Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Days 11 - 16 Self-Compassion 101

Welcome to days 11-16 in my journey of Self Compassion 101 e-course by Becky at Raising Loveliness.

Day 11: Be Who You Are and Find Your Voice

"In what ways would your life change if you knew you were perfect as you are? What would you do differently? Where would you really shine?"
If I could totally accept myself as perfect just as I am, there would be no self judgments. I would be free, completely confident, and totally trusting of my intuition. If I was totally trusting of my intuition, I could find myself in a very different place right now because there would be no fear, just the instinct to act, and if combined with my stubbornness when I am determined to follow through with my gut, it could lead to my dreams of being a published author and professional artist come true. But alas, I do have fear, self-doubt, and I discourage easily when I have doubts about a project, so I give up and tell myself it isn't meant to be.

Day 12: Finding Self-compassion in the Reflection of Others

"Letting go is a vital part of making way for new opportunities. What gifts have you found in the process of letting go? How can you celebrate those gifts today?"
This question hit an emotional spot. In 2006 we said our final goodbyes to my Dad who was taken by lung cancer and made his peaceful transition in July. Letting him go was heartbreaking, but it brought me and Mom even closer together than we had been before. It led to me stepping up as the oldest daughter and becoming Mom's caregiver. She moved in with me and together we moved forward. I was there to hold her when she cried, and I was there during her first near deaths and intubations. We held tight to each other, and to my younger son Drew who was a teenager at the time.

One year ago on December 19th I had to say a very difficult emotional goodbye to my Mom. After Dad, a part of her didn't want to keep living; we all recognized this. Her health declined and yet she couldn't force herself to take control of her illnesses by taking care of herself. Mom struggled with COPD, Congestive Heart Failure, and uncontrolled Diabetes for six years. She had been intubated over a dozen times in those six years, but always pulled through, until Thanksgiving 2012. Immediately after our family dinner, she went into another episode, but this time she never recovered. She remained on life support for nearly a month until the doctors informed us she would never be able to get off the respirator. As her Power of Attorney it was my call to make, but I involved my sister and my sons (we all knew her wishes); so it was a family decision but I was the one to inform the doctor of our decision and to set the date. Although she was kept heavily sedated, her transition was not peaceful like Dad's. Her body struggled for a few hours after we took her off life support; it was awful and I think it will haunt me for the rest of my days. It was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do, but as horrible and painful as it was, it did come with unexpected gifts.

As Mom's Executor of her estate, I had to remain calm and strong to carry out everything that needed to be done. I think that is probably what kept me going. In this process I learned and grew, becoming stronger and more independent. I faced some harsh realities, and a determination to survive and keep going was born. I am stronger because of these experiences, but I still struggle with the heartache.

A few short months later, my sister had to move away. It felt like just yesterday that I was packing up all Mom's belongings and there I was packing up my sister's too. In August we said our farewells and I felt like I was losing my sister along with my Mom. It was difficult for both of us. My determination and positive attitude really kicked in to help pull this last minute move together and get it done, while trying to help my sister see the positive side. It sure hurt to see her go though. I think this goodbye was another strength builder... for both of us.

Change is often hard, but I believe it is for our higher good.

Day 13: Ways to Change Your Mind With Compassion

"How can you love yourself more by raising awareness?"
The lesson for this day was to practice assertiveness and raise awareness in others helps them reflect on their behavior, as well as help me to love myself and stand up for myself in a positive way. Being assertive in this way has  always been a struggle. I tend to stuff my feelings rather than defend myself. Defending myself seems too confrontational and I hate conflict; I'm a peacemaker. Learning to be assertive in this manner will take some practice; even right now my self-talk is telling me "no."

This lesson also included an introductory to Emotion Freedom Technique for Self-Compassion (EFT). I learned EFT a few years ago to help with my headaches, but this method is to aid in self-compassion. Basically, you tap points of your head and face while saying a positive affirmation, such as "I love and accept myself." You can learn more about EFT here.

Day 14: Are You Taking Care of Yourself?

"Do you feel that your needs are being met in all areas? [Physical, Mental, Spiritual & Emotional]  ...What do you need to add to your life so that your needs are met?"
This question reminds me that living the life of a recluse has its downfalls; I sometimes feel lonely, so I'd have to say that my emotional needs are not always met. As for my physical needs, that is a HUGE negative.  I need some kind of exercise, but because of my health problems and my laziness, exercise is a great big turn off. I don't like it, it triggers my COPD and my back problems, and I avoid it. Spiritually, off an on. I need better self-discipline in this area, and Mentally, is a yes; I work on my mental well-being daily; I have to in order to beat the gloomies and stress.

Day 15: Compassion For Your Whole Self

"Are you able to feel compassion for your past?"
Mostly I look back with regret, but I'm learning to recognize that I was working through some serious issues and did the best I could at the time with my lack of coping skills. If I really want to be frank about it, I know that the past happened for a reason and there really is no purpose in me damning myself for something that ultimately played an important role in my life as well as the lives of others. I believe everything happens for a reason for a divine purpose, but I still need to work on my self-forgiveness regarding my past. I can't help but view my old self with disgust, heartache, and guilt.

Day 16: Your Feelings Are A Miracle

"What sensations do I notice in my body right now?"
Well considering I'm still fighting off this virus that I have, I will start with the obvious and my my way down from there. (1) I'm quite disgusted with this nagging cough and my throat is feeling a bit raw from all the hacking, (2) I'm currently experiencing a hot flash (sigh), (3) my foot has gone to sleep and my left should is aching so I need to change positions, (4) I'm rather enjoying these questions to help me delve into my thoughts, (5) I am proud of the steps I have taken and the progress I have made in my life, and (6) my stomach is reminding me it is past my dinner time and I need to eat, and with that I bid you adieu.

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