Reflections on Life Thus Far

My life. My story: Exploring mental health, spirituality, meditation & random thoughts I have

End Of January Check-In

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At the beginning of January I decided I was going to set a few goals for myself to improve

Joan Halifax with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dala...

Joan Halifax with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, at the XIVth Mind and Life Institute conference, 2007, Dharamsala (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Haven’t quite made it to their level yet!!!

my daily life. So far so good! I won’t go through the things I’d planned for myself but I can tell you I have been keeping to them with little slip-up. Here and there I lose track and I will confess my intent to meditate at the same time everyday has not worked out. In fact I have slacked on it and feel guilty because I know it’s good for me; also I feel better when I do the meditation regularly. Unfortunately, I ended up keeping to every second day for about 2 weeks then fell off that routine and only managed about twice a week sittings. So I am sort of ashamed of myself for this but am aware of it so will make an effort to change it.

Otherwise, I have been keeping a routine more or less that suits me. I did have a few overly ambitious goals I scaled back on and they’ve worked fine. The one goal I set for myself that I’m apprehensive about is going out twice a week in February, up from once a week for January. Once a week has been manageable and I have kept to this schedule. However, twice a week seems like a lot still. I know that sounds nuts but I’m something of a social recluse and find going out in public to be challenging. The fact the weather has been so terrible lately also hasn’t helped.

Instead of New Year’s Resolutions I picked a ‘word of the year‘ to focus on. My word I chose is ‘action’. A good choice for me since I spent the last couple of years not doing a lot. Well for me it felt like it was more than enough but I know to anyone else it would look like I was lazy. Unfortunately, emotional work does not show to others the same way working a job for pay or cleaning your house does. You can’t really show someone how many hours or units of energy you’ve poured into ‘bettering’ yourself emotionally and psychologically. Yet that’s what I do to myself. I look back on my past few years and think surely I did something measurable? But no, nothing besides some appointments and workshops here and there. The thing is I don’t look particularly abnormal and even at my sickest the only thing someone might have noticed was my emaciated body, not my fractured heart (I know, sounds melodramatic but it’s how I felt).

So these days I feel a pressure from within myself to actually be doing more. I have to

Compassion is Consciousness...

Compassion is Consciousness… (Photo credit: ConnectIrmeli)

fulfill my word of the year! Action is perfect as a word for me. It’s both terrifying and necessary. If I want to get beyond staying incapacitated by my past I need to push myself to do things. At the same time I feel like retreating into a cave where no one can impose upon me any demands. Why is it so hard for me to just act? Why do I keep isolating myself to avoid people? Am I really so devastated by potential criticism or possible failure?

The irony of all this is if I don’t do anything I’m still failing and experiencing criticism, just

Self-compassion is your greatest source of str...

Self-compassion is your greatest source of strength (Photo credit: wildphotons)

not from others so much as from myself. Although I have made great strides in overcoming self deprecation and harsh internal criticism, I still find myself short on self-compassion. There’s no doubt in my mind I have compassion for myself it’s just not always available ‘on tap’ when I need it! So what to do about it? How does one go about enlarging their self compassion ‘muscle’? Surely, there are activities I can do. Perhaps I just need to keep practicing. I am a heck of a lot better now than a few years ago regarding showing myself compassion.

You know I think I know what I have to do. I have to stop giving so much weight to what others think of me. Of course I’ve reached this conclusion before and obviously it hasn’t eradicated the problem. F***! Anyone have any advice on how to stop caring what others think of you? It’s not like I need approval for everything I do or reassurance that I’m making the right choices every time I do something. It’s just that there are some areas left where I do pay too much attention to how others will perceive me. I don’t want to stand out as ‘odd’ or ‘unusual’. But I’m quickly realizing if I want to be happy I may have to accept that I am not ever going to ‘fit in’.

Don’t feel sorry for me. It’s alright really. I never fit in a day in my life so why would I suddenly think there was hope for me now? The best thing I can do for myself is accept myself without comparison to others. Comparing myself to others is probably the last thing I ought to be doing if I want to be content. Let this be a cautionary reminder to you that comparing yourself to others never does anything except make you feel worse about yourself! Unless, you’re watching reality television to feel ‘superior’ to the likes of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”. But I don’t think watching people we deem to be less sophisticated than us is at all praise worthy. However, I do confess to having watched Jerry Springer back when I was in high school to feel a certain sense of superiority-even though I did not acknowledge it as such at the time.

What is our purpose in life if not to be who we truly are? As the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says, “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others.

Thich Nhat Hanh in Vught, the Netherlands, 2006

Thich Nhat Hanh in Vught, the Netherlands, 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You need to accept yourself.” Or as Maya Angelou says, “success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

How has your January gone? Did you set resolutions or goals and manage to stick to them?

Β©Natalya, 2013.

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Author: Natalya

Blogging my thoughts and feelings about mostly mental health, meditation and spirituality(non religious). Hoping to connect with other interesting people in the blogosphere. *The name is Russian and is my pseudonym.

16 thoughts on “End Of January Check-In

  1. I really enjoyed this blog. I set no resolutions because it puts pressure on you. I have the same problem that I don’t always meditate. I know I need to, but time slips through my fingers. It is health issues, just life, helping people and blogging. Sad but true. This has given me a good kick to get me going in the right direction again.

  2. Reblogged this on idealisticrebel and commented:
    An honest look at self

  3. I think it takes courage to write this. And emotional and spiritual work are the most important, at least in my book. I am rather a hermit, sometimes not getting out but once every couple of weeks, but sometimes more. But it doesn’t bother me that I am so. When I do get out it’s usually to do something with my husband. I do meditate everyday, first thing. I would feel naked without it. I did yoga asanas everyday for a complete year, from August to August, but let the everyday thing slip somewhat after that until this January when I started back again, trying to keep it daily.

  4. I will preface my answer to your question with the statement, “this is about me and what my life is about.” We all have our own path to walk.
    I make no resolutions because i accept my life as it is and embrace it. To make a resolution to change something says something is wrong with me. It’s taken much unfolding for me to get to a place of giving up resistance and loving my shadow Self as much as my light Self. When my anxiety, tension, fear, and doubt manifest and scream for attention I say hello, offer a smile, breathe deeply into whatever is present, and just let it go.
    Practicing mindfulness and awareness helps me to remember there is nothing wrong with me. I spent over 50 years deeply engaged in needing approval and acceptance and always thinking there was something wrong with me. It took a lot of drilling down to my core to find out I am a beautiful, loving, and compassionate soul.
    I have a hunch you are the same…beautiful, caring, magnificent and filled with life and spirit. I honor your walk as unique and also honor you as a sister on the healing path. I’m glad to be on this journey with you. Go easy on yourself because you are awesome. Hugs and blessings, Brenda

  5. I can feel you by reading that. While doing energy work and meditation, focus on your solar plexus, it’s where the self love and acceptance is. By trusting yourself, judgement from other people won’t affect you. Personally I have no resolutions this year, I just go with the flow and what feels right for me every moment. Have a beautiful Friday!

  6. I think you’re doing awesome – just keep calm and carry on. One challenge I will set to you, should you choose to accept it, is to blog (and speak) for, say, the next month without using any variation of phrases like “This might sound crazy,” or “You may think I’m nuts to say this.”

    You are NOT crazy, but you worry a lot that people will think you are, and you really need to let that go before you can accept the extent of your own considerable progress.

    Besides, crazy is a lot more fun than normal anyway (whatever that may be). πŸ™‚

    • LOL, thanks Jenny. I didn’t realize I said those things often but I suppose saying them at all isn’t helpful. Still, I’ll try to refrain from referring to anything I think or do as crazy! πŸ˜‰

  7. Very glad to read your January went well and you were able to accomplish some of what you set out to achieve. I can really relate to the getting out of the house bit. I have to push myself really hard to get myself out of the house twice a week -once I go to my parents’ house and once I go out to the animal rescue (though that’s kind of cheating because there aren’t usually many people… it’s still leaving the house though!). Twice a month there’s the grocery store & maybe once a month the library… I hate those trips out. Way too many people! I’ve been working hard to keep my house picked up. Still have lots to clean, but I have managed to keep what I cleaned up from getting messy again! So, I guess that’s good. Take care!! πŸ™‚ rl

    • Thanks rl πŸ™‚ I am comforted knowing I’m not the only one like this (staying inside a lot and having trouble with housekeeping). I don’t mind lots of people as long as there’s space around me and they aren’t talking to me! LOL

  8. I think little by little a person’s self-esteem increases and that makes the opinions of others matter less and less. I have found that doing self-care and enjoyable activities to me are helping to increase my self-esteem. I think there is a balance between setting realistic goals and too much pressure. I make my goals very loose, depending on how I am feeling, if I am well, etc. That helps me to not have a backlash when I can’t meet some goals.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.

    Kate

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