Monday, July 29, 2013

Taking Care of Myself Physically

The first things I learned about taking care of myself were extremely basic.  The beautiful lady I call my spiritual mother explained to me that to start with, my responsibilities to myself were things like going to the doctor for annual check ups, going to the dentist twice a year, eating nutritious food, getting as much sleep as I needed, keeping myself reasonably clean and pleasantly dressed.  I really don't remember ever having focused my attention on those things before and I was in my early 40s. 

I vaguely knew that those things were supposed to be done, but I had no idea that putting them first was my responsibility.  It took a long time before I was consistent at carrying them out.  I usually waited a long time before going to the doctor when I was sick, for example.  It seemed to me that other things were more important. 

It wasn't until I consistently went to the doctor when I was sick, that he figured out I had such severe allergies that early every winter I got upper respiratory infections which started with fall allergies.  Now it's been years since I have had the upper respiratory problems that used to start in late November and last until February.

I just ate whatever was handy and slept as little as I possibly could.  I was very thin and chronically sleep deprived.  If I sat down, I usually fell asleep.  I lost a few teeth before I learned to get myself to the dentist on a regular basis.

I still track my nutrition, exercise and rest to keep myself conscious of what I'm doing and whether I'm being responsible for myself.  I'm still a little slow about getting to the doctor, but I get myself to the dentist three times a year instead of two to prevent problems.

I still have a ways to go with nutrition and exercise before I can say I'm truly taking care of my physical self.  But I am a very long way from where I was.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Taking Care of Myself

Taking care of myself was not a concept I had ever heard of, let alone practiced when I entered adulthood.  In fact, I am still learning how to do it. 

I think that our parents and teachers believed that the way to bring children up in the right way and teach them what they needed to know, was to constantly point out what we were doing wrong.  Some of us, like me, had our spirits pretty bruised by all the negative input.  The result was that I came to believe that I was a very defective person, unworthy, and basically deserved every bad thing that could happen to me.

That way of thinking led me to never really thinking about what I needed to do to take care of myself.  I was halfway through adulthood before I even came across the idea of self-care.

With the help of a recovery program, some really good therapy, and lots of reading on the subject, I've arrived at a point where I take the idea very seriously.  When I fall back, I usually get bruised, so I work at taking care of myself every day.

As I visit with others who are using me as a sponsor in their recovery programs, I've noticed that we all have something in common when we haven't learned how to take care of ourselves - big fat ugly resentments against other people - sometimes very old ones that we've been carrying around for years.  We have chronic anger.  We're very judgmental of other people (a great way of distracting ourselves from the judgments we have about ourselves).  We complain a lot about everything.  None of this makes for anything like a great life!

Learning how to take care of myself (and I'm still learning), has taken years and years.  I'm hardly ever angry or upset about anything anymore.  That is NOT because I've found a way to make everything go my way, but because I've practiced acceptance of life on life's terms and because I do my best to carry out my responsibilities to myself instead of expecting other people/the world to do it for me.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sunday School Ideas

I don't watch the news very much because there's so much trouble in the world I can't do anything about.  I do try to catch up on what's going on every few days, though.

There's so much carrying on about the religious ideas regarding sex and sexuality that I am constantly amazed.  How that gets all mixed up with politics I'm not sure.  I read that Texas passed a law outlawing male masturbation (pro-life).  I wonder if that could actually be true.

Anyway, none of this stuff was in my Sunday school lessons.  What I heard was stuff like: love your neighbor as yourself, forgive others 70 times 7, turn the other cheek, feed people who are hungry, take care of the sick, visit people in prison, take care of children, God is love.  I wonder why none of that has snuck into politics.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

I Didn't Have Any Trouble Stopping Believing in Santa

In recent years I've realized that I had a lot of beliefs that I acquired as a child that are not true at all.  I doubt that anyone actually taught them to me.  It was just stuff I picked up that my child's mind formed into a belief.  It turns out that none of it is true.  And because it's not true, trying to live by those beliefs made my life very difficult and often painful.

I believed that:

  • it was possible to make other people happy.
  • I was supposed to do everything "right" and then I would have no problems.
  • the way to solve problems was to find out who was to blame and yell at them and complain to other people.
  • the way to get people to like me was to always do everything they wanted me to do.
  • the way to have prestige was to dress perfectly and look perfect.
  • I would be happy as soon as I got everything I wanted.
  • Being single meant you were unwanted.
  • The purpose of life was to acquire as much money as possible.
There are so many other beliefs that were kind of unconscious but ran my life that I can't possibly list them all.  It has been extraordinarily hard to get rid of them.  Which is kind of odd since they are so clearly wrong.  Just like it's really clear that there's no such thing as Santa Claus or the tooth fairy, and I let go of those beliefs without any trouble as soon as I got old enough to think clearly.

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