Does this sound familiar: you are rushing to leave for work, helping your partner find their keys, packing lunches into backpacks, trying to put dinner in the crockpot, trying to remember your keys, then finally making it out the door. Once you arrive at work you have a meeting with your supervisor, are asked to get something from the supply room (which leads to three more people wanting something), then one of the residents asks you to talk about a big challenge they are facing.
How are you going to do all of this at once, and make everyone happy?
The short answer: you can’t.
The long answer: listen to this episode of the Caring for the Caregivers podcast and learn some important tools you can use to control the overwhelm of trying to help everyone at once.
00:00 Intro 01:16 Scenario 02:36 Indrani – Make a list, and learn to grow your self-empathy bucket 13:52 Discussion 17:42 Amy – using your values to say a positive “No” 28:13 Jeremie – applying these lessons to your organization (and to puppies!) 35:26 Discussion 38:05 Summary and conclusion
I stayed at a hotel recently and the key to the room was an electronic gizmo that looked like a key. It inserted into the lock like a key and turned like a key.
I wondered, “why the trouble to make this new technology look like old tech?”
Comfort to the guests. We all know what a key looks like. We are all creatures of habit and want to feel secure, so holding a key in our hand is a familiar feeling.
This key was different. It was embedded with the code to get into a particular room. Room 1167 would not be able to work on the lock for room 1624.
Makes perfect sense.
All the keys, however, were able to access the elevators that took each guest to any floor they wanted to visit. I have been in hotels where your room key only allowed you to access your floor, and if you had a friend on another floor they had to let you in.
This got me thinking about the symbolism and metaphors we have for keys:
The keys to our hearts.
The key to success.
The 5 or 10 or 100 keys to ______
The ONE key to happiness
Happiness is key to ________
Food is the key to a man’s heart
I am sure you can come up with other sayings.
When we allow people to enter into our lives, we give them a symbolic key of trust. We welcome them into our private spaces. We don’t say, “you are only allowed to use the kitchen but not the bathroom.” We ASSUME that they will respect the trust we have given.
However, when the people we trust take the key we have offered and turn it against us, we feel violated. We may say things like,
“I trusted you to not steal my money when we opened our joint account.”
“I trusted you to not have sex with my best friend when we went out last night.”
“I trusted you to not bash my face in when you are angry and blame all your failures on me.”
Each one of the above sentences represents a situation where we GAVE the key to our hearts and lives to another and they use that key to wreck our lives.
When this happens, we must find the courage to “lock” them out of our hearts. That, often feels quite impossible.
We feel like they know us too well for us to set any real boundaries. Often, they know us better than we feel we know ourselves, but that is not true.
We must find the courage to block the codes they have used to enter our private heart spaces. If we have values of love and bravery and courage, they know our strengths and may say “Well you say you have love as a value, but you can’t find a way to love me as I am. You must be a liar!”
When this happens, we may try to prove them wrong by showing them how much love we have and we may stay in unhealthy situations longer than we should.
What to do?
Turn those values of Love and Bravery and Courage back on yourself and show your own self that you have the only key to emotional freedom. Freedom to choose a healthy relationship over one that causes pain.
The other day I was preparing some small quilts to take with me to India for a program I planned to visit. The quilt squares had been decorated by children of the mothers who had been burned by fire or acid. I had met these kids years before and never got a chance to finish up the quilts. I was going to India in a few days so I was inspired to finish them. This work reflected all my hearts passions: meeting the survivors, speaking to the kids, remembering to bring them fabric swatches, saving the swatches for the right time to finish it and of course sitting at my beautiful machine and finishing the project.
All of a sudden, the machine would not work. The needle would not stay threaded.The bottom thread would not catch. I rethreaded it about 6 times and then I yelled, to no one really, “what the F is wrong with this machine?”
I began to hyper focus on the threading mechanism and tried to use a pen to poke the thread into one of the moving parts and of course it could not work. I had never threaded the machine with a damn pen before. Why was I trying to do that now? I have been sewing for 50 years. I used to make my own Catholic School uniform skirts. I KNOW how to thread a sewing machine.
Then a heard a voice in my head say “Indrani zoom out, close your eyes, and use muscle memory to do this. Nothing is wrong with you or the machine.”
I closed my eyes. I allowed my hands to float up to the machine and I held the thread a loft. I mimicked threading motions and saw that my left hand floated behind the presser foot to check if it was in the down position.
I opened my eyes.
The presser foot was NOT in the proper position.
I put the foot down and threaded the machine and finished the quilts.
Then, it dawned on me that this episode mimics what women do to themselves. We KNOW how to be in the world. We know how to be brave and courageous and yet, when we forget a simple thing (like lowering the presser foot) we begin to judge ourselves and we accept the judgment of others. I love that it was the “putting down of the foot” that brought me out of my trance of feeling inadequate and stupid for not successfully completing a task I have done 1000’s of times for 50 years. How can you use this in your life?
The next time you KNOW deep in your heart how to do something, or WHO you are at your core, put your foot down on the knowledge and do not allow any one (even your judgmental self) to convince you otherwise. If others in your life say unkind things, let if go in one ear and out the next. Put your foot down and don’t let others define you with their words. Maybe use a simple phrase like “I am not sure whom you are describing, but that’s not me.”
Believe the words. You know you!
Now, go be the full YOU. The world needs all of you.
You put a lot of passion, love, and effort into supporting your clients at work, and your family at home. It can be challenging (and very emotional) when the people you are helping don’t say “thank you” or show any gratitude for the support and energy you give them. In this episode Indrani, Amy, and Jeremie share three more tools (in addition to the tools shared in Episode #5) you can use to change your perspective when someone doesn’t show you appreciation.
01:08 Introduction 02:33 Scenario 03:15 Indrani – Bring self-compassion into the formula 06:36 Discussion about self-compassion 14:55 Amy – Practice Critical Awareness 20:46 Discussion about using Critical Awareness 25:48 Jeremie – Find an “Appreciation Buddy” 28:13 Jeremie – Think about a “Future State” 30:24 Conclusion
*Psst.. Did you know you can highlight any sentence in this post to automatically share it via Twitter or Facebook? Go ahead, give it a try!**
There is a movement afoot where people want to uncover where their food is sourced.
Photo Credit: Flickr/chailey
We have seen an increase in artisan cheese makers, organic farms, grass fed beef and free range chicken. We are balking at farm raised fish and grabbing up the fresh Alaskan Salmon as soon as it drives into your stores.
We fuss about GMO foods and antibiotics injected into our meats and pesticides on our farm produce.
We try as much as we can to ingest the foods that are good for us. We know that messing with the food that nature produces may not be the best thing for our natural bodies.
We run internet campaigns against the large international corporations when they hide what they are doing with our food. We start neighborhood campaigns to help the local farmer, and we are proud when we make even a small dent in the way people think about the food they eat.
We have even seen a fast food chain like McDonalds put apple slices into a kids meal as they hope we forget that the meat in the burger may not be all meat.
I remember when they started advertising their chicken nuggets as 100% all chicken! I wondered what the heck was in the nuggets before.
Yet…we do not take one tenth of this investigative energy to put into the emotions that we take at face value and swallow as if we do not have a choice.
I was recently speaking to a dear friend who is an amazing foodie who prides himself on only cooking and ingesting the very best that he can source. He collects his own seaweed and mushrooms and can smell the difference in fresh seafood and insists on free range chicken and grass fed beef. He only buys the freshest produce and will go without before he ingests foods not good for his system.
He is the epitome of a healthy man!
Except that he accepts the thoughts he often thinks about being not “good enough “or “being selfish” as gospel truth.
He thinks about past childhood pain and imagines that somehow he had something to do with it. He thinks he may have been ” bad” so that his caretakers had good reason to ignore him, give him the silent treatment or just brow beat him back into the mold they made for him.
He thinks that he could have “made them” love and accept him as he longed to be loved and accepted.
He is wrong.
Children are given to us so that the adults in their lives can show them how to love. They learn how to love themselves by the way they are unconditionally loved by their caretakers.
If the caretakers withhold love and support until some action is extracted then the child gets a skewed view of how to be in the world. The disease of people pleasing begins to take root.
I would love to see the day when we feel an emotion that causes us pain and immediately begin to hunt for the source of the pain. I would love to see more people “sourcing the beginning” of their pain.
If, for instance, I choose to stay home and not attend a family function, and if I am told that I am selfish, instead of accepting that diagnosis I should be able to bring up the thousands of examples where I did what was asked and realize that the choice to say NO to a few things is MY right.
It does not make me selfish.
It makes me human.
As I take the time to reflect on life from this side of 60, I send so much compassion to my younger self who was ready to browbeat herself about transgressions that were freely lavished on her. I wish she knew that she was a good child, a good young girl, a good young woman and a good wife and mother. She wasted so much precious life energy berating herself for “crimes against the family” that she should not have accepted.
I send compassion to young and old everywhere and hope that they will find the self compassion to begin to question all the emotions that are imposed upon them by blaming voices and people who have no business judging others.
I ask you to hold yourself with loving compassion today. Even if only for a few moments.
Think about who you have to listen to each day and have a conversation with, or communicate with daily:
The people sitting next to you
The check out person at the store
The list can go on and on….
With all of phone calls, texts, emails and face-to-face conversations that go on during the course of a day we could be listening to 10’s and for some 100’s of people a day.
Let’s imagine a conversation with our best friend.
ME: Hi! How ya doing? How’s your day?
FRIEND: Well, today I am tired and I just don’t have any energy.
ME: Oh really? I am sorry to hear that. Why? FRIEND: Yes. I am really dragging, I am a little down.
ME: Oh, are you getting enough sleep? Eating well? Are you sick? FRIEND: No, I did not get enough sleep. I’m not sick. Maybe I am not eating enough veggies and I’m eating too much junk food, maybe that is it….
ME: What can I do to help? Why don’t you turn the phone off and take a nap. Your work/laundry/cleaning/ will still be there when you wake up. But you’ll feel better. Oh, I know, finish up what you have to get done and call it a day. Take a bath and just start fresh tomorrow.
Does this conversation sound familiar?
Notice that nowhere in the list of people we listen to everyday, who we talk with, do we take the time to have a quiet conversation with ourselves. Let’s take that same conversation and switch roles of our best friend with ourselves, our bodies.
ME: Hi how ya doing? How’s your day? MYSELF: Well, today I am tired and I just don’t have any energy.
ME: Oh really why? Come on shake it off, it’s a work day you know… MYSELF: I am really dragging, I am a little down.
ME: Oh you had four, almost five hours sleep. It’s almost the weekend, toughen up. Maybe a Starbucks or a Coke will pick you up…the day will be over soon. MYSELF: No, I did not get enough sleep. I’m not sick. Maybe I am not eating enough veggies and I’m eating too much junk food, maybe that is it….
ME: Listen, just push through the day, let’s get our work/laundry/cleaning done and cross it off the list. We’ll try to go to bed early. Hey the weekend is coming and maybe we can take a nap then. Snap to it!
The first conversation with our friends is a kind, warm and compassionate conversation. The second is cold, uncaring and demanding.
Why is it that we are the hardest on ourselves?
Take some time to listen to your heart, mind and body. Show it the same warmth, caring and compassion as you would your best friend or even your child.
We should always take time to have a conversation with ourselves and listen closely to what we need.
Can you take a break from doing everything for everyone?
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