it’s amazing how motivating voicing my goal about the mindfulness posts out loud is.
So mindfulness day 2 part 2 – the idea here is a little bit of “fake it till you make it” and a little bit of “see yourself as others see you.”
It’s not always easy to be self-loving and self-confident and generally I know I am WAY harder on myself than I am on others – especially those I care about. Couple that with being very self-deprecating, brushing off praise with self-put-downs, and it can be a hard habit to break.
Step 1 – accept the compliment. No “it was nothing”; no “I could have done better”; just “thank you.”
Step 2 – start a compliments file. Last year I did this in my journal (for like 2 days or something). This year I am going to try and keep it on my phone – so if someone sends a text or message or posts something on my fb or ig I will screen shot it and save it in an album.
Step 3 – review the file – pretend you actually believe the kind things your friends / co-workers / random strangers / family say. Pretend you said “good job” to yourself. Eventually you’ll be able to say it and mean it!
Next up is thinking about your values. I know this is hard…
…la di dah we’re just gonna waltz on in here like it hasn’t been a month since my last post and a month and a half since my last mindfulness post…
There are a couple of activities on “day 2” and there’s no way I can do even one of them in a day so there are gonna be at least 2 “day 2 v.2” posts. I guess I should re-name this one day 2a v.2? Or maybe day 2 v.2a… Or just day 2 part 1 – y’all know it’s not the stuff from 2021. …anyway, back to the regularly scheduled programming.
Everyone knows what physical clutter is right? The stuff hanging around that really serves no purpose except for getting in your way, or making you feel guilty, or worry about unnecessarily. Well, it turns out emotional clutter is pretty similar.
That tchotchke isn’t inherently bad – it only becomes clutter if there are too many and they overwhelm you and don’t serve their intended purpose anymore (i.e. reminding you fondly of someone or some place). Negative thoughts and emotions are also not bad – fight or flight is a survival tactic. BUT most people don’t need survival tactics every damn day.
Feeling guilty about something is the same – you can use the feeling to see how to change and grow OR it can cause you to seize up and freeze and never evolve.
My “emotional decluttering” focus is definitely centred on guilt. It’s so easy for me to absorb any and all blame. My train of thought recently, as an example:
“We’re in a pandemic and we were going to go visit the family in BC but another pandemic wave hit and so we can’t go and it’s my fault I never thought we should move to be closer to the BC family.”
So this is my focus: Forget the mistake and learn the lesson. Don’t hold on to regret and guilt.
I got tested on this too soon though. I offended someone last week. I was trying to process something about how I felt after an online conversation and I forgot the cardinal rule that really there is no nuance online and while the second conversation would have probably happened very differently if it was in person, I made a mistake. I didn’t think through what I was saying before I said it and I completely missed an obvious interpretation.
I’ve given myself a couple of days to wallow and while I wish I had done it differently, I cannot go back and change it. I’ll consider a bit more about what I can learn from this and how to avoid – or at least minimize the chances of it – it in the future.
as an aside – I am going to try and make time for this. It’s important to me even if it isn’t (and probably because it isn’t) easy. So my calendar says I have to post something about this every Tuesday from now on… *fingers crossed*
In August I wrote: “Back in February, a friend who recognized how hard COVID and the pandemic was hitting me invited me to a FB group to focus on self-love and mindfulness and care for a month. I couldn’t do it then – I wasn’t ready, I didn’t have the focus, I don’t know what. But I’m going to try it again now. 28 days.”
Narrator (sounding a lot like Morgan Freeman): Reader, that did not happen.
And here I am again. But here is better than not here and so away I go.
Definition of affirmation
1a : the act of affirming // nodded his head in affirmation
b : something affirmed: a positive assertion // His memoir is a reflective affirmation of family love.
Day 1’s work is to ask “what positive affirmations do I need to say to myself this month?”. The important thing I think that I have recognized is that I often repeat a whole lot of negative affirmations to myself – I’m lazy, I’m can’t figure this out, I’m fat, I’m slow – and so I think this time I see that positive affirmations aren’t just a load of candy-floss / silver lining thinking.
Instead, I’m looking at positive affirmations as a way to disrupt negative thoughts that arise. I came up with a few back in August but I thought I would spend a day or two and think about them again now, what I need to hear now:
I make mistakes because I am trying to learn new things and grow.
Well, I’ve spent a lot of the last week thinking about my values. From lots of the websites I looked at (whether meant for school planning or changing careers or mindfulness) the basic idea seems to be to look at bunches of lists of values and see what resonates with you; what is most important to you.
Someone said they figured out their core values by asking themselves “what is the thing I want in X area of my life?” Then they asked “why do I want that?”. After asking why a few times they figured out their core values.
Some friends were kind enough to share theirs with me to give me thoughts on what they considered important.
And a while back an artist wanted to make me a picture as thanks for supporting her work and asked me a bunch of questions including: “use three words to describe your personality.”
I turned to three of my closest friends for help. I told them the first three that came to mind for me were: curious, kind, stubborn. They suggested changing “stubborn” to “determined”; and added: thoughtful, ‘often slightly drunk’, and generous.
I asked Toby and Q as well. Without hesitation Q said that his family and friends were the most important things to him. Then added health. Toby agreed with this and his first thought was ‘kindness’ – which I think is kinda sweet because it was definitely one of the first ones I thought of.
So back to figuring out my own values. I approached it like I do most everything really – I threw a bunch of stuff on the page and tried to figure out what should stay 😊
THE BIG LIST
Family – there should be no doubt that Toby and Q are my world.
After a bunch of thought and to-ingand fro-ing (just me, or does that just always look wrong? toing and froing is no better), I decided that the ones in bold are the most important to me. Apparently you’re supposed to narrow it down to two eventually but I figure these are a pretty good start. I might write more in the future about what they all mean to me (like generosity isn’t just donating money and maybe over time I’ll become more comfortable with generosity or kindness and only keep one of them bold) but this is where I am now.
Here are some lists of values for you to look at if you like:
The University of California Berkeley has a checklist too (lots of other unis do if you poke around a little). https://career.berkeley.edu/Plan/Values The nifty thing about the Berkeley page is it also as an “end of career” activity which asks two questions:
How do you want to be remembered? Similarly, what do you want to be remembered for?
What evidence (e.g. accomplishments, relationships, achievements, etc.) would exist to prove that you led a meaningful life and a successful career?
I thought that was a pretty interesting framework. Especially the first question.
I love the Olympics. Even these summer sports. I mean, I especially love the winter ones but I forget how much I love all the Olympics. PanAm games too. Any time athletes are competing for something more than themselves. I mean, I guess NHL, NBA, NFL etc. athletes are also playing for their teams and their fans but for some reason there’s something about national competitions that makes me watch street skateboarding and table tennis and get as into it as I do for the diving and swimming and triathlon.
(on that note, if your kids are in sports or other activities and I can go watch, or watch online or support in ANY FREAKING WAY please let me know)
The US has amazing gymnasts. They defy gravity. Even Toby watched with me a little bit and we tried to figure out the physics.
And when you’re the best of an amazing team? When you’re Bolt of Jamaica or Comaneci of Romania, Redgraves of Great Britain, Thorpe of Australia, or Oleksiak or Hughes of Canada? Or well, Biles of the US? (plus many many others of all countries) Then your spotlight shines even more brightly and bright lights alone can cause damage. Then add on your own expectations, the expectations of your entire country, of random people like me sitting on the couch with a beer and chips, of the media, of history.
Simone Biles did what she had to do. And in that moment that was to stop. Pamela Ware walked off the spring board. Ellie Black withdrew. As Andy Murray did from the singles tennis.
Mental heath IS health. Every bit as much as physical health is health.
Back in February, a friend who recognized how hard COVID and the pandemic was hitting me invited me to a FB group to focus on self-love and mindfulness and care for a month. I couldn’t do it then – I wasn’t ready, I didn’t have the focus, I don’t know what. But I’m going to try it again now. 28 days. August has 31 of course so I have a couple of buffer days in there 😉 (and yes, this time I am going to stick with it even if it takes me to November to do).
But this is my August focus. And I’m going to write here a lot about it. I hope you join me.