Reflecting on the 3Cs, I think I get the message finally that my therapist and doctors have been trying to convey.
Courage---I have to be courageous in this work. Be brave and sit quietly with uncomfortable feelings --like panic---like anxiety---like anger---like inadequacy. Have courage I will be ok --and in my courage---and experience with each one, I gain courage that I can handle these thoughts and subsequent emotions when they happen. I will be courageous.
Compassion---I need to be compassionate with myself. There is one particular woman who was in the hospital and then aftercare with me--a girl really---only just 19 years old---and when I hear her struggles or see her I want to wrap my arms around her and never let her go. I cannot explain the connection....other than she reminds me of a female version of my oldest son. I just want to protect her and tell her how beautiful she is, how smart and brave and wonderful and funny and precious she is to this world. My heart aches for her struggles, similar and yet so profoundly different than mine. This is the types of compassion that is missing from my life in other areas--the most important one being --- turning the warmth of compassion toward myself as I struggle.
I am stuck in judgement---of others, of myself. The judgment fuels the poison of negative self talk. Criticism. Anger. Comparison. Envy. Directed toward self and others --these emotions and subsequent feelings are toxic. I "get it"---how compassion works---I feel it for my children---for this young woman. I need to broaden my arms---to embrace myself first----which will allow me to embrace others. This is a big one I must practice.
Connection ---I am starting to see how this one works. People need to feel connected. We have our families, our communities, our work, our world--and there is a deep desire in each of us to belong. You can see it in something as simple as all the mom blogs out there. People share stories, struggles, concerns--and through doing so---connect to one another. The Internet is relatively new --and the old fashioned way of face to face works even better. You see someone struggling---with groceries, a child, a dog, a problem, a heavy heart. You reach out. You share your stories. You connect. We are all part of the same world. I hear you. You are not alone.
I have spent a lot of time trying to demonstrate what is seen as successful today. The going it alone approach. I don't need anyone. I can't rely on anyone but myself. Depending on other people could lead to being let down, hurt, looking stupid, feeling vulnerable. Build the walls--there will be no connection---no risk. But boy is that lonely.
Only recently have I discovered the joy of reaching out and being heard, accepted and loved for all of me. It is a powerful, powerful force...feeling part of something. Part of the world. Part of life. I think this is what is missing when people decide they no longer want to live. They feel cut off from life...outside....unconnected. I have been there. I sometimes visit there. I never knew there was something else. Connection. And when you connect with someone--they connect back. You share with them--they share with you. There is an energy exchange that happens. (this is why gossip and negative sharing is a connection that drains you and makes you feel worse.) Goodwill, generosity of spirit, love, compassion (ooo look how they are connected here! Compassion and connection!
So when you have the courage, to reach out...to be compassionate with yourself and others ---you can connect with yourself and others! Each one feeds the others and keeps us in that positive space of the here and now. Sharing and accepting our imperfect selves. Courage. Compassion. Connection.
I get it!