Reflections on being gentle to yourself.
There are three reasons why I wrote this post. A post that runs across today and tomorrow.
Firstly, this post is inspired by love! The supreme love that I receive from my darling Jeannie and the love that I sense practically twenty-four hours a day that flows from the beautiful dogs that we have here. But also from the wonders of the rural world in which I live. From sights like the one below to being visited by wild deer every single morning when I go out to feed the horses.
The second reason for writing this post is a direct result of the love that flows in from so, so many of you precious readers. You are like one big online family that I live in. And, as one hopes to do within a family, from time to time you want to open up your inner feelings.
The third and final reason for this post is wanting to explore how one might find some peace from the chaos that seems to be spread so far and wide across this planet that we all call home.
It’s a very personal journey and I suggest that if this is not your ‘cup of tea’ that you call back another day!
OK! Now that’s off my chest, here we go!
“Life’s beauty is inseparable from it’s fragility.“
Pause awhile and just let those words float around your mind.
It is a quotation taken from a TED Talk that Jean and I watched a few days ago.
The speaker is Susan David and is described on that TED Talk page as follows:
Psychologist Susan David shares how the way we deal with our emotions shapes everything that matters: our actions, careers, relationships, health and happiness. In this deeply moving, humorous and potentially life-changing talk, she challenges a culture that prizes positivity over emotional truth and discusses the powerful strategies of emotional agility. A talk to share.
This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.
If you want to watch the talk it is a little over 16 minutes long and may be viewed on the TED Talk site here.
Let me return to that quotation. For there is no question that life, at whatever scale, from the personal to the global, is fragile. Fragile with a capital “F“!
Whether it’s the madness of our politics and governments, or nature presenting us with extreme hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes and floods, or the frustrations of life itself, especially when one is the wrong side of 65, or numerous other aspects of being human it’s terribly easy to become frustrated, or worse, with oneself. I speak from a very personal perspective as my short-term recall is now pathetic!
STOP! (You see, I wrote the word “pathetic” without thinking. Demonstrating how quickly I come down on myself. Without automatically and unconsciously being gentle on myself and being very grateful that this old Brit, born in 1944, is still able to string a few words together!)
One of the great, possibly the greatest, things that we can learn from our dogs is to be gentle on ourselves. So very often our dogs take time out to relax, to be happy and to spread their joy around the home. Look at the following photograph!
Being gentle on yourself!
But for us humans that seems a great deal more easier to say than to practice!
Yet the argument for being gentle to yourself is compelling. And the first step in that personal journey towards being kinder to yourself is to be better aware of oneself when it comes to our emotions.
I shall be continuing this inward journey tomorrow but today, holding on to that idea of how we manage our emotions, I want to close with another TED Talk. Just 18 minutes long but invaluable to watch.
The talk is given by Professor Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD who is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University,and has positions in psychiatry and radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
As I was reading the draft of this post it did cross my mind that you do know I write from a purely personal perspective. I hold no qualifications whatsoever in the fields of psychiatry, psychology or any related disciplines. If you have found yourself to be affected to the point where you think you need proper counselling then, please, do seek help.
Part Two coming along tomorrow!