Not Crazy, Just Human: Cut Yourself Some Slack during the Holidays

Not Crazy, Just Human -Book Cover

Over the next several months, we will be sharing some of the learning from “Not Crazy, Just Human: Moving Through Trauma to Healing”.

This first excerpt is timely. The holidays can bring all sorts of joy and also all sorts of stress. Remember to be kind to yourself can help!

Cut yourself some slack

One day last summer, I went for lunch with my brother, Devin. I am so grateful that we have always been very close. (Other than when he was young and annoying, of course!).

While we ate our Thai food during lunch last summer, Devin shared about a time ten years ago when he went through a tough situation.

“You were there for me, Der. You were always there for me. I want you to know that I am here for you too.” That was good to hear. He continued, “One day, when things were getting better for me, we were out for coffee, and I started talking about the tough situation again. I remember you saying, ‘Oh, I wondered when that might come up again.’”

“Did I really say that,” I asked. “Like in a ‘mean’ way?”

“Yes,” Devin said. “It was as though you just wanted to talk about something else—about something good, and you did not want to keep talking about that same bad situation. I am only telling you this because it might be affecting you now …  if you are being impatient with yourself, if you are judging yourself, if you are trying to just get over this, it could be damaging you.”

I thought about that a lot when I got home. Thanks, Dev. That was a huge gift to me. Even though I do not remember saying that a decade ago (and really do not ever want to be that way with others who are sharing something with me), it was a good reminder that if I don’t want to be that way with them, I should not be that way with myself.

So ,,, when you feel challenged, worried or irritated, or when you say or do something you really wish you had not, remember to be kind to yourself. Pause, put your hand over your heart, and speak to yourself like you would speak to someone you love.

 

Mental Health in the Workplace: Be Compassionately Curious With Yourself and Others

I had the honor of experiencing Dr. Gabor Mate for two days in a workshop on Compassionate Inquiry. I was riveted the entire time. This post features just a wee snippet of the opportunity we all have to increase our compassion for ourselves and for others.

Dr. Mate describes how we are all traumatized. He goes on to say that the essence of the trauma is not what happened to you, it is what happened inside of you as a result of what happened to you. If you were neglected as a child, the neglect is what happened to you, and the trauma is what happened inside of you as a result of that neglect (developing a belief that you are not worthy of love and being cared for, for example).

Part of his teaching was about how to treat yourself when you are triggered. Instead of trying to ‘fix’ that part of yourself that was triggered (i.e. when your childhood belief about your unworthiness appears in your adult relationships), you can be curious about what ‘combustible material’ inside of you was triggered. And this part is very important: when you are curious, you are not judging yourself – you are only seeking to understand that mechanism that resides inside of you. And to make friends with it.

“You are never upset about what you are upset about – it is always a trigger that goes way back. They are not new emotions.” says Mate.

Check out his Youtube video below, in which he explains the root of how we develop these mechanisms inside of us – and how we can develop a new relationship with them – one that is more compassionately curious.

One study Dr. Mate shared with us really stuck with me. It was a study in which mice were exposed to a certain smell and then simultaneously were given a shock. The mice began to associate the smell and the pain of the shock. After awhile, just the smell would bring pain to the mice – they became conditioned to associate the two. This part of the study makes sense – you have likely heard about other studies just like this one.

What was really interesting about this study is the next part … the grandchildren of these mice shudder at the smell – and they were never shocked! This conditioning was passed on through the generations. It is done epigenetically;  how the genes function are changed and then passed down through generations. The grand-mice are manifesting the experience of their ancestors – and, likewise, so do you.

When you are curious about the source of your experience, it will enhance your compassion – towards yourself and towards others. And when you are more compassionate and understanding of your internal mechanisms, you can begin to change your relationship with them (and interrupt the ‘auto’ response of the trigger). You, then, are able to make different choices when triggered – you can choose a different path, and have the opportunity to affect the future gene pool along the way!

Stay tuned for more in future posts…and check out more from Dr. Mate on Youtube.

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker, Author, and Organizational consultant, Deri works with organizations who want to create happy and healthy workplaces for increased positivity, productivity and prosperity!

 

Be Here NOW

It’s holiday season. The stores are bustling. Homes are decorated. Friends and family are gathering to share in some holiday cheer. I love this time of year!

That is not the case for everyone. The holiday season can be one that brings dread. It might be filled with feelings of sadness and loneliness. For some, depression can take root due to unmet expectations, a recent loss, or the perception that you are the only one not having a great time.

This is the perfect time of year to Be Here NOW. To pause. To just ‘be’.

Resisting whatever you are experiencing, or perpetually wishing things were different than they are for you, can rob you of the present moment. This is a reminder that the present moment is the best gift you can give yourself today – and every day.

If you are already have a meditation practice, you already know what it can offer to you. If you do not, I invite you to begin with one minute of meditation each day through the holidays. (I bet you’ll be hooked …and will want to continue!)

My favorite time is in the morning. Awaken just a few minutes early. Sit up in bed (or stay lying down if you think you can be sure not to fall back asleep!), put your feel flat on the floor, back upright, hands comfortably in your lap. Set your timer for 1 minute. Close your eyes. Notice your breath. Simply observe your breath going in, breath going out. Just notice. When your timer rings, shut it off and sit for a few more seconds. In those few seconds, reflect on one thing to which you are looking forward for that day. Just one thing. See it. Hear it. Taste it. Feel it.

My friend and fellow Professional Speaker, Dave Carroll, wrote a beautiful song, which has inspired the title of this post. The lyrics are so eloquent. The message is powerful.

When There’s No Way Out There’s Still A Way Through

So Don’t Give Up Whatever You Do

Surrender To Moments And Things As They Are

From The Gaps In Your Catch-22’s

When There’s No Way Out There’s Still A Way Through

Take a listen. You’ll fall in love with his beautiful voice, and even more beautiful message.

Wrap up this priceless present to yourself. Be Here NOW.

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker, Author, and Organizational consultant, Deri works with organizations who want to create happy and healthy workplaces for increased positivity, productivity and prosperity!