Monday, January 4, 2010

Yes, I Made a Couple of New Year Resolutions...

I have two New Year's Resolutions. The first is to daily find something new to be grateful for. I am always thanking God for Bob, and Mom, and friends, etc... But I have yet to thank him for clean drinking water or flushable toilets. No, I am not trying to be silly. There are plenty of people in the world who have neither. Being grateful that disgusting things are rushed as far away from me a possible should be a given. I am sure that my first antecedent to experience such was as gleeful and appreciative of it as I am for my dishwasher, but because I seldom experience port o potties, and have never had to walk to the river or a well for water, I take these things for granted. Each day in 2010 I want to be thankful for something new that I have taken for granted.
I know. I am four days behind. Okay then.
1) Clean drinking water straight from a faucet.
2) Flushable toilets.
3) Shelves and shelves of books in my home.
4) I can read. How many people in the world do not have an education because they were born poor or female? Yes, the ability to read is a blessing I need to be grateful for.
I'll try to remember to tweet something new each day and share the small things I am grateful for.

My second New Year's Resolution is to treat myself as a friend, and be a caretaker to myself. I know. Selfish. But I think I need to be... I mentioned last week or so that my mom is in the hospital. I haven't updated this blog on her progress. She has a terrible, horrible, wound. In my worst nightmare, I would not have believed such a wound is possible. For some reason, despite friends and family insisting on my innocence, I believed this wound was somehow my fault. And I despised myself. I really hated myself, to the point where I couldn't sleep. Phone calls with friends and family made me feel better, until I had to be alone with my own thoughts, which added up to "I hate me." Anytime my mom's bandage was being changed, I watched, just to punish myself. Thank God for mom's wound nurse. I don't remember what I said, but she picked up on me blaming myself, and asked me why. I told her a reason, she'd say "Impossible, next..." and let me tell her everything I thought I could have done to that caused it or failed to do to prevent it. She listened, and said "Impossible..... This is not your fault. Nothing you did caused this, nothing you could have done would have prevented this." I was absolved! I could stop hating myself. But then I had to ask myself....

If a friend of mine had come to me with the same thing, what would I have said? Even if in my uneducated ignorance I agreed that it was her fault, would I have thought that she is deserving of hatred and punishment? No, I would have held her and told her that since we got kicked out of Eden, sickness, death, and blame are our lot, and that everyone makes costly errors. I would have encouraged her to forgive herself, and reminded her of her worth. Why couldn't I do that for myself? Family, corporal friends, cyber friends, all tried to give me comfort, which I would accept for a time, but then when alone, convince myself I was unworthy. Why couldn't I be a friend to myself?

Thinking about that, I see a pattern in my life. Strict impossible diets I punished myself with to try to make up for lost time, which only made me fail again... Exercise regimes I'd punish myself with to make up for lost time, only to hurt myself and be laid up and not pick up again until I want to punish myself again. If I had power over anyone else, would I treat them like that? NO! So why do I think it is okay for me to treat myself like that. Humility? Actually, isn't the assumption that I somehow think I am better so I should have done better, and therefore hubris?

I resolve to ask myself when I hear the negative self talk in my brain "Would you talk to a friend like that?" and if the answer is no, remind myself that it is not okay to talk to myself like that then.

Part of this resolution is also to be my own caretaker. I have been my mom's caretaker for three years. I encourage her to do her exercises, and when she doesn't want to, I talk her into doing a portion, then ask her if she feels up to going on. I give her food she is supposed to have, with a treat every so often to make things interesting. When she wants something she isn't supposed to have, I don't refuse to give it to her, but remind her why she shouldn't, then leave it up to her. She usually compromises. I make sure she has at least eight glasses of water each day. Why can't I do these things for me? Why can't I exercise just until I am tired, and then stop, pushing myself a little at a time instead of punishing myself? Why can't I follow a diet that includes an occasional treat, and compromise with myself when I want more than is good for me?

The thing is, I CAN do these things, but I haven't. I am going to treat myself like someone I love this January! Why not the whole year, you ask? Because I need to evaluate whether I am improving my mental and physical health, or becoming a narcissist. I have noticed that I tend to fall to extremes in the way I treat myself... either punish, or indulge, then punish some more. This might mean more posts where I talk to myself. I hope I'll still be amusing... I wouldn't want to bore any of us...

So... my role model on this journey of self love shall be...KERMIT THE FROG! C'mon, if you know me at all, you knew it had to be a Muppet. Up until now, I've been relying on Fozzie Bear...

8 comments:

katdish said...

Excellent resolutions. I couldn't agree more.

Marni said...

Helen!! I've missed you so much. I'm still praying for mom, you and Bob. I hope you're holding up okay.

I love your post! I am cheering you on to keep those two resolutions. They are SO important.

love and hugs,

m

Wendy said...

Well, you know how we love the posts where you talk to yourself... ;o)

Kelli said...

I agree with Katdish. Who needs diets anyway!

♥ Kathy said...

Those are great resolutions Helen. I understand about the toilet. Ours can't handle anything but liquid in it. No tp or anything. It's not nice.

jasonS said...

It's not selfish- you can't give to others what you don't have. If you're emotionally, spiritually, or physically deficient, you have to take care of yourself!

Good resolutions and stay healhty, Helen. :)

Annie K said...

Good for you Helen. I think those resolutions are absolutely awesome!

pip said...

You have given me loads to think about Helen. Thanks. The idea of being a friend to self...very good.

I Love your simple resolution of gratitude too. Beautiful. I have not made resolutions, but have made a list of January Goals. Hopefully I can reach them, and then make more for Feb., etc. I thought one month at a time might be a better way for me to go. Happy New Year. I am thankful today for the Dimplex heater at my feet, and the ability to use a computer :)