“People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” ~ Bette Midler
Yesterday was an unusually clear, bright sunny day here in the Pacific Northwest. The temps reached almost 50F.
After an incredibly long, rainy, windy, and exhausting week, I promised myself to do less, putter more and to rest this weekend. This translated into raking leaves, then stringing some early holiday lights on the front bushes.
What I didn’t expect was a few neighbors to come over and chat from an exceptionally safe distance.
It was delightful to laugh, share and listen to each other as we described our personal at-home-craziness and how we were coping.
We joked about how many people were decorating early for the upcoming holidays.
I added, “this is the first year I’ve ever put lights up so soon and yet I really needed to get outside and do something special.”
Neighbor A: “Everything is different but one thing I’ve been doing is treating myself to a weekly latte.” She shared as if confessing. “Sometimes the drive thru takes forever, but I need to get out of the house!”
Neighbor B: “I’ve finally had time to catch-up on movies and read more books, but I also love working from home. It’s easier than dealing with traffic.”
We kept volleying our comments back and forth, nodding and understanding each other.
How do we regroup psychologically and emotionally during political times where the chaos feels endless? For example, after watching the first US presidential debate, I was emotionally triggered and exhausted.
Our daily news is full, real, and intense.
Here are some strategies to help you regroup. Tryout a few and adjust these suggestions to fit your needs.
Ultimately, taking care of yourself is extremely important.
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” ― Audre Lorde
#1. Acknowledge you have been triggered. Don’t let anyone tell you what you are feeling is wrong, silly, childish and to ‘get over it.’ Quick fixes and denial of your emotions are shaming.
Have you ever felt there are too many sides inside of you? Have you ever felt you don’t fit in and the requirements to be so-called normal are impossible?
What if our imperfections are absolutely perfect?
For instances, there’s the quiet side who speaks softly and there’s the vicious side that can inhale the sun and spew fire if need be.
There’s the fearful side, likened to a fierce wild stray who sees others as the enemy. We might growl to keep someone away.
As for me, one minute I can speak rose and turn the petals into magic but push me too hard and I will scratch you with my thorns.
My creative side carries me in between here and there and sometimes, I can’t figure out how to return to zero.
So, I stay there. It’s usually a mystical space where candles burn upside down and clouds become the ground. I swim far and deep because I breathe better underwater than in the air.
There have been more days than not during the last two months, where my mind and heart have ached during COVID-19. It’s a visceral reaction.
Even my skin feels triggered from my ‘depth of processing’ which Dr. Elaine Aron, founder and researcher of highly sensitive people, (HSP) refers to as one of the four characteristics of being an HSP.
In addition to my own thoughts, I’m picking up on a collective fear, worry and grief.
My sensitivity is on high alert. I honestly didn’t think I could be anymore sensitive — but I am.
Dr. Aron, describes HSP’s as individuals who “[have] a sensitive nervous system, are aware of subtleties in [their] surroundings, and are more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment.”
What’s more — how will I move forward? What will my new normal look like?
I know for sure I can’t go backwards, and that’s good.
What is self-love? How do we learn to love ourselves? Are we born with this knowledge? What are the influences which teach us to love ourselves?
I’ve often wondered how some people can be comfortable and love who they are. How they respect their ideas, ways, and choices. They don’t seem the least bit bothered by their quirks; instead they embrace them. So, it would seem, self-love also needs a dose of self-worth and self-confidence.
When I researched about self-love, I pulled up over 1,240,000,000 sources. That’s a lot of humans seeking, writing and explaining the meaning of self-love.
As a licensed mental health therapist, I have discovered that for most people, self-love is a skill we develop during the course of a lifetime. We learn to love who we are and accept our faults as well as our gifts.
Over the years, I’ve learned the most about self-love from a small handful of trusted mentors, therapists, teachers, and friends who I admire for how they love themselves. Their modeling and guidance have helped me find my own inner appreciation. When we see what self-love looks like in another person — and through a lot of practice, acceptance, and encouragement — we eventually see it in ourselves.
To demonstrate the concept of self-love, I read through hundreds of quotes from my research and decided the following seven quotes captured the essence of self-love and what I’ve learned from each.
Carolyn Riker is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in private practice. She is also an author of three books. Her most recent book is "My Dear, Love Hasn't Forgotten You."
© COPYRIGHT 2016. carolynriker.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.