Somatic Experiencing : anyone interested in understanding how trauma affects the body, brain and mind can read , In an Unspoken Voice by Peter Levine
I would like to recommend a book I have read and enjoyed tremendously to anyone who is interested in learning how to cultivate and embrace solitude. Being alone with oneself is a very frightening and anxiety provoking experience for many people, however it does not have to be this way. Stepanie Dowrick in her book Intimacy and Solitude talks beautifully about this painful subject for many people and how it is possible to change that. Her book encompasses a variety of points around the subject and of balancing closeness and independence.
Being in a abusive relationship can be excruciatingly painful because there is a sense of it’s my fault and that accompanies guilt feelings, where in essence it is not your fault. The abuser has a way often very subtle to make you feel like it is your fault, abusive men make you feel that if only you were different then things would be different. This is a dynamic that exist in abusive relationships. The abuser never takes responsibility, never admits that it is his doing, that he is at fault ( I write as it the man is the abuser, this does not negate the men who gets abused by women, they exist, but according to statistiques women are the dominant sex being abused.) The tragedy is that the abused often try so hard and is constantly trying to please the abuser and no matter what she does it seems hard to please him. The dynamic is often to keep the abused in a guilt mode, hence the abuser will always blame her. She often lives in a constant or near-constant mode of anxiety, because she feels it is her fault. Sadly he convinces her it is her fault when it is not and she believes him because she has no confidence in herself. Her self-esteem is too low to value herself and walk away or to make very specific boundaries which would not tolerate abusive behaviour.
My free support group offers women an escape haven where they can reunite regularly and not feel alone or at fault, where they can share their pain and loneliness and find support and understanding from other women in the same position. Obviously everything said is held in total confidentiality. My wish is for these women to develop self-esteem and come to a place where they feel they deserve to be in a relationship with a man who treats them with respect, love and trust. There are good men out there who do honour women. Often women stuck in abusive relationships feel afraid to leave thinking and believing they wont meet anyone else. Fear and low self-esteem is a huge factor in these women not leaving. I have witnessed many women who have worked on themselves in therapy and consequently been courageous to leave abusive relationships and then met loving men. Men who don’t blame and make you feel guilty and bad. Women can work on themselves and change their low self-esteem image and start believing in their capacity to be loved. If you truly belief you deserve to be loved and to be happy you can find a relationship that is healing and nurturing. I want to say to the women who read this blog, you have one life, make the most of it. You can be in a good and healthy relationship. Abusive relationships are toxic they hurt and damage us to the very core of our essence. Most of the fear that keeps women in abusive relationships is unfounded.
As I am writing this blog I laze on my back on the green grass, starring up at a light blue sky with some white grey clouds dispersed. The sunrays are filtering between the densely packed leaves of a beautiful Marronier tree. I can’t help but to feel such a huge sense of gratification or appreciation if you like. The chirping birds are competition to my ruminating and contemplating mind and thoughts. It is a sheer delight just to be able to hear, see and to be able to walk here, to be amongst the beauty of the nature. I think of those millions of people all around the globe who are constantly living in the dark, and those who were born blind, who have never even glimpsed at a tree, the face of their beloved, a sunset, a flower, a painting, a comedy or a beautiful landscape …………….anything. It is unimaginable to me what it must be like to never see anything to live in total darkness. I think of all the millions who are paralysed who live with no freedom to come and go as they want, either always or often dependant on others and those who are deaf, who never hears a melody, hear the words of a beloved and who are limited with whom they can converse. It makes me realize how much freedom I have and most of us have. How fortunate the majority of us are. I don’t mean to negate the pain, suffering, sorrow and problems people have, being human it is inevitable to be subjected to the above ( but that’s another subject ) but I believe if we want to increase the quality of our daily life we can stop sometimes and just feel a sense of gratification or appreciation for being able to eat 3 meals a day, have a hot shower and a warm bed to sleep in and a hundred more things. It is our choice we can either complain and be negative all the time or we can feel thankful for the hundreds of small blessings.
A tough one, as a lot of people out of fear to be different or fear of being rejected convert themselves to the opinions, likes, dislikes, actions and non-actions of the others. In order to belong many people abandon themselves to fit in. It is safer and easier ( in a sense ) to be part of the group, like the others, than risking to be different and maybe not be liked and accepted.
To be true to yourself might mean to go against the values, standards of your parents, your culture, your society and friends. The risk might mean to be ostracized, alienation, rejection and abandonment. What does it mean to be autonomous? When we reach a certain age, of being an adult we have the right to ascertain what is right for us. What values do I want to live by? What standards have meaning to me? These might or might not be very different to those of our parents, society, culture and friends.
By following our own expectations, standards and values regardless of it to be in opposition with others, we are being true to ourselves. We are being who we are, who we choose to be. Are we willing to take that risk to be different? What would it mean? How important is it to live with the freedom to make your own choices and your own decisions?
Be kind to yourself
What does being kind to yourself encompass ? I belief if we need to care for ourselves on all levels : mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
How much are we aware of what we need, are we tuned into ourselves ? Our body will always tell us what we need, that means being conscious of our inner lives, our bodies. Even when we are with people who are negative or unpleasant our bodies will feel something not quite aligned. Depending on how in touch we are with ourselves, it could be very faint, but it will be there. On some deeper level we just feel we would rather not be with such people ( but then again that is if we value ourselves if we feel deserving of being with positive and pleasant people ) removing ourselves from company that is detrimental is a positive move, of course it takes courage, but if you can do it, you will definitely feel better about yourself. So that is a kindness to yourself.
What about leisure time, do you take time, even with a hectic schedule to give yourself the pleasure of doing what gives you satisfaction. Sometimes it is so good and necessary to relax on the sofa with a cup of tea and a good magazine. Many women feel guilty to do this. Unfortunately we will often be told that we are selfish if we take time for us, when that means depriving someone else of our time. If we say “No I don’t want to do that,” we could very possibly be labelled selfish. But I truly belief and know that the more kind we are to ourselves the more kindness we can bestow on others.
Our thoughts are an integral part of us, some say we have something like 60 000 thoughts per day on average. What do they contain ? There can be kind thoughts or critical, judgmental, harsh and negative thoughts about ourselves. This is a choice, and I know it is difficult to changes dark thoughts to light thoughts when we are not in the habit. But I also know we can do it, with a lot of practice and a good dose of kindness to ourselves.
I believe that people who are truly benevolent are those who are kind to themselves on some level. We do need to differentiate between the above and those who show kindness because they want to be liked as people or they want to be seen as kind or good people.
We could remind ourselves and ask ourselves on a regular basis “Am I kind to myself in this moment ?”
Wherever we go we seem to encounter stress. Society’s expectations and demands can cause much stress. Stress can come from loss of a beloved, family or love relationships conflicts, marriage, divorce, sexual problems, friends, pressure in the professional domain, unemployment, changing jobs, financial difficulties, getting ready for holidays, physical illness, noise, traffic, neighbours, overwork, childbirth, moving, adapting to new cultures, the list is never-ending. Worry, so many people worry, if there is nothing to really worry about they will find something to worry about, it becomes a way of being, an addiction.
People’s destructive and negative thoughts can cause stress.
Not everyone is affected in the same way by stress, some even seems to strive on it, or it galvanize them into action.
There are also different kinds and levels of stress. Stress can become long term with symptoms such as high blood pressure, fatigue, loss of memory, diabetes, physical illnesses, low self-esteem, loss of confidence and diminished sexual libido etc. Stress untended can even be fatal causing strokes or heart attacks. Research calculated that approximately 80% of major illnesses are influenced by stress. There is a connection between stress and anxiety, panic-attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. Stress can affect one physically resulting in harmful illnesses, for instance ulcers, digestive disorders, irritable bowel syndrome and the body’s immune system can be affected.
Some people can under estimate the seriousness of the effects and result of stress. Sometimes people get so use to stress that they don’t even realize that they have stress, only when physical symptoms appears do they realize something is wrong.
One can combat stress, there are means of putting coping mechanisms and strategies in place.
There are things in life we do not control, but we have the power to control how we think and what we think about.
We have some control of letting stress diminish our quality of life.
Our quality of life is hugely affected by our stress levels and how we learn to cope with it.
A quote from Mark Twain: I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.
Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, " Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous ? " Actually, who are you not to be ? You are a child of God, your playing small doesn't serve the world. there is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people
won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifes the glory of God within in. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear our presence automatically liberates others "
This to me is an incredibly inspiring poem, some people say it was written by Nelson Mandela others say it was written by someone else ................ ?