I'm on a journey to find health and happiness through a more holistic and green lifestyle.

I find the world to be abrasive. =) That is to say, I feel the need to armor myself, physically and emotionally, in order to face life. Don't we all? Maybe. For whatever reason, it has become a priority in my life to rid my immediate environment of irritating things. And I'm sensitive! So there is much work to be done. But. I have thought for a long time that the things I come in contact with every day, and the stuff used to clean and maintain these things, need to be gentle and non-toxic. I have had eczema my entire life. For a long time I just dealt with it, and accepted that sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's not, and that it will fluctuate a lot. Gradually over time I have come to find that certain things, fabrics, cleansers, materials, are more irritating to my skin than others. Stress can exacerbate it. In more recent times, I have realized that every aspect of my life improves when I improve conditions for my skin. Hah! What a concept! Thus my (long time) interest in going green, and my more recent desire to live a more holistic lifestyle. (I think I've felt a desire for a long time to live in a harmonious way with myself, my surroundings, and nature, but didn't have a name for it.) Anyhow, this blog is a journal of my trials and errors, and basic crooked path to find a balanced and peaceful existence for myself and my family. Thanks for your interest! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Taking ME out

While driving in the car today, I had a brainstorm. A thought storm. I was thinking about life events. And my perception of them. And how some things just hurt, on and on and on. And I had an idea. A way of changing my own way of seeing things that have happened to me, around me, involved me. If I take myself out of the spotlight, it changes the focus of the event. For example, instead of saying, "I can't believe that happened to me." (Whatever the situation might be) Try saying, "I can't believe that happened." The first sentence, "I can't believe that happened to me" immediately identifies a victim. Yourself. And that, for me anyhow, results in feeling sorry for myself, wanting to nurture poor me, and to wonder, endlessly, how that could have happened. Why. The second sentence identifies an event. Yes, one that I was a part of. And yes, one that resulted in confusion and possibly hurt. But it changes the focus. Instead of immediately identifying myself as a victim, it identifies a situation, an event. It's objective, rather than subjective. And I don't know about you, but a objective situation puts me in a position of wanting to figure it out. To study it. To see what could have been different, or why it might have resulted in what it did. A much less pity-me, helpless, endlessly confusing situation. Does that make sense?

I think about being a mom, and the times when I try to comfort my child, who has been hurt or confused by something in his/her life. Such as another child at school saying something unkind, or acting in a way that seems wrong or different to my child. I find myself trying to explain to the child that while yes, the behavior is out of the norm for this reason or that, there might be a reason the other person is acting in this way. I ask my kids to keep in mind the typical behavior of that child. And to compare this behavior to what they know of their typical behavior. And to understand that something might be going on in his/her world that is causing them to feel off. To try to make objective what is so easy to make subjective. Understand that the other child's behavior probably has very little to do with them. So easy to say, right? But do we do that for ourselves? Hardly. If someone acts unkindly toward us, are we not quick to think unkind things, and to wonder how the heck they could act that way to us? To US? I do. Sometimes.

I had a friend who acted in such a way that it has baffled me for over a year. I felt victimized. I felt hurt. I felt targeted and dispensable as a friend. I have not been able to make any sense of it, and the confusion around it has not diminished. Today I decided to try thinking about it in this new way. Instead of thinking, "How could she act this way toward me?" I changed it to "How could she act this way?" I took the ME out of it. And it changes the situation. It does. It makes the behavior, the action, about her. Not about me. No, it doesn't change the fact that due to her choices our relationship changed, and there have been hurt feelings. But, it makes the focus of the situation, in my eyes, completely about her. And that makes it easier for me to swallow.

Try it with anything in your life. "Why is my child acting like such a brat to me today?" Instead, "Why is my child acting like such a brat?" That makes the behavior about the child, not the parent. Then the parent can start to think about the behaviors as a problem to be solved. Something that can be worked on and possibly fixed. It takes the victim out of it. It actually returns your power, if you think about it. Instead of thinking something like "Wow, poor me having to put up with this" it could become "I have an opportunity here to help this little person sort out what is bothering him/her." Empowering.

You find out you've been laid off from your job. Instead of thinking "How could this happen to me at a time like this?" try "The company has had layoffs." Objectified. It changed your role in the situation from victim to participant. Much different. I think.

As a parent, we learn that children fair better when they feel in control. Right? A child who is told that he/she must do A B and C might rebel against that idea, but is less likely to fight it if given the choice of doing A, B or C first. That child feels more in control of the situation, and is less likely to fight it. It is the same with adults. You have several tasks you need to get done. If you must do them in a certain order, perhaps you feels begrudged. If you can choose in what order they get done, you feel more in control and better about it. Instead of it being "I have to do all of these things" try "these things need to get done".

I dunno. I like the idea of changing my thinking around things. Maybe this comes automatically to some people. For me it does not. Not that I go around feeling sorry for myself all the time. I don't.  But I have been lately. I have a hard time understanding some situations, and I do sometimes wonder why such and such has happened to me. And I have trouble letting go of things that I don't understand. I was going to say something here along the lines of "And life has thrown a lot at me lately." Oops. That's old speak. New speak would be something like, "There have been a number of challenges lately". So I'm going to try it. I'm going to take recent life twists and turns, and I'm going to "take the ME out of it". I hope by doing so I can put ME back in. Know what I mean? Feel in control again. Feel more confident about life events and what I can do to look at them as issues to be addressed and not so much as boulders on my shoulders. 

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