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Is it good enough YET? Am I on target? Whose target are we talking about, anyway?


Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: ♥Je m'appelle Laura♥)

Drained self esteem, in a can

Drained self esteem, in a can (Photo credit: mary hodder)

self-esteem, groups and hate

self-esteem, groups and hate (Photo credit: Will Lion)

Apparently, in someone’s life, for example, mine, sometimes there are folks who feel the need to set standards for others.  I understand this is important in certain contexts: academic, career/job-related requirements, expectations with regards to personal relationships, maybe also the expectations of authority figures that we may feel are important enough to place value in such a way that they may shape our very self-worth.  Is this true?  I think so, at least in my case.

I tried to craft an e-mail to my former teaching credential adviser.  I started to ramble.  Also, the nature of the information I found myself sharing was utterly personal, never mind the fact that I did not know how to even face my own feelings in this regard and how they may or may not have impacted my feelings about myself.

Is it only in Westernized industrial culture that we place our self worth so heavily upon expectations of others, particularly in the employment/career-related tracks of life?

The only other framework worth mentioning in this context is that of intimate relationships.  In my own experience and I’ll wager in others’, it seems very likely to place some kind of self-judgment in response to events that occur to include the response of our partner and the overall success of the relationship as a whole.

Why?  Why do we, I or why does anyone else, for that matter, why does anyone regard another’s opinion as a measurement of our own self worth?

The definition of self esteem as I’ve come to learn through personal strife as well as academic circles has to do with internalized self worth that is not dependent on another’s judgment.  In fact, the root of the assumption that one has what would be considered supposedly “good self esteem” is that in having this self esteem we are somehow as if made of rubber.  The negative opinions of others do not invade our sense of entitlement to respect and ultimately our worth as individuals.

Perhaps I am pondering this in a broad sense as an overall construct, but I’m also breaking it down for myself.  I’m questioning, why is it such a barrier?  Why do I feel like others’ opinions of me can in any way define my quality as a person and my effectiveness as an individual?  I know they cannot.

I practice affirmations at times, yet sometimes I have trouble writing some of them.  Affirmations are generally speaking positive statements about oneself that someone might say out loud every day or read to themselves or use in some other way to engender feelings of self esteem.

A simple one is this:  My self worth is inherent.  I define myself in my own terms, and I am unique.  Nobody else has the power to judge me or to change my ability to take care of myself.  I am powerful beyond measure if I allow, or I am quiet to the point if whisper if I choose.  It is my choice, and I live my life in the best way I know, by my own standards, and I live by my own conscience.  I don’t have to be perfect by others’ standards to be everything I need to be.

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Can I find it in my heart to have acceptance of things I wish were different? And is it true then that I really wish them different after all?


Mindfulness

Mindfulness (Photo credit: Cathdew)

I used to be a part of a group at the other mental health office — DBT, dialectical behavioral therapy.  It’s a type of cognitive behavioral therapy intended to stop people from doing self destructive things.  I’m thinking maybe it’s time to get back to it.  There’s a major emphasis on acceptance and being mindful.  These are things I desperately lack.  I lacked mindfulness when I tripped over a bottle and fractured my ankle.  I lack acceptance of the basic facts about my mental health — the treatment, the best way to work with it, the need to accept the limitations inherent.  I lack acceptance often of my baby’s adoption.  It feels unjust although it is very possibly the right thing.  I lack acceptance of some of my own strengths, which causes me to throw away some of the possibilities of achievement inherent in them.

It’s time to reclaim myself again.  I’ve allowed myself to languish too long.  It’s true I’ve needed to recover from my fall.  The fall was a symptom, though.  The way I’ve been acting, I know I’ve been manic or hypomanic recently.  I know Chris hasn’t labeled it as such, but it is blatant to anyone who would pay attention.

I think it’s just been in the past two weeks.

I have a doctor’s appointment this coming week, I believe.  I’ll confirm it.  I’ll make sure I can go.  And I’ll ask the questions necessary. . . set up transportation or see if I’m able to get on the bus safely.

I’m going to be venturing out on my own just down the street with my crutch for the first time since I fell.  I had been nervous because I didn’t want to fall again.  I kind of stayed home.  I think, actually, perhaps I may have made only one other trip.  I forget if I did or not.  I know I’ve gone down to the store with Chris a couple times.  This weekend, he helped me get to the DMV.  He also helped me around the house.

My mood was elevated, and I was overly angry at times.  I was just lecturing.  I’ve also been really serious and intense.  I think these are symptoms, maybe irritability.  I would have to verify, but I really think so.

Anyway, I’ll do what I have to do this week.

My house is stocked with healthy food because a church friend, who’s also the minister’s wife, gave me a ride over to the store again.  She’s really sweet.  They’re moving because her husband didn’t seem to find his true passion with this congregation.  I guess sometimes that’s just how it is.

I’d like to get to church for a little while before they leave.  I’d like to move up in my independence, maybe drive myself there.  I need to find some kind of efficient way to get over there.  I’ll work it out.  I feel it’s an important part of my life.

Next month, April, is a big month in my life always.  It used to be the end of the year was somehow significant because my birthday was in Christmas time and because my grandfather’s was just around Thanksgiving.  The whole season was packed more than anything.  Now April is my wedding anniversary (10th), my father’s birthday — God rest his soul (5th), and my son’s birthday (24th).  Last year, on my father’s birthday, my son was taken out of my custody.  That was the last day that I cared for my son in my own home.

Is it tragic?  I could say it’s part of what I had a feeling would happen for some time before it did happen.  I just had an intuition that this was not going to be an easy road, that there would be roadblocks, and probably it would not go smoothly.

When I found out I would be pregnant, I was asked whether I wanted to keep the baby, put him up for adoption or — terminate.  I knew for a fact I would not terminate him; that much was certain.  I’m pro-choice in general, but I knew I would not kill my own.  I remember lying on the hospital bed where I was when I found out.  I just stayed in bed and got up to walk around, drink chamomile tea a bit.  I don’t remember if they removed all my meds or not.  All I know is that I accepted it.  I accepted the plan that I felt was not completely my own but that had been a choice I made one way or another.

I am so glad I accepted that.  I am so, so glad.  I would never have had any part of this road change other than maybe the fact that David had to go through so much medical strife when he was first born, in the first six months of life.  I would always have chosen to give birth, to raise him if I could, and if it was not workable, if he was not getting what he could from me — I knew I would have to let go and let him have the life he deserves, the best life possible.  This is what I’ve always known deep down, and this is why I made that initial choice.

Now I know.  I know I made the right decision, and I know that everything is for the best.  It’s amazing to say that at long last.  I just know everything will be fine.  And I’m grateful, so very much.

Autonomy, Creativity and Psychological Issues


Português: Gato Psicótico criado pelo autor. E...

Image via Wikipedia

Rethink Mental Illness

Image via Wikipedia

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/wilma-smithtempel.html?tab=artwork

Normally, I share my artwork in the designated page entitled “Artwork.”  You can find this in the upper tabs.

Recently, I have started making my art available on the above website, FineArtAmerica.com.  The pieces are just available as cards right now.  Someday soon I will figure out how to edit my art into print-size and poster-size versions.  Until then, these cards will continue to be available so people can get a hint at some of the projects I have done.  I have some more that I could probably post.  Soon I will get it accomplished.  I’m slow; bear with me.

I was going to ask advice on the issue of keeping my relationship going despite very negative interactions with my husband.  I have been wondering how often it happens that couples who have been separated reunite to live happily ever after.  Also, we ask the question of whether living apart but remaining married (sometimes called Living Apart Together) can provide a happy middle ground. one where we don’t have to part completely but can enjoy autonomy.

Perhaps the problem we are facing is one my father used to say as a child and that he told me about a lot.  I used to ask my father repeatedly to tell me stories about himself growing up.  One that he always repeated and I never tired of was that of how he used to tell his mother she was “frustrating his autonomy” when he was just a small child.  Maybe that’s what we do to each other.  Maybe we need our space.

I have twisted delusions sometimes, ones that I don’t always tell people.  I will think someone is another person entirely.  I will think that I used to know them a long time ago in another part of my life but they don’t remember their old identity and neither do I.  Do other people imagine these things?  They frighten me sometimes because maybe I am strange enough to believe them.  It’s kind of uncomfortable talking about it in the open, but I figure the more I’m willing to talk about it, the more it makes the world a safe place for people to talk openly about their mental differences.

Why do we have to call it “mental illness” or “disorder” or “craziness” or “insanity”?  True, these things are scary.  They can rob us of pieces of our lives.  Maybe I’m the one having trouble admitting the truth.  Maybe I’m also stuck in what old style Freudian psychoanalysis would call neurosis, meaning I have unresolved trauma and this brings up false memories and beliefs.  Which is true?  How do I know?  Do other people think this way?

In the end, I just have to live with what I have and move forward whatever my strange imaginings may be.  When I share my art with the world, I am showing another part of myself.  When I contribute to the world through volunteerism, I am giving back to others while building on my own self esteem.

I have to tell myself I’m fine even when I’m struggling.  I really am fine, just as long as I decide to use my resources and stay ahead of my symptoms.

Wilma the Conqueror: Winning the Battle of the Bulge


This title might be preemptive.  I have not yet lost more than about 15 pounds.  Still, I am going to lose over a hundred pounds, no matter how long it takes me, preferably within a year.  If it takes me longer, I will keep going.  I will pursue my objective and I will not give up.  This is not just about a number on the scale; far from it.  This is about my self respect as a human being, as a mother, as a wife, as an individual, as an American, as a lover of possibilities, and mostly just as Wilma, I, me, myself.

 

I have hemmed and hawed and pretended to care and pretended to try and made promises to myself and pretended again, and the reason I saw no results was that I was pretending and lying to myself.  I didn’t want to really lose weight; I just wanted to tell everyone I did.  I wanted to pretend that I loved myself when inside I was filled with self-loathing.  It’s a hard thing to admit and talk about in public, so I kept the feelings quiet and dormant, then just pretended to be health conscious and went about my merry business shoveling my face full of French fries and ice cream.

 

Oh, I was in denial of the worst sort.  I was in denial that I had a problem.  It was a thin denial, translucent, because on the other side, I was sure that everyone could see that I really wanted to be healthy.  I just didn’t see the need to try.  I would try for a week or two then give up.  I’d eat something I knew wasn’t helping me, and the whole thing would be over.  I’d gain more weight and be back to business as usual, vegetarian but fat, and not healthy, not caring about myself, and not succeeding at the business of caring for others either (which I thought I was doing rather well).

 

Fast forward to “The Now” as they call it and you’ll see someone who really understands that you cannot care for others until you take sufficient care of yourself.  It’s a lesson I had to learn time and time again.  I’ve stated it in another entry of this blog.  It’s an important point, though.  To be a caring person, to care for anyone, truly, one must care for oneself.  This is what was lacking in my past.  This is what I’m putting into practice In the Now.