Laying in bed contemplating, mind wandering through wonderings.
A risky tangle, underbrush in which to stray…lost. Losing the forest in the trees. Or is it the other way around? Do I miss the picture in the details of memories or are the memories lost with the foreknowledge of their ending.
And I wonder if any thoughts like this plague your mind. Do you sleep soundly?
And I wonder if you care enough to wonder, even for a moment.
I wonder why I didn’t compare. And why I couldn’t. And why I give a fuck.
…And I know I’ll never know, and it wouldn’t matter if I did.
But still I lay here, and I wonder.
I’ve always loved Teddy Roosevelt quotes. This one rings true, especially today.
How I see myself vs. how others perceive me has always been a topic of interest. I love to have people tell me their first impressions of me later on in a friendship. Most often it goes something like “you seemed really intense,” “you were very no-nonsense,” “I thought you were angry.” Occasionally people see through my guise, usually not though. It’s been there for a while.
Sometimes people develop an opinion of you that is completely wrong. When the person who holds that opinion is important to us this can be devastating, and it can even cause us to doubt our view of ourselves. The saying “after the third time you’re called a horse, it might be time to buy a saddle,” comes to mind.
What do we do when that view of us is not just wrong, but destructive? This can affect how the mistaken person treats us, how others begin to see us, and how we perceive and even treat ourselves.
My initial thought as I write this is “I’m not sure.” If you correct said person they will cling to their view further. If you change how you act then in a way, you have accepted it. I think a good first step is to reaffirm how you perceive yourself.
How do I view me?
I do not always remember all of the above.
If you are going through a tough time, especially if you are doubting yourself like I am right now, try this exercise with me. Be honest but have self compassion (not self pity).
Lets repeat these to ourselves regularly and see if things change.
With love –
This is definitely one for the personal column.
I recently went through a loss (which I don’t have the distance from to discuss yet.) What I will say is that by the time I got to work yesterday, I felt like I had absolutely nothing in the tank. I literally began the day wondering how I was going to manage to get out of bed. I’d had about 3 hours of sleep, no food, and had been crying for so long it looked like I was trying to throwback to my teenage years, when red eye shadow was
an acceptable a thing.
Dame fate has a cruel streak as this was also one of those days where there were endless fires to put out, and my patients needed everything I would have had on a good day.
Being a patient in general is a scary experience and it is crucial that they feel like they can be vulnerable with you, that you won’t judge them, and that you actually care. To quote one of my favorite Buddhist speakers Ajahn Brahm: “you must be a dust bin with a hole in the bottom.” One should be able to listen to concerns and help or advise without holding on to how this affects them personally. This takes a balanced mind, discipline, and patience. If ever there was a day this was not it…
And yet there they were. One person had a breakdown within 5 minutes of arriving. An evaluation came in with red flags for a severe nerve problem termed Cauda Equina Syndrome that had somehow been missed by her primary care doctor and VA doctor. Another person twisted their newly surgically repaired ankle… and so on.
As the day progressed, each time I thought to myself that I didn’t have anything else to give, I managed to find something. People who know me know that I am nicer than I first appear. I have an extremely abrasive layer covering an annoyingly soft heart. With each new crisis I dug a little deeper and found a little more empathy, cajoling, advice, and caring. By the end of the day I’d come to a half realization that a good deal of meditation and a bit of ice cream solidified. I had been considering my own state a sign of weakness. And yet weakness would have been giving up.
Yesterday, today…I imagine quite a few of the days in my near future are going to be miserable. They are going to be dark in the dead of summer. But a tiny little part of me knows I just found a slightly stronger version of myself.
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