Ever feel like you are not supported by others? Many times I have fallen into the victim role feeling resentful of others for their perceived lack of support. it is easy to get into that negative spiral of feeling unappreciated and unloved especially when we have roles to play in supporting others.
It was interesting in Sri Lanka, to have first hand experience in understanding some of the challenges faced by the Haragama Shelter staff and to have the opportunity to offer some ideas for support, working together and connection. I use the word 'offer' because I want to remind myself of that unhelpful tendency I can have to try to fix a situation or to force my opinions on others, rather than to work together with them with respect and kindness. Aboriginal activist Lilla Watson's quote came to mind - If you have come here to help me you are wasting our time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine then let us work together. Thank you Cindy for sharing this with me many years ago.
At one time or another we may feel unsupported by work colleges, friends, or family? Rather than getting into that victim mode and resenting others for their lack of support we can ask ourselves a simple question. Are we supporting ourselves? Are we taking care of ourselves, so we can care for others? Are we practicing balanced self care?
We experience the world around us as a reflection of our world within. This is clear to me when I wake up grumpy and negative, my whole world looks crappy. So if my thoughts and energy are not supportive (like when I am critical and negative and give myself a verbal bash up) then my life will not be supportive of me. And I will see that negativity everywhere. So I need to take responsibility for supporting myself!
So how can we support ourselves in any situation? We can take action by........
1. Saying something kind to ourselves. As I have said many times practice being that kind, supportive and encouraging friend to yourself and don't listen to that critical task master, who is speaking untruths!
2. Think an empowering thought. I am enough! I can do my best to get this done! I am strong! Its like this now. What is my wisest response!
3. Some balanced self care. This will be different for all os us and well worth exploring. It is about a little indulgence balanced with boundaries and kind discipline, so we feel safe and secure. Not a good idea, to eat the whole box of chocolates! Some suggestions include ....
4. Asking someone for help
I often think others should be able to read my mind and know that I need some help. But of course, they can't and besides, often they have their own issues going on and may be unaware of my difficulties, especially, if I appear to have things sorted.
One of the biggest ways that we do not support ourselves is by not asking for support! It often takes courages to ask for help, but it is well worth it, as it has the potential to benefit both us and our helper as well. And it strengthens and deepens our connection.
In Sri Lanka I had the opportunity to connect and work together with the women there to explore supporting ourselves and each other and balanced self care. I will share some of the fun things we did next blog.
In appreciation for you all. Have a great fortnight!
This ‘It’s like this now! What is my wisest response?’ tool is so helpful. It has saved me from so much angst and unhelpful reactions to, 'what is happening now'! have spent way too much time arguing with reality (what is happening now), protesting that things should somehow be different from how they actually are! As Byron Katie questions “Got stress? You are arguing with reality.” Remembering to apply this tool again and again to ‘what is happening now’, instead of arguing against it is so liberating. Acceptance of how it is now and questioning what my wisest response is to what is unfolding allows me to find the blessing in a situation and turn a potential problem into an opportunity to learn and grow.
So how do I argue with reality? Arguing with reality for me is my non-acceptance of how things are and the protest that somehow, they should be different from how they actually are!! And as Byron Katie says it is stressful! I was reminded of this several times during my recent trip where I had the opportunity to practice acceptance of many so-called unwanted situations and remember to apply a wise response (although, not always on the spot!). Having done my best with a wise response, I can choose to let go of the result and trust all is unfolding as it is meant to be. This is liberating and allows me to find the blessing or life lesson and turn the so-called problem into an opportunity to grow and learn.
I usually argue with reality when things are not going the way I think they should. Like when we found ourselves on a walk in the beautiful hill country near Ella and we got lost, plagued by leeches, wet may pants to avoid a leech on the bottom and fell in a stream! My protests of ‘the map should be better, they should have told us about the leeches, this shouldn’t be happening, this is going to be a disaster, swearing and hysteria…….etc’ were certainly not helping the situation. Protests of blame, nonacceptance and fear of the future are certainly not my wisest response to ‘what is happening now’ - ‘lost and leeches’. Fortunately, Kate kept it together for both of us and found a reference point to get us going in the right direction toward home. So, what was the blessing in this situation? To accept, look for the wisest response and trust. All ended well, we met some lovely people who helped us, and had such a good laugh and fun on our adventure. We discovered that leeches are harmless, our bites finally stopped bleeding, we had fun turning our room into a first aid centre and have a story to share!
Another potential argument with reality was when I found myself at the airport with excess baggage! I watched my mind go into blame, victim and criticism mode. Useful? No! Instead I accepted the situation and decided I would see the excess baggage money like the money I could have spent on a business class upgrade. So now I was travelling business class, well not really, but sort of, as it transpired. It was a full plane and I found myself seated next to a woman whose boyfriend was seated next to a toddler, a few rows ahead of us. I offered to swap seats with him so they could be together. ‘Thanks, but no need, I think my boyfriend has sorted it” was her reply. Shortly after take-off they both disappeared down the back of the plane leaving me with two seats to myself! Thank you for my business class upgrade!
And yet a third potential argument was when I was attempting to set up a skype English language class between Anne in Australia and the women at the shelter and discovered the shelter did not have internet or a computer. Again, what is required is acceptance and a wise response! Miraculously we found a way thanks to a computer found in a cupboard, a dongle, Janaki's husband and daughter and a helpful Belgian student.
I also realised I can argue with reality when things are going ‘right’ too. Like when we found ourselves in the most wonderful Geoffrey Bawa Hotel in the jungle in Kandalama! I argue with the fact we are staying there the night by telling myself "it is too extravagant, I am not worthy of being there, or trying to justify it, etc…' And I am there, and it is paid for! Instead of arguing, a much wiser response would be to accept, appreciate and enjoy it!
Other useful tools that I had the opportunity to use whilst away included gratitude, patience, and appreciation. I was often reminded how important it was to do my best to connect with others respectfully and in appreciation. More about this next fortnight.
In appreciation for you all
Sometimes my reactions to what is happening is not in alignment with bringing my 'best self' to a situation. These are times when 'I feel out of sorts'. Recently I learned a helpful technique to check in with myself when I notice a reaction which is outside of the best I would like to offer! This useful tool came from Shadi during my participation in her Purpose Discovery and Strategy Accelerator course! This is a great course - you may want to check out the link here!
So what do we do when we feel 'out of sorts' and unable to respond in a way that is in our and others' best interests? Maybe we are involved in an unhelpful blame or victim game, ruminating on wrongs or negativity, complaining, bitching, or being unfriendly! Shadi advises when we are mindful of such 'out of sorts' behaviour we HALT and ask ourselves ......
I can remember having teenagers who would arrive home from school hungry and would be displaying all sorts of 'out of sorts' behaviour. As soon as some food was supplied things usually settled, with more peace and rationality returning. They were hungry and unable to bring their best selves home!
At times I can experience a low level irritation or underlying stress for no apparent reason. When I notice this a great panacea is to take some deep breaths, do some yoga, go for a walk, run or exercise or take a 5 minute shavasana (with my lavender eye pillow!)
Sometimes, again for no apparent reason, I can catch myself feeling a little low, lonely or isolated. Although, I must admit to being much happier in my own company these days I understand that balance is needed. So, when I detect this low level lonely feeling, I try to remember it is my little nudge to connect. I find it helpful to connect with myself first and then maybe connect with others, by ringing someone, writing a text, going for a walk and smiling at all I pass or letter or doing some kind deed for someone else.
This is an important one for me to notice, as I am certainly not able to offer my best self when I am feeling tired!
When I was being a teenage 'pain in the bottom', my mother used to say to me "Maree, you over tired". Not just tired but over tired! So making sure I take time to rest, get enough sleep or do a '5 minute shavasana pick me up' are all important to allow me to offer my best self!
So, the next time you are feeling a bit 'out of sorts' and maybe not in a position to offer your best self HALT and attend to some self maintenance. Do what is needed to allow yourself to be that more positive force in the world!
Sending you all peace, love and best wishes from Sri Lanka!
If you'd like to connect further, please get in touch to ...
Find out more about us and pom-melbourne.com
We all know the power of gratitude and positivity on our state of mind and over the years I have written many blogs about these amazing tools. I am always grateful of a reminder to practice both gratitude and positivity, as I can slip into unhelpful habits! The timely reminder came from my friend Shadi, during the course I am taking with her. What I love about this reminder is it simple and practical with a powerful truth and meaning.
As I understand it, and believe is true - Gratitude leads to Optimism which leads to better choices with leads to better results (good things happen) which takes us back around to gratitude. An upward spiral! And the converse is true too - Being ungrateful leads us to be pessimism, which leads to bad choices which lead to bad results which brings us back around to pessimism. A downward spiral!
This for me draws that link between gratitude and optimism and how they work together so beautifully. It is not always easy to be grateful especially when things go wrong. If we can be grateful even when mishaps happen, by seeing them as opportunities to learn or grow then we can remain on that upward spiral and prevent unwise choices.
I was going to present you wiht my diagrammatic representation of this timely reminder, but had a much better idea. I asked Sue to paint it for me and as you can see a picture tells a thousand words. I love the grateful optimistic surfer riding the ups and downs - I hope you can see the joyful face that Sue has captured in her amazing way.
There was for me, another beautiful reminder in the story of Sue's paintings. I noticed she had misspelled pessimism as pessimisom (I am gratitude for spell check on the computer, as I can't imagine what interesting words these blogs would have in them). Sue's response was initially to say she would re-do it. Then with a laugh she popped a 'oops' on the words. This was a lovely illustration of turning a 'so called problem' into an opportunity for gratitude and optimism. How easy it is to give ourselves a hard time over a mistake. When we do this we miss an opportunity to learn and be authentic, grateful and optimistic! So, up with optimism and authenticity and o course up with gratitude too. I am back onto keeping my gratitude journal, maybe you would like to join me!
Whilst preparing for my trip to Sri Lanka I found lots of amazing things hidden in the back of my website! I found there a course I had developed on what I like to think of as the 3 Foundational Practices (Gratitude, Meditation or Contemplation and Kindness) and another one on Kindness to Self. I am enthused to get these up and running over the next little while and will keep you posted.
I feel like I am taking you all with me to Sri Lanka and am looking forward to sharing a fun adventure with you all.
If you'd like to connect further, please get in touch to ...
Find out more about us and pom-melbourne