How can you love yourself? Through simple acts like eating good food, getting enough sleep, going for a walk, listening to the birds, getting together with friends, or reading a good book. It can be through more complicated actions like learning to knit, getting a massage or going on a vacation. It’s up to you to love yourself through the gift of self-care. 🙂
Sometimes we must unravel so we can be properly knit back together, the way we were meant to be. Prior to going through therapy, I was generally an easy going person, at least on the outside. As a child I learned to appear “perfect” so others would like me. It wasn’t a sustainable approach and by my late 30’s I completely imploded, shattering the perfect image I unconsciously worked my whole life to maintain. When I embarked on my healing journey, I noticed I wasn’t so agreeable anymore. If someone offended me, I would speak up in a blundering hurtful way. I didn’t know how to have a productive, healthy voice. I was practicing skills I had not used before. In my “perfect” state I brushed away offenses, “No problem, I ‘m fine.” But I wasn’t. I was just shoving all that hurt deep inside for the sake of being liked. Practicing speaking up was hard at first, then it got easier and more productive.
Now, I’m noticing a new development. I don’t always desire to say anything. It takes more to offend me. I’m noticing that times when I used to be easily hurt I am now not so bothered. I’m not shoving the hurt away, it’s just not there. I have an increased capacity to stop and understand this other person is not likely trying to hurt me. That perhaps their sharp edges are unhealthy ways of protecting their tender parts and they don’t know another way yet to deal with that.
I am certainly not saying this like, “Oh, look at me! I’ve got it all together.” Oh heck no! Anyone close to me knows all to well that I still have work to do. I am not tooting my own horn but rather the horn of the power of dealing with your inner garbage. I’m noticing as I go through this healing journey a sense of becoming who I was meant to be. The me I thought I was supposed to be was a very messy and hurtful product. 39 years worth of knitting together was unravelled to begin anew. 15 years later I am still seeing the benefits of the journey. I have a long way to go. I am not fixed, just well into the process. I am so grateful we can change. I am grateful we can unravel and be reknit into the creation we were meant to be. Healing is possible. Wounds from the past do not have to dictate who we are forever.
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Sometimes we forget that people are simply in need of being seen right where they are. When we meet a very tangible need, it can pave the way for a person to move forward. This is true for my daughter, Anna. She is still in Durham, NC almost four months since her lung transplant. Unfortunately she got an infection that put her in the hospital for five weeks from December 8 until January 12. She left the hospital weak and discouraged. What she has needed since then is listening and space to grieve the life she does not have. This has helped her gain motivation from within to get stronger emotionally and physically.
In Kenya, it means cleaning the wounds of a woman after an assault. The following is from a friend who is meeting the needs of the forgotten and outcast:
“We had the first aide kit out early this morning.
One of our Addiction Assistance members had been badly beaten.
Her tears mingled with ours as we cleaned her wounds…
She had returned to the bar looking for a man who would exchange sex for food for her children. They were hungry. She was beaten in the process.
Today she will start learning to roll paper beads so she can provide food with dignity!
All of our beadwork is providing a safe stepping stone out of addiction for people! As one heals and finds a job, we can invite another to join us!
If you’d like to help in a very practical way, please check out our Etsy shop!!”
Who is in your path today who needs a very basic need met? Perhaps it is a listening ear or the reminder they are seen and loved.
We rush through our days, flitting from event to event but often forget to stop and savor the moments. Life becomes a blur. We lose our purpose (or never stopped long enough to even ponder what it might be). Maybe right now, in this moment, you can stop. Stop reading and just be still. Notice your breath, what it feels like to breathe. Notice what’s around you, the sounds, smells, sights, air. Feel your body. What’s it like to be in your own skin? Notice tension or pain. Let your shoulders relax. Unclench your jaw. Breathe. You can do this throughout your day. Take time to be still and simply notice (without judgment) what’s happening the moment.
I believe we can take the dawn of a new day and apply it to every moment. Each fresh start brings another opportunity to do something better, change a behavior, or try again. Sometimes we need that reminder as we step into a new year with intentions to change something that we don’t like about ourselves, our job, our location…
Sometimes we get stuck thinking we must be perfect or don’t bother, but as Yoda says, “Failure, the teacher is.” We learn so much when we pick ourselves up and get back in to whatever it was we were trying to do differently. Add friends, supporters, and encouragers to the equation to create a beautiful mix of grace and connection that can exponentially increase our chances of creating true change.