, they cannot survive without them and so they have no alternative but to adapt.  Telling a child he should not act like a child or respond as a child is invalidation abuse and can fuck with someone’s head.  But how often do we tell ourselves this later in life, forgetting that if we are acting or reacting like a child it is because something deep from childhood is being triggered and we have work to do to stay with that young part of us as a loving adult in order to find out what it is and why it is that way.

The work of Margaret Paul as outlined in her book Inner Bonding helps us to do just that. She makes the point that when we choose to be a loving adult to our inner child we take the onus off others who are not really responsible for helping us with this healing.  (The exception being a therapist or sponsor who we may have asked to help us with this process.)  In the quote above and her blog Celia refers to this a part of ourselves as the spacious self.  It is the loving, wise, compassionate, nurturing part of us which is large enough to embrace all our feelings, of pain, hurt, anger, vulnerability, guilt and shame and surround them in love so they can be felt, processed, digested and understood.

When we do the opposite and buy into our culture’s and our parent’s or educator’s fear of such feelings, self betrayal and self rejection is the heavy cost and, since what we reject never can be destroyed or truly goes away, we bury it and we loose also our connection to joy which can only arise when we are most deeply connected to our heart’s desire or need which got so badly cut off when we were rejected emotionally and made the poor bargain to self reject or shut feeling and need down.

The undigested lump of what we rejected, buried or could not allow lies down, down  deep inside of us and tries to regurgitate at inopportune times.  And yet we need to develop the ability to see that these inopportune times are part of our soul’s critical agenda and it is a necessity for them to make themselves known.

I know in my own life I have spent a lot of my time trying to talk my way out of feeling a certain way or needing a certain thing.  I wish I had been able to own my own feelings and needs more honestly in my life.  I am sure I would not have suffered the accidents and deep confusion I have had I not been taught to self reject.  And yet I am aware the self rejection is such a massive issue globally and individually that many of us are working on it and who knows it may be the next evolutionary step forward for many of us.  Addictions are part of self rejection on many levels and depression too in many cases.

This is not to say that we should demand that all of our feelings and needs be met by others, when it is in their ability or interest to do so.  But if we are able to self accept then we will also accept that others have their own needs, limits, feelings and boundaries.  We won’t force our agenda on them as we know all to well the painful cost that comes when such a thing happens to us.  Its a fine line, tuning into our own heart, feeling our own joy and pain, wrapping love around us, filling up from inside instead of self rejecting, knowing that who we are is okay and extending that same love, respect and care to others who sadly may have learned to self reject too and force us to carry the painful burden of their own unresolved, deeply hidden feelings.

On Intimacy : our most important work

Until we can be truly intimate with the depths of ourselves I do not believe true intimacy with others is really a possibility.  Instead our drive towards togetherness or connection is always fraught with lack and most especially with the hunger for love, approval or acceptance that was not available to us in childhood from those others who were not capable of true emotional intimacy themselves.  As a result of this emotional dissociation and disconnection,  we become people who hunger and fear, seeking always that source of love and connection outside of ourselves that will make up for what was missed and exists now as a deep emptiness inside.  All our most important work lies in understanding the depth of that emptiness or wound so that we can answer with love and with coming into relationship with our emotional reality which has so much to teach us about inner intimacy and connection. Only when we develop this capacity within can we extend it outward.

Until we can know what our wounds were and feel and grieve them, until we can recognise our fear, shame and struggle as burdens from a difficult past and show love for ourselves and others in the midst of them we are not capable of a truly deep intimacy and love.

I have heard the term intimacy broken down to read as follows : Into me I see.  We need this depth of clear seeing to get in touch with our wounds and our longings and to find ways in which we can reach out to speak about and share them with others, not in a way that demands connection and love but in a way that removes the blocks that we carry as well as the defences against such love.  In opening up our hearts and minds with each other in this way we find connection, but also hopefully the support to reach further down and heal within through love what was hurt, exiled, damaged, lost or hungering before.

I am so grateful that in my own therapy I found a loving source of connection with a person who in having intimacy with herself and all human traits has been able to receive me and help me with mine.  She has  stood strongly by while I have struggled with a strong inner critic who is really full of fear and shame burdens passed down to me in my family.

However there are still times when I find myself alone and besieged by negativity and these are the times I have had to reach even deeper for a truly loving relationship with myself.  The critic often beats me up for all I haven’t achieved in the world but today I read these words and they made me realise that for the past 10 years I have been engaged with the deepest emotional recovery and discovery work on myself, that of learning to love and care for me.  I don’t see such work as selfish but as essential, for when I don’t care for and love myself I haven’t anything to give others and what I give is followed by resentment or sense of being emptied out or depleted.

So for all of you out there who may also struggle or beat yourself up with inner voices of ‘not good enoughness’ or other critical thoughts because you struggle with what society has labelled a mental illness when you are valiantly working so very hard to heal and find love within, I hope these words bring you some comfort and open up a light of truth which reminds you that learning to love yourself and extend that love outwards towards others are some of the most important things we can do to bring light to ourselves and the planet.  And that its okay also to struggle with the darkness because we all have it somewhere.

I sometimes worry that I’m not doing something more important with my life.  Caught up in day to day trivialities, it doesn’t seem I accomplish much.  Yet I forget that through all my daily routine, I am engaged in recovery.

As I grow in love, I worry less about doing something important.  Instead I stretch my abilities as far as they can take me.  My action now is a spontaneous expression of a loving heart.  I have done more in the past years as the result of undertaking emotional recovery than in the previous years without it.  To me there is nothing more important I can do with my life than becoming more loving.

Hope for Today

March 5