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Flexibility and being judgmental

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

I am not talking about physical flexibility (although that is good too), but rather mental and emotional flexibility. Am I able to bend with under the weight of what comes my way... without breaking? Am I able to handle the vagaries of life with grace and poise? Am I able to find a balance between my needs and my responsibilities? Can I be what I need to be for myself, as well as what I believe I need to be for others? (which is a whole other topic, because I often get that one wrong!). And can I do all of that without getting on my high horse and passing judgement on other people’s choices and decisions? (Light topics, huh?) Eight years ago I would have had to answer in the negative to ALL of the questions posed. I had no foundation of self esteem to support a healthy mental or emotional balance between my needs and others needs. I would swing from one extreme to the other... either I was solely focused on myself and my needs/wants, or I was so focused on others that I neglected myself and my needs. There was nothing approaching balance. I couldn’t bend (physically, or mentally) because I was drowning in fear. I am not saying that the fear is gone. Oh no, not at all... in fact, I have a diagnosed anxiety disorder that seems to be getting worse in the last year or so, but I believe I am handling even that with more poise than I was handling my everyday life 8 years ago. I have a need for time alone (Well, time with just my dog), and I have a need for quiet companionship. For the most part I have found ways to achieve that on a daily or weekly basis. (I also have a need for simple, nutritious food.). But I have responsibilities in my family (out of love), to my friends (out of affection), to my fellow tenants ( out of proximity and simple compassion), and recently I have come to face the responsibility I will be facing as health care proxy to an old friend in rapidly deteriorating condition. Do I bend or break? I want to say that I bend like a flower stem in a high wind, not blowing over, or breaking... but simply bending over to raise my head once the storms have passed. I am not certain how accurate that description is though. I get so overwhelmed emotionally and mentally that I have to find ways to escape for a little while. I read a lot, and sometimes I just have to escape into a novel that I know has a happy ending no matter the travails that get to the happy ending... I don’t like reading depressing or really dark novels with no good outcome for any of the characters (and I dislike getting emotionally invested in a character only to have the author kill them off!) and a bleak or uncertain ending. I think that is why I like romance novels... happy ever after is a guaranteed outcome. I know it’s wildly unrealistic, but it feeds my optimistic side, and combats my cynicism. Walking my dog is another form of emotional escape. Being outside with him, and seeing his joy at being in the world lifts my spirits and I focus almost solely on him and his needs, and get out of my own head, without having to meet any conversational expectations, or emotional demands. I just have to do my best to keep him safe and provide him with enough exercise and outside time to keep him healthy and happy... and he is generally pretty clear about what those boundaries are. And the big hurdle/roadblock I need to watch for is being judgmental. I have found myself at various times saying or thinking things that were judgmental about another persons choices or decisions, without knowing where they were coming from mentally, or what was going on in their life. I keep telling myself that I don’t know what is going on in someone’s life unless they tell me, and I shouldn’t pass judgment on someone else no matter what their situation is, because they are generally doing the best they can given their circumstances. I may not agree with them or their choices and decisions, but I am woefully ignorant about what is going on behind the scenes of anyone else’s life (and sometimes even my own life!)... problem is I am human. We are hardwired to make snap judgements. Is this person safe to be around? Will this person help or hinder me? Questions like that zip through our brains and are answered one way or the other all the time. I believe it’s a defense mechanism? I know for me it’s self protection from being hurt again. I have to pose the question to myself often “is this person/situation truly a threat?” And often they/it is nota a threat, though initially I perceived it as such due to past experiences. So what changed eight years ago? For one thing, I found SparkPeople. I read the original book, got involved in the site, made friends, got active, changed my diet (though slowly at first), and began building one success on another. I found it life changing to see that one small seemingly inconsequential success could lead to another slightly more grand success... leading to tremendous successes. I am not solving world peace, becoming famous, or anything like that, but I am generally content within myself most days. I feel like I am allowed to have pride in my accomplishments, and my self esteem is higher than its been in my life (hopefully without being too prideful!)... I am working on balancing needs with responsibilities, and being a flower in the wind. Some days I am more successful than others. Just as some days I am better at not passing judgment than others. (I find when I am less content with myself, the more I tend to be judgmental towards others... hmmmm). I am definitely not aiming for perfection with any of this... just an awareness, and a good faith effort. Are you a flower in the wind?
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    165 days ago
    Good thoughts for all of us to keep in mind because I think it's a natural thing to think the way WE do things is a better way, so why is that person so different. But they ARE!
    174 days ago
  • SUNSHINE5268
    Wowwwww the most wonderful, thought provoking and touching blog!!!! Amazing ...wow..so deep. Thank you for sharing, hugssss
    175 days ago
    Beautiful blog. I work on being that flower in the wind, and when I'm not, I reflect on the reasons the wind tore me out of the ground. I love reading romance for the same reason you do - there are times when a happy ending is necessary to go forward. I also love romance for the pure escapism. My favourite author is Debbie Macomber. I used to love watching my fish and my cats for the reasons, you enjoy spending time with your furbaby puppy. I miss not having a cat but my landlord is firm - no more animals allowed. I really enjoyed your blog, thank-you for sharing your insight and wisdom.
    175 days ago
    Oh, wow...a lovely blog dear one! You are one of the most thoughtful pondering, reaching for the answers, people I know! We all need our alone time, I must admit I can get totally overwhelmed with people at our consignment gallery through the day. There seems to be such an air of discontent these days and being a 'sensitive' I absorb so much of it. I have really enjoyed these several days at home going through so many of my books scanning them into an app that tells me how popular they are in sales standing. Sadly only about 1 in every 15-20 of my dearly beloved books meet the 'standing' test so it's a slow sometimes disappointing process.

    I know that your little Cooper dog is your special angel and he is beside you through thick and thin and you two are a perfectly cohesive team. He gets you out and about and you make sure he gets his needed exercise in daily. That is a gift that you support each other in perfect synchronization! emoticon

    I also can't help but admire your strong spirit and your will to succeed no matter what obstacles are set in front of you...you always find a way around that is beneficial to you.

    As far as judging others... I really think this is a bit of a primal instinct...we need to access others and try our best to determine their intent as relevant to our own safety.

    Funny thing...in my book search today I found an excellent book on Chinese face reading...I'm going to read it again...so interesting! Letting go of my beautiful books is like letting go of my kids..who knew it would ever be this hard? emoticon I just keep thinking of how happy the next recipient will be when they receive my pristine books. emoticon
    175 days ago
    Oh I can do nothing but agree with every word you've said. There are times I can be flexible and other times, not so much.

    Thank you for a wonderful blog!!
    176 days ago
    I think you are doing a fabulous job. You are bearing up well and making well thought out decisions. You are a real blessing to your family and friends .We are lucky to have you in our lives (There should be two more things beside the Thanksgiving card on the way, isn't it funny how the card arrived before the thing I sent first with your treat,typical Canada Post !)
    176 days ago
  • KATIE5668
    excellent insight and you have grown so much. Your ablity to realize that your time alone is necessary..your Cooper Dog provides a balance you thrive on. Doing an excellent job of working your way thru life!

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    176 days ago
    Wishing you ease with the health care proxy responsibility.
    176 days ago
    It's neat watching the changes you're making. So much more than just physically.

    176 days ago
  • BJAEGER307
    What an excellent blog. You have come through so much. Your mental health, along with your physical health has improved as least from what I can tell from reading your blogs for a while now. You don't seem so judgmental here as much as you think. I find that you are now aware of what your needs are to survive, and to be happy. Having time alone suits you, then so be it. I think we all need time to alone, to just recoup from the everyday stress and outside forces that seem to derail our lives.

    As I have gotten older I have come to understand the meaning "don't sweat the small stuff" because life has a say in some of the things that happen to us. We are more connected and share common things than you think, and in the long run it really doesn't matter. I say enjoy life as you can, change what you want or need to, and take the rest with a grain of salt.

    Take care and thanks for the deep thoughts today.
    176 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/24/2018 1:17:59 PM
  • CINDY247
    Many can resonate with this I know I can Thanks for sharing! Keep on sparking!!
    177 days ago
    you are a beautiful Flower! Be kinder to yourself, you are only human and your needs and wants are just as important as others emoticon
    177 days ago
  • MBPP50
    Excellent blog- thanks for sharing your thoughts. emoticon
    177 days ago
    I like reading romance novels... i really didn't know why until u put it down on paper! Thank you... sometimes i am like the dandelion seed puff , taking off flying in the wind! Other times I am deeply rooted like that same dandelion! Neat blog! emoticon
    177 days ago
    Good self-awareness.
    177 days ago
  • no profile photo ROSSYFLOSSY
    Just keep pushing! 👍🏻💪🏻
    177 days ago
  • LINDA058
    You’ve touched on many issues I deal with. Thank you for saying it so well. I ask you to hang in there with me cause it’s nicer to know you’re beside me
    177 days ago
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