Hi I am Terri, I am 48 and I walk with a cane. Imagine the story I could tell myself about this. Instead I am choosing to see that this is truly where I am right now and focus on how it is helping me, rather than judgment. I just don’t have the energy for judgement anymore.
It’s about accepting and loving yourself as you are, warts and all. How do I know this? Because I have gone from self loathing to learning, slowly, that caring for yourself and looking after your own health and well-being is essential before you look after the needs of others.
As my health took a downturn in late 2012, I felt like I was losing control. It was a combination of stresses really. I see now that the Fibromyalgia was showing up then with various symptoms but it wasn’t until I was literally forced by my own body to pay attention that I started waking up from the ‘unreal’ life that I had created.
This has not been a smooth process. The more stressful things became, the more I found ways to manage. Perfectionism, judgment and anger to name a few. Coping mechanisms and mindfulness are like a marriage made in…well..…reality. With mindfulness, you are met with the reality of your life moment to moment. So what happens is that you are faced with your own shit. The dramas that you create, or play a part in. Situations created with the habitual patterns of thought and behavior built on fear, but the fear is protecting you in a sort of fight, flight, freeze way and that is not helpful unless you are up against a bear in the woods, alone without bear spray shitting your pants. Just saying.
I have been working at untangling myself from these sorts of patterns and question anything that doesn’t feel good. I recently recovered the ability physically to actually feel in my belly so that means the tightness of my breathing, the spasms, and my ‘gut’ feelers (intuition) Each step has to be met with compassion.
If you have read this far, then chances are that you are a compassionate human and you feel something towards me like empathy. That feeling is what I have to turn towards myself. At each step. Literally. I have slowed myself down even more in an effort to truly start from the bottom up. Walking without support is difficult for me because at any time I can be hit with fatigue. If I rush through or try to ignore the fatigue it just hits me even harder.
I have struggled mightily with this in the past year and a half and it has only come to be in the last few months as my despair reached a new low, that I am able to start rebuilding myself. I don’t have it figured out. I will never have it all figured out and neither will you. True story. One of the key things that I have learned about life through this journey, is that it is really all about the love.
Unlike self-criticism, which asks are you good enough, self-compassion asks what’s good for you? – Kristin Neff