Saturday, March 2, 2013

Emotional Convalescence

We have had some awesome conversation over the last few weeks about emotional convalescence (healing from emotional pain that drives unhealthy behaviors) and learning to accept who we are, including a painful past, so that we can begin to change where we are.  We started two weeks ago by picking out the verbs or action words from the following quote to see what part we are responsible for in our own healing:

"Learn not to grow impatient with the slow healing process of time.  We need to discipline ourselves to recognize that there are many steps to be taken along the highway leading from sorrow (and shame)to renewed serenity (and peace) . . . We need to anticipate these stages in our emotional convalescence; unbearable pain, poignant grief, empty days, resistance to consolation, disinterestedness in life, gradually giving way . . . to the new weaving of a pattern of action and the acceptance of the irresistible challenge of life."  Joshua Loth Leibman

I just LOVE that quote!  So full of truthful nuggets for me to sink my teeth in to, or better yet, sink my thoughts in to!  Lifestyle change is a process.  It's a gradual process, a healing process, and a spiritual process - a journey rather than a destination.  It's in the  journey that we learn this new weaving of a pattern of action and the acceptance of the irresistible challenge of life.

Last week we continued the rich discussion on what it means to accept ourselves.  Many of us have stuffed and numbed our feelings for so long that we really aren't sure of who we are at all.  Valid point.  Many of us feel so much shame about ourselves that it impacts our behaviors in such unhealthy ways.  Another valid point!  We compared it to walking around in life wearing a pair of glasses that are the wrong prescription and has numerous smudges all over the lenses.  Of course both of these issues would affect my ability to interact with the world around me.  If the curb looked far away but was actually right in front of me, I would trip and probably fall.  My wrong prescription did not reflect reality.  That is exactly what happens to us when we believe things about ourselves that are not true (smudges and wrong prescriptions) and operate under wrong and unhealthy messages.  An example that we talked about is if I believe that I am unworthy of taking care of myself, then I will not eat well, rest well, make time for fitness or any other number of things.  The journey of lifestyle change is a wonderful way to become aware of some of these "smudges" and "wrong prescriptions" that have caused us to repeat unhealthy behaviors that do not serve us well.  The tool last week was to identify some of the smudges that are on your lenses and how that particular smudge impacts your behavior on your journey of lifestyle change.

This week we talked about taking care of ourselves; not an easy thing for most of us to do.  Again, what we believe about ourselves will certainly determine how, or if, we take care of ourselves.  We have to be connected to ourselves and our feelings to know what we need.  That leads to the tool for this week since the highlighted sentence and the tool are extremely connected.  List a few REAL needs that you have this week and a few MANUFACTURED needs that you have this week.  The following is an example
"I need some ice cream because I only got three hours sleep and I'm so exhausted = MANUFACTURED NEED.
"I need to rest now and will go to bed early tonight because I only got three hours sleep last night" =  REAL NEED.

Enjoy your weekend and I look forward to seeing you all next week.  And if I haven't told you lately, you truly are the smartest people I know!  Keep up the awesome work in group . . .

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