I was so busy thinking about work yesterday morning, and then going to work and working, that I forgot to go to a class I had registered for, “Managing Personal Stress.” It was a three hour class intended to “help you develop a personal stress management plan to help you reduce the worry and stress you feel from life changes, challenges, and situations, and find new ways for moving through stressful circumstances.” And I missed it. It’s very telling when the efforts I make to manage my stress fall apart as a direct result of one of the main things that causes me stress.
And by the end of the day yesterday, my head hurt, my stomach was upset, my back was cramping, and I felt dizzy. I was frustrated, irritated, and sad. Tension and yuck was flooding my system. I have dogs and I meditate and I do yoga and I write, every day, and yet I still seem to falter, push myself too hard, don’t get enough rest–I don’t take care of myself.
This week in my Ordinary Courage class, we watched Brene’ Brown’s DVD “The Hustle for Worthiness: Exploring the Power of Love, Belonging, and Being Enough.”
In the DVD, Brene’ talks about the conflict between who we are & what we believe and who “you” want me to be & believe. We end up working so hard to fit in, to be deemed worthy and in that way get the love and belonging we need, we assess each situation and assimilate, we hustle for worthiness (we perform, please, try to be perfect)–which does not work to get us what we need. Instead, we lose our sense of meaning, purpose and joy because we are utterly disconnected from ourselves.
She also talks about how “you better be able to tell the truth about who you are and where you came from and what you are up against, and love yourself in the process.” In the class, our challenge this week was to browse Dr. Kristin Neff’s Self-Compassion website and take her Self-Compassion Inventory. Having already read one of Brene’ Brown’s books, I had taken this test this summer. The results were not good. Taking it again three months later, they were worse.
Considering the life-rehab I’m involved in, you might expect that three months later, I’d be better at this. I am more cognizant of the issue, even as I continue to falter and stumble. Most likely I was more honest, more aware of how I really am with myself when I took the inventory this time. The way the scale works, the average is 3.0, with 1-2.5 being low in self-compassion and 2.5-3.5 moderate, and 3.5-5.0 is high. I tested at 2.48 this summer and 1.56 this time. Not good.
But I am working on it. It’s really all I can do. Keep showing up, keep trying, and know that it’s going to take time. Our habitual way of being with ourselves, when it has been with us for so long and we are so good at it, will take a long time to shift. At first, all you can do is see it for what it is, even as you watch yourself behave in those same old ways.
As for today, I napped with the dogs on the couch and cried a little, watched Brene’s DVD, took a walk, made Eric hug me extra. I made casserole for dinner (comfort food) and rented “Bridesmaids.” Tomorrow, I can try again.
- “You, yourself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~Buddha