Category Archives: Radical Acceptancce

managing overwhelm

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download.jpgI don’t like feeling overwhelmed- and its something that I feel happens to me quite a lot. I readily admit, most times it is of my own making- but whether its my fault or not is slightly irrelevant at this point, because when you experience those episodes the blame game is usually totally counter-productive.

Usually it is the everyday things of life that I find more overwhelming- cleaning, washing, cooking, taking the dogs for a walk… very occasionally it might be because I have a lot on at work- but that is actually quite rare. It’s the ‘normal’ that can reduce me to tears- especially a mouldy fridge!

A few weeks a go I had a few precious hours with Sandra driving home, and we were talking about this. I am still meandering over two things she said, firstly, after 25 years of friendship she said she had never heard me articulate the reasons for my difficulties with the everyday stuff- and that knowing the background was helpful to her. And she was right. I don’t think I’ve really told people why- not because I haven’t wanted to- but I’ve never listened to myself long enough to fully understand myself or take those things in to account. She reflected back to me that she could understand a bit more why I was like I was… I was really surprised…. to me the reasons for my problems are usually totally irrelevant… I always have a get a grip kind of attitude to myself and just get on with it. The problem is, that attitude can only get me so far. Most of the time I can bully myself in to action- but there are times when the overwhelm is so great that I can’t muster the inner drive to push through. It keeps coming back to kindness.download-1.jpg

Now, granted, Sandra is one of lifes particularly kind people- she is just one of those lovely, generous people who is just so accepting and patient… but in those moments I realise that being like that is so much more pleasant than being a bitch to myself. She validated me. She wasn’t pandering to my weakness, she wasn’t excusing my tardiness… she just said she understood a bit clearer why I was sometimes the way I was.

And I want to offer myself that gift. Instead of berating. Or shaming. Or cussing myself. I want to show a little of Sandra’s love to myself. It is so much more lovely. Thank you Sandra for modelling that to me.

download-2.jpgBut the other extremely practical thing she said,  has really helped! We talked about, thinking about things as a whole- for example, cooking a meal- I have to get psyched up for a) shopping for the food, b) preparing the meal, c) eating the meal and d) then clearing up the kitchen. In my brain I psyche myself up for 4 different elements, and usually, I’ve given up after point 3- and it could be days before I clear up. Sandra just suggested- making all four parts- one. And it has really helped!

I make breakfast and I put the marge back in the fridge. Done. Finit. Finished. I put the plate in the dishwasher- dude, complete.

Doing the washing- putting clothes in the washing basket, putting in the machine, doing the wash,hanging up and then putting away are all part of doing the laundry. They are not separate jobs they are part of the one. It’s helped me a lot. It’s an acceptance of the situation. It is what it is.

Once again, I come back to kindness and acceptance. They’re not going away- I just need to dive in. images.jpg

Thanks for listening.

 

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clicks of clarity

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About 2 weeks ago, while on holiday, I had what I call, a click of clarity, I love them… those moments, when you can just see things clearly for what they really are. Sometimes they are totally unexpected and not even related to the current activity, but they just appear and you’d be stupid to ignore. This one was regarding my face, which as some of you will know has been a long term, ongoing struggle for me.

I was lying down on the sofa, and I just thought… my face is never going to change the way it looks- I have no intention of having more plastic surgery or cosmetic enhancers… my face will always look like this whether I like it or not- so actually, if the face isn’t going to change, your attitude better. CLICK. Just like that. After decades of therapy, I had that one thought and its changed me.

My face ain’t changing. So I have to. And I will.

When I don’t blog, I use a private journal. The journal is for all the stuff that is definitely not suitable for public consumption. But today, I will type out a letter I wrote to  my face on 1st August. This is uncomfortable for me, but I know I have to state the intention publicly- and for me blogging is an easier way than telling people (not sure I could do that yet). So here it is… unedited… just as it is, just as I am…

1st August 2017.

Dear Face,

I am sorry. So terribly sorry. For all I’ve put you through. Others have hurt you too, ut I know what I’ve done has been so much more damaging and deep. I have been cruel, neglectful, invalidating and abusive. So awful. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for functioning despite everything you have gone through. Thank you for being so patient with me. I place a marker in the sand- from this moment on my relationship with you changes. I give you my word and my intention. I can’t promise I won’t ever fall or slip in to old patterns, but I can promise as soon as I notice I wills stop I will not indulge the abuse. I will acknowledge it and let it pass- but I will also treat myself with compassion in these failings.

Face, I will need to develop my ability to listen to you and you will need to develop your voice. I know all the abuse has silenced you and you will need to grow in trust of me again. Again, I can’t promise I will never get it wrong but I can promise my desire and intention is to validate you and yours experiences. Keep talking and I will keep listening.

I accept you totally as you are. Your eyes and nose aren’t going to change – I’m not putting you or me through surgery so this is the way it is. I can’t change the way I look and I’m sorry that I’ve been so resistant to you. I’m sorry for the years I have been desperate to look different. I’m sorry for the way I’ve blamed you for everything. I’ve laid it all at your door. The whole lot:

  • rejection by mum
  • being single
  • the reason for my vulnerability to predators

There may be a grain of truth in all of these- but the truth is also that IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Face, you are the way you are. You didn’t ask for it- and you are not responsible for other people’s reactions to it… mum, dad, club, peers strangers and most importantly myself. I have made the choices I have- not your fault. I’m not judging myself for those responses- I have done what I’ve done usually because I’ve tried to survive. I have survived. Nut now to live. Cant change what I’ve done but I can change what I do. Wow,such an important moment. I relish this moment: my face isn’t changing so I have to- actually ‘have to’ isn’t the full picture, I choose to… I want to… I really want to…

Facce- you are amazing. You see, smell, speak, breathe, communicate- wow, you are incredible, just incredible.

I don’t want tot insult you by not being authentic, so I’m not yet able to say you are beautiful etc, but with integrity I can say, I accept you the way you are. And I really hope to grow in my love and appreciation of you. Not sure what that really looks like but its got to be better/ different to how things have been until now. I want to look at you with:

  • delight not repulsion
  • compassion not criticism
  • kindness not cruelty
  • to cherish you not to abuse you

Face- may you be safe: safe from the judgement of others and safe from the judgement of myself

may you be happy: delight in your uniqueness, celebrate your quirkiness and glory in your radiance

may you be healthy- may your eyes continue to see, your ears continue to hear, your nose continue to breathe and your out and teeth be healthy and whole.

Your face is welcoming- your smile is radiant and your laugh is infectious. Your lips are beautiful.

“People will stare. Make it worth their while.”    Harry Winston.

may your face be at peace: with itself, with me and the rest of the world.

A new adventure together- not sure where its going and what it looks  like- but things will never be the same- they can’t, because my heart has changed.

“I love you just the way you are”

Love Hepzibah.

Thanks for listening.

 

Restlessness

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I am restless. I am over tired. I can’t focus and all this leads to frustration.

So many things to do. Nice things. Necessary things. Creative things. Important things. And I can’t seem to do any of them.

I have school work to do. Sewing projects to start. Knitting projects to complete. De-cluttering. Tidying up. Marmalade to make before the oranges go off. Christmas presents from last year that need finishing and giving. Putting away the washing (still hanging up from 2 weeks ago). Posts to write. Books to read. Bills to pay. And I can’t seem to do any of them.

The restless-ness is one of my ‘worse’ feelings. I can’t bear being unproductive. If I don’t achieve something- I’ve failed. I am happy for that achievement to be small e.g. putting away the washing… but it has to be there. And it isn’t there.

It’s Saturday morning in the UK. I’ve been awake since early. I’ve talked to myself and told myself to chill. Take a day out. Rest. Penelope wants me to just do things for pleasure- try and raise my mood. But achieving/producing is my pleasure. I love turning old curtains in to new aprons. I love forming a cake from egg and flour. I love seeing a black and white page transform in to a blaze of colour. So what do I do about that… when my pleasure is derived from the very thing I can’t seem to do at the moment?

I suppose I have some options.

  1. explore finding another source of pleasure. (definitely worth doing any way)
  2. Get a grip and get off my arse and do something or
  3. Follow the DBT way. The DBT way says ‘radical acceptance’. I stop fighting the restless feeling, and accept it. I accept the mess. The unfinished. The plans that aren’t happening. I accept things as they are today. In this moment. I may not like being like this. But today, I am like this. Accepting it, disempowers it. Accepting it, causes rest.

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So today, instead of looking at all the things to do and getting frustrated that they aren’t getting done. I will accept, I have unfinished things in my life. When I have more energy, they will get done. When I’m on form, I can achieve a lot. But at the moment, I can’t.

So today.I am restless. I am over tired. Can’t focus… and that is just the way it is.

 

Thanks for listening . Unknown.png