In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Reflections in the Mirror

I began my year of “seeking to embrace” by taking the wise advice of a dear blogging friend, and took the first couple of weeks of this journey to just pay attention to myself. To stand still long enough to look in the mirror at my actions and words and really see how I treat myself, was difficult because I don’t like mirrors.

Before I started this period of looking in the mirror, I already knew that I didn’t always say the nicest things to myself and I’ve been known to give myself the finger upon seeing myself in the mirror on occasion. Nonetheless, these past couple of weeks have been eye opening for me. While I would never treat anyone else with such disrespect and meanness, it seems it comes naturally to treat myself in these ways.

I found that I beat the shit out of myself for the littlest of things. Not to mention for the big stuff and everything in between. My self talk of calling myself retarded, stupid, fat, ugly, worthless, mindless, a failure, and a host of other vulgar and less then kind words that I won’t repeat here, are things I would be hard pressed to call even an enemy,let alone a stranger.

I found that I don’t pay attention to things my body is telling me. Such as how much I am hurting or that an activity as simple as washing dishes  is irritating my neck and making the pain worse. I don’t use the bathroom when I need to and found that I hold it a lot. I don’t eat when I am hungry or drink when I am thirsty. I don’t stop and rest when I am tired or exhausted.

I don’t cry when I feel like crying. I don’t think about things that I should, in order to stay in denial.  I found that I feel a sense of shame and am usually clueless as to why. I discount when I am angry, sad or frustrated. Often times I feel like an inconvenience.

I rarely speak up for myself when I need or want to. I rarely ask for help when I need to. I found that I keep pushing through task after task when I shouldn’t. I don’t do much for myself beyond showering, combing my hair, putting on a little lotion and getting dressed because I cannot stand looking at myself in the mirror.

I found that I have perfected the art of ignoring the signs my body, mind, or soul are giving to me, instead of listening to them. I found that saying I love myself is more than just saying those 3 words and I’ve fallen quite short in showing this through actions towards myself. I found that I am even more of a bigger obstacle in my own way, then I previously thought.

I am ashamed. Admitting this to you, my friends, is embarrassing, but in order to keep moving forward with my seeking to embrace, I must leave myself accountable. The last thing I want to do is stay stuck “here” and beat myself up because of what I’ve realized in this long look in the mirror.

I  recognize that I have over come many obstacles in my life and I have come a very long ways on my journey of healing. In fact, I never dreamed I would be where I am right now. This makes me wonder about all the possibilities for my future. If I could over come all of those things, I can surely over come this.

I can embrace myself. I can.

Seeking to embrace myself is like entering a foreign country. I don’t know it’s language. I am looking at the road maps laid out before me and I am learning how to read the signs.

After a couple weeks of looking in the mirror, I am working on stopping myself whenever I catch myself expressing negative words towards myself. I am replacing them with more positive words. I am repeating affirmations to myself upon waking, and through out the day and as I go to sleep at night. I am visualizing embracing myself as I am right now. I still may not be spending a lot of time in front of the mirror but I am choosing to no longer give myself the finger when I look at myself.

I am spending more time in quiet prayer and reflective listening.

Each week, I am setting 3 goals for myself to focus on. This week it has been drinking more water, which is a habit I seem to have lost over this past year, saying affirmations daily and walking for 30 minutes each day.

During those weeks of reflecting I realized that I am constantly giving out and taking in very little. When I am at home I am in a constant mode of caregiving. When I go to work I am caregiving. Caregiving comes natural to me so it is hard for me to draw the line.  

I am giving myself “me” time by not doing any type of work during the little’s 2 hour quiet time, on the 3 days I am home during the week. Instead, I am allowing myself to write, read, rest or watch “The Talk” show. I am then walking for 30 minutes on the treadmill and then taking a shower in peace and quiet. I am giving myself this time and choosing to not feel guilty.

I choose to stand in front of the mirror and see the good. I know there are good things about myself and I seek to know them.  I know there are things I have done or do right. I know that I enjoy giving and that my heart bursts with love for others. I choose to believe that standing in front of the mirror will not always be this painful.

I started back at physical therapy for my neck and skull this past week. It is an intense therapy and there is only one therapist that does this kind of therapy within 100 miles of me, so I am driving an hour each way to see her and I am suppose to go twice a week. It’s been explained to me  that every cell of our bodies remember everything that has happened to them even if we don’t mentally remember. This therapy brings out strong emotions and causes my PTSD symptoms to flair so after one of my sessions each week I go see a counselor that specializes in PTSD. I know both of these are tools to help me move forward so as painful as they are, I choose to embrace them.

Between the snow, cold and pain I have been isolated and not leaving my home except for my 2 days of work and now recently the therapy. Even though it is below 0 today with a –30 wind chill, I will go to my kinship support group tonight and surround myself with people that understand what it means to raise your grandchildren. I will embrace this time away from all the “togetherness” we’ve been experiencing at our home.

I stand here in front of you and my mirror and I admit that I am feeling scared, ashamed and a little lost but I am finding my way. I am seeking to embrace this journey every baby step of the way.

Until next time my dear friends, hugs & love, Lori


PS Thank you to all of you that have given me affirmations and words of wisdom and support during this journey of seeking.


Colleen said...

Lori, there is so much courage and honesty in this post. I will be praying for you as you seek to embrace yourself. It sounds as though you have made a very good but difficult start.

What you are seeking to discover in yourself is so worth discovering. You are right that so often we are harder on ourselves than we would be on even our worst enemy.

Treasure yourself Lori. You are precious to so many people and infinitely precious to God.

Take good care of yourself my friend.

Jeannie said...

I could be reading a post written by me. Except that I haven't done anything really positive about any of it.

While I don't wish that anyone feel as miserable as I do, I am relieved that I'm not alone.

Just Be Real said...

Lori what a convicting post. Full of honesty. I see myself as well here among your words. Appreciate you so much sharing dear one. You are a breathe of fresh air.


Brian Miller said...

woot. i am glad that you are replacing what you are geting rid of...much easier than just trying to give up...and it sounds like you made an honest critique of yourself and are heading in a positive direction...

Hilary said...

You are one of the most open bloggers I read. I'm always impressed with what I see in you. I hope you'll learn to love what that mirror reflects back at you. Hugs to you.

LauraX said...

Lori, I am so proud of you, for your honesty, your tremendous courage not only in sharing your heart with us here, but more importantly, the courage to open your heart to begin to see the beauty that is yours alone, the beauty that is YOU. Keep looking in that mirror, keep being the nurturer that you are, it is such a wonderful quality and now it is time (as you clearly understand) to be the loving mother/caregiver for are off to a very good start...well, not a start, a continuation of this journey that led you up to this point so is wise to take small gentle steps my that you know what you need to know already, everything is inside of you waiting for you to say, "it's ok to come out now, it's safe, I'm ready, I'm present to all of my brokenness, I'm willing to embrace every shard, enfold it all into the wholeness of who I am...a radiant being deserving of my own love and respect first, and always."

bright blessings to you dear one.

LPC said...

And breathe. Be sure to breathe. Blogging is a great source of support, and take it very slowly and carefully.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Lori. My favorite thing to say to myself is "If you had a brain, you'd be dangerous." I can so relate.

Having said that - "I’ve been known to give myself the finger upon seeing myself in the mirror" made me just about die laughing. Probably because I can so relate. You are a gem, my friend.


Busy Bee Suz said...

You are taking so many positive steps towards embracing YOU.
So proud of you. SO glad you are taking time for deserve it.
I hope your therapies help you too Lori. You deserve good health as well as self love and happiness.

Linda said...

Lori, my prayer for you is that you could see in yourself what others see in you. Remember, God loved you so much that he sent His Son to ransom you from your sins. If He thinks you're that valuable, who are you to argue? :)

Natalie said...

Whoo Hoo! Wel done, Lori. *does the happy dance* WhooT!

Joyce A Gray said...

Your words and actions are so wise. I am going to try to follow your example, Thank you for your honest sharing.

She Writes said...

Lori, an honest post, if ever there was one. Beautiful you full of hopefulness and doing the work.

Deborah said...

Lori, you're post made me feel sad, but encouraged. Every day, you leave such kind comments on my blogs posts. You don't even know me yet, you take the time to reach out. And it puts a smile on my face. I think its wonderful that you shared your thoughts about how you feel about yourself so openly and honestly. It will help you release it all. So many of us feel your pain. We have been there, looking in the mirror and refusing to see the good that others seem to see in us.
You have dedicated your life to caring for others, I am so grateful you recognize that it's ok to take care of yourself...

The Incredible Woody said...

Much love to you, my brave friend.

Unknown Mami said...

I wish none of us ever had to deal with such difficulties. Sometimes, most of the time, our relationship with our "self" is the most difficult one to get right. You are dong a great job.

I woke up this morning having a panic attack and beating myself up about it. I needed to read this and be reminded that I deserve my own kindness and understanding. Thank you.

blueviolet said...

I hope you allow yourself to be all those things you haven't. You are too important. Don't ignore yourself.

Nessa said...

Loving yourself is very hard. I'm sure many people go through the same thing.

I used to do an exercise every morning where I looked myself in the eyes and said a list of about 10 things like:

I love you.
You are beautiful.
You are smart.
You are talented, etc.

It's very hard just to look yourself in the eyes let alone say these things and start to mean it.

I get into the blaming thing where I think everything is somehow my fault and then i remind myself that i am not really all powerful. Gives me a chuckle.

gram said...

hey there friend, remember that you are beautiful inside and out. instead of giving yourself the finger, give it to the person that tailgates you in a snow storm or honks their horn coz you are driving too cautiously, they are the ones who deserve the finger, NOT yourself. You are a fine person, you work hard, you put your family first, and you have a ton of love in your heart. alot of people don't have any of that. keep strong, keep pushing forward, and never, never think you are less than beautiful. have a GREAT weekend, stay warm, we had 27 below this morning...yuk.
Hugs my friend!

TechnoBabe said...

Good for you. I am cheering you on and believe me, I know about the difficulty in really looking at yourself in the mirror. Hugs to you and I wish you continued honesty and love for yourself. You are worth it.

Zella said...

Hi Lori. This road you are embarking on is the most important one, because if you cannot love yourself and feel at peace, what do the other things really count for ? I applaud your honesty and courage, and I wish you much strength on this journey. I'm 42 and I think I'm just now learning to love and appreciate myself. Everything falls into place when you're treating yourself well. Take care of yourself.

Katherine said...

Much love to you Lori, you are simply wonderful. Your posts never cease to amaze me.


mommytoalot said...

Morning Lori,
I think of you often and keep you and yours in my prayers nightly. I didn't realize how hard you are on yourself, I am glad you are taking the time to focus on you for once. It's tough, I know and although I am not aware of all the trauma you have been through, I can relate at times. I don't much like mirrors or cameras...i hate seeing life revolves are the kids and i need to take better care of myself. Both inside and out.
You are so full of positive energy ...use that for your beautiful self too
..thinking of you,
your Canadian friend,

wolfie185 said...

Dear one, you are on the right track. When I was reading this my inter voice was saying "don't go there alone!!" further reading showed you weren't. Correcting low self esteem and deep self exploration are wonderful things and bring about positive changes but it has to be done with a therapist, spiritual advisor, mentor or sponsor, what we find is sometimes scary. If we open doors without a guide, we tend to close them again and stay in the safety of the known sickness. Once you have the tools firmly inplace as a part of your daily living, you will be able use insights and awareness without them causing trauma. You have done the first step which is admitance, "we admit we are powerless over ------, and out lives have become unmanageable" congradulations!

Self shaming is a bitch to overcome. For the majority of my life others used shame words towards me, parents, kids at school, workmates, even friends and lovers. I then like you used these same ugly words or phrase towards myself. My favorite was "dumbass", I also called myself "freak". Through mindfulness today I rarely use such self deflating language, if I do I automatically tell myself "it's alright, you are only human, shit happens" I also take responsibility for wrong actions in a positive way, accepting I made a mistake without beating myself up over it. I have also put a loving spin on "freak", today I use it as a word of self acceptance, I am a bit of a freak and I am good with it.

"Me time" is important for all of us. We have to stop and take care of ourselves. This might be hard for you in the being but the more you practice the easier it gets. Being a caregiver can be a bad thing, I know this. We give too much and get sick and resentful, we become doormats. Again with practice you will find balance.

Please keep your expectations do-able, if you set the bar too high you will give up. What you are going is wonderful and it just takes time, it is about progress not prefection.

I keep you in my prayers.


Jacquelyn Stager said...

Lori, this was great to read. Actually I just recently heard this same sort of thing from another we often say negative things to ourselves that we would never dream of saying to others. I love your 3 goals for each day too, and that you are choosing to take time for yourself during the little's quiet time. This is going to be your best year ever, I just know it!
Sending lots of love your way!

Anonymous said...

Your self-talk and my self-talk have a history of hanging out together, and it's not good. I'm glad you are working to combat that evil (because yes, it is evil what we allow ourselves to think about ourselves). This was actually a discussion several moms had during a Cub Scout meeting this month. We need to support one another. I'm so glad you are treating yourself better, with love and respect. You deserve it!

365 Attempts (At Life) said...

"I found that I am even more of a bigger obstacle in my own way, then I previously thought."
I needed to read that, and remind myself of that.
Thanks for your raw honesty in this post. You revealed yourself, and yet it is all so relatable...if that helps you feel less alone. We are all on that journey too. Keep the dialogue open.

deb said...

Stay in this mindset.
You were created as glorious,
and believing that is belief .