There are those words. Hurtful words. "Unstable." "Weak." "Crazy." Anyone that has been called these knows what kind of pain accompanies these words.
Anyone that has been called these knows the kind of pain that accompanies these words.
But what are you really? It’s never okay for someone to call you these names. Ever. Even if your actions are erratic. Those actions don’t define you. We all go through periods in which we might do things that aren’t characteristic of us. Maybe because it’s a more stressful time in our lives. Maybe you haven’t gotten as much sleep as you usually do. Maybe because you’re dealing with a lot all at once.
We might not always handle things the way we’d like to all the time.
This doesn’t mean that we abandon all responsibility, but that we take responsibility for what we did, we learn from it, and we forgive ourselves.
When you hear these hurtful words, what’s your immediate reaction?
If you’re angry, let yourself be angry. If you’re hurt, allow yourself to feel it. Ask yourself what you need. Acknowledge what you’re feeling and press the pause button. When we push away our feelings, they end up arising at a later time. But if we let ourselves feel what we’re feeling, we can feel it and then ask ourselves what we can do about it; we can prevent ourselves from reacting.
The reason that I don’t use the word “overreacting” ...
...is that that word is filled with judgment--overreacting according to what is “expected”, overreacting in terms of how we’re “supposed” to react.
Remind yourself of who you are.
Write a list of qualities that you do have. Write a list of things that are meaningful to you. Now soak it in.
Sit in silence and repeat one of these phrases...
“What was said was hurtful. I am doing _________________ to take care of myself right now.”
"Oh, that was harsh. I am taking care of myself by ___________________________."
"I need to feel safe. What can I do to make myself feel grounded?"
The reason that these phrases or versions of these can be helpful is that they're acknowledging what took place and the wording suggests that we are “doing” something proactive to take care of ourselves. We’re placing ourselves in an empowered place.
Here’s a list of things you can do if you’ve had a long day:
Take a bath.
Get one of your favorite candies (if this is a trigger, skip this item)
Take a five-minute walk.
Call a friend.
Make some tea.
Color a mandala.
Fill a sheet of paper with smiley faces.
Write a friend a letter and send it.
Make a list of places that you’d love to visit.
Write down a list of role models you admire and why.
So what do you do to take care of yourself?
I got the pleasure of eating freshly caught crab and by the person that caught it earlier that morning.
There's something joyful about eating with your hands and getting messy. Have you ever eaten crab?!
On one level, it makes me think about societal expectations tied to gender.
As an identified cis-gender woman, I noticed that we are not given the chance to be "messy". Messy as in with our manners or with our clothing. Or how we maintain the inside of our living rooms. Or whether we sweat at the gym. Maybe these are just things that we do, regardless of our gender. Can we just throw all those expectations out the window?!
And if you do any of these things, there's no shame in it!!
It doesn't take away from your femininity or your masculinity. We get to define how we view ourselves. We get to decide how we present ourselves. But I also want to acknowledge that it's not an easy process. It takes courage to own all of you, the parts of you that you love, the parts that annoy you or the parts that you're tempted to change. It's also a process. It's not a quick fix. It can be frustrating and painful, especially if we haven't come to terms with the parts that we're less fond of or would like to change.
But it has also made me question why we don't give ourselves permission to be "messy"?
There seem to be a lot of negative connotations associated with the word "messy". So I'd love to invite you to give yourself to be "messy".
To experience your emotions. To be sad and frustrated and content all at the same time. Sometimes our emotional experiences don't make sense.
It doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with you; it just means that you're a person with a beating heart.When we experience extreme sadness, it leaves us with the space to feel joy. We are not only more likely to appreciate the experience of joy because we've felt something on the opposite end of the spectrum, but also because we've felt everything else in between-- frustration, guilt, anger, or anxiety. From my own experience, I've found that it's not about striving for that state of happiness, but rather it's an emotion that we experience on a continuum.