I’ve been encouraged to write more on this topic after my previous post Dignity or pride in 2013. Here I show an image of celebrities Jane Caro being awarded the AHOY 2013 (Australian Humanist of the Year) by Robyn Williams (AHOY 1993) with me as the Convenor/MC of the CAHS (Council of Humanist Societies) Convention Dinner Sydney at which my son Paul Zagoridis was elected President of CAHS.Â Hence I’m using this example as a positive definition of pride considering that these images are mementos depicting how proud I was of the occasion and the people connected with it. So pride can be both positive and negative. Negative in the sense that it blinds us to the damage of ego. As in the case of not wanting to see the obvious such as when someone we love does not return that love. We only see that person as either popular, wealthy, good looking who will boost our status ifÂ seen to be partnered with us no matter what or we don’t want to believe someone we love does not love us as much as we wish – that is an example of negative pride.Â Or expecting our children to succeed in education, sport or career when it is causing them pain just so that we shine is a negative pride. However, if it is a pride as a result of supporting their dreams and achievements for their happiness then it is a justified pride.
Dignity:Â I don’t believe there is a negative dignity. The word itself implies a positivity. It comes with maturity, both age and emotional, even though it is encouraged that the ‘child within’ needs to be given the freedom to enjoy certain joys in life, being able to discern when, where, how and at what level shows a person’s self awareness and maturity.
Perhaps better than Dignity or Pride should be written Dignity and Pride for both may be needed at times.
An important part of being in recovery from codependence is having a healthy relationship with self. In other words, the choice is self love or codependence. A comment from Maranda on my post about having a relationship with self shows how difficult it is for some to conceptualise this – “Nice theory… How can you start “loving yourself” in real life, I wonder?” Some people can only feel lovable when someone else loves them and then they see themselves through someone else’s eyes. No one can make you feel in a certain way unless you allow yourself to feel that way to begin with. So the ability to feel one way or another comes from within. The same way that you can feel terrible about your self, you can feel confident about yourself and, therefore, feel lovable – that’s self love. To hand over your power about how you feel is codependence or being neurotic.
Loretta came home with her small children and
found his clothes gone!
she managed to get the toddlers bathed, fed and to sleep
then she collapsed as the reality hit her
what happened? how come she didn’t know?
how did he expect them to survive without him?
she got through the night without any sleep
then the next day she was in ‘shell shock’
but the next night, too exhausted to stay awake
she drifted off believing that without him she
would be forever alone raising their children
it never occurred to her that she was lovable
at 25 she thought she would live alone forever!
fortunately, she remembered that she is lovable
and when faced with self love or codependence
she chose to focus on the relationship with self
he came back but in time she just sent him away
because she discovered that she deserved better
The worst part of fear is that we can become immobilised by it. In other words, we become frozen like a ‘stunned mullett’ when we are fearful and not able to make decisions to even save ourselves. There are several steps to take in order to cope with fear so that it does not debilitate us. First we need to breathe evenly in a rounded fashion – this will help us relax; then we need to imagine how it will feel to be a part of the solution and how rewarding that will be; finally we need to take action instead of just sitting and waiting for it to get better. There are probably other steps that may suit you personally, so note them and make sure you can recall them when you are next experiencing fear.
the boss was autocratic and prided himself on
being masculine or “macho” in his approach
his staff had been full of fear and either moved on
or everyone was miserable at work!
eventually they overcame their fear and
spoke to him about how badly they felt
and to their surprise he realised that it was
risky for his business that his staff are unhappy
so he put in a plan to involve them in the decisions
and give them a voice to keep him informed
about his behaviour and how it affected productivity
in time they realised that he was indeed smart to be
willing to change his approach for the sake of his business
and that overcoming their fear and asserting themselves
made a huge difference for their wellbeing
The key to success, photo by Jocilyn Pope, London, United Kingdom, assertiveness
I’ve written about burnout in the last two posts because it is so prevalent in our day and age. Having experienced it myself, I shared with you about how burnout crept up on me and its consequences to my health. Fortunately, I was able to nip it in the bud, nevertheless it had left me not as strong as I am normally. As a food addict in recovery this causes me to think of rewarding myself with trigger foods to give me the energy. However, I reminded myself of the saying this too shall pass. So, I gave myself permission to do everything at 80% level so as to recuperate and not put myself at risk of burnout again. Admittedly, it takes a while to get back to normal.
I was lacking in energy to go to hydrotherapy so
using an NLP (Nurolinguistic Programming) technique
to integrate the different selves
I got in touch with that self in me who
is responsible for this sabotage and found out
that it was a he, and that he wanted more recreation
so I agreed to spend time writing and sketching
which I had not done in at least a year
and was pleased to find as a result
I was eager to go to my next hydrotherapy session
Someone wisely said to me once that to avoid burnout he puts in only 80% of his full potential, especially at work. Once he had experienced burnout to the worst level and thought he was even going to die, so from then on he always remembered how bad that was. Whenever he experienced euphoric recall about the ‘high’ of being productive, he remembered the misery of burnout and that snapped him out of being driven to do more. In time that tool gave him serenity and a healthy way of living whilst enjoying whatever he was doing.
Comments from Atlanta and Paul reminded me of the ‘80% effort to avoid burnout’ theory and I show them here as a further reminder.
Atlanta wrote: Sorry to hear that you have been in burnout. A good reminder about self care. I hope that you are feeling better soon.
Paul wrote:Wow I really identify with this state. My boss was away this last week and I had a heap of things to do without interruptions. I was looking forward to getting some work finalised. I was suffering with a sore back and took some pain-killers to alleviate it. By Thursday I realised I had not achieved anything. As a matter of fact I was unable to make decisions. Partly because of the side effect of the pain-killers, but mostly from the burnout of trying to achieve too much for too long without celebrating my wins. Funny, though I’m posting this comment from another city, where I am spending my weekend working.
When we commit to too many deadlines we risk burnout. That feeling of becoming immobilised and overcome by massive apathy. This can be interpreted as fatigue and in many ways it is. How easily burnout can sneak up on us, even if we are experienced and take the necessary precautions usually to avoid it happening. The sneaky part is that we are hooked on completing the task at hand, and the adrenaline rush throws us into denial about the risks that come with neglecting the safety measures. Once we are suffering burnout it, nature takes its course and we find that we are unable to do even the simplest things – as we vegetate the body and mind rejuvenates itself. We fret about being out of control and we promise never to let it happen again. Then we worry about the immobilised state we are in. We just need to remember that ‘this too shall pass’ and we will find the strength and motivation to become active once more.
I have not written daily posts for the last 2 weeks
because I was in burnout – to the max
I completed two deadlines which kept me up late
at night and which involved my days full on too
my abstinence from food addiction was threatened
and I thought I was in control of how much
this work was affecting my wellbeing
it was not until after I met the deadlines that
reality ‘bit me on the bum’ and I realised my mistake
now I am resting reminding myself that it will pass
and soon I will be up and moving again, but cautiously
this is my first step today
Every day we have mixed feelings about different matters. Resentments are strong feelings which we can bury deep within, contaminating our wellbeing. What’s worse is being in denial about doing just that. Resentments are so cunning that we can ignore their existence until it’s too late and we have surprising explosive behaviours. That’s why it’s far better to be in touch with our feelings and own them as being naturally ours, and in doing so they settle down. Then we need to observe their origin and what can be done to resolve this turmoil. The expression ‘befriend our demons’ means finding those feelings which we have suppressed, that have subsequently turned into problematic behaviour, and processing them.
she had long ago ‘befriended her demons’
as a result of intense therapy and
personal and professional development
she took pride in being a guide for others
on similar journeys of enlightenment
but she didn’t notice resentments building up
deep within, in her inner world
on the outside she was busy and happy
but something was not as it should be
she’d gained weight and had an insatiable appetite
it took 3 OA meetings a week to get real
about her buried unwanted feelings of
resentment, self pity, boredom, loneliness
which she was busy avoiding with activities
and for which she had paid the price
fortunately it didn’t take long for her
to tweak her choices back into healthy living
That look, photo by Betty Miller, http://fireyes.deviantart.com
It’s so easy to justify isolation as being time alone. When you prefer to be alone rather than being a part of the community and feel intolerant about everything and everyone then it’s a warning sign that all is not well. To ignore that is to toy with serious consequences. Many people would rather suffer than do whatever it takes to heal. Sometimes all it takes is writing about how we feel until the core anger or fear is released. Other times it may take joining a group to share similar interests or hobbies. Another solution is seeing a doctor or therapist to sound out your innermost thoughts. Perhaps there may be a need for a change in diet, exercise, or taking supplements (vitamins). It could be you need medication or anti-depressants under doctor’s supervision. Or all of the above. Whatever it is, don’t let the dysfunction or ill health ruin your life and that of others. Deal with it and turn your life around to be more joyful and fulfilling.
she’s in her eighties and totally alone
full of complaints about her family
whom she feels has abandoned her
over the years she’s had interesting friends
for short periods of time because
she constantly ‘leaves bodies in her wake’
her dysfunctional behaviour shows as
meanness and blame levelled at all ages
any suggestion for therapy or medication
incurred her wrath
then one day as a result of some
medication for vertigo for 2 weeks
she seemed so sane and serene
then she stopped taking the meds and
life was misery again, for her and others
yet she could not see the difference!
Before we can have fulfilling relationships we need to first have a good relationship with self. This is done successfully when we have the emotional maturity to carry out parenting ourselves – self parenting. Otherwise we are out of touch with our feelings because we do not know how to deal with them and to befriend them. Our feelings are anywhere on a continuum between elation and depression. Feelings can be fearful unless we can recognise them and own them as being important to our personality. Only then can we handle the feelings of others in a relationship, be it a working or a loving relationship.
he looked at me with smirking eyes
when I mentioned self parenting
and laughed heartily saying
I was being ridiculous
but then I asked him to
tell me how he was feeling
about his unhappy relationship
and he struggled for the words
to express himself
so we spent several counselling sessions
until he found how to identify his feelings
and how to stop trying to bury them
the change in him was obvious and
this was confirmed by his partner and
by not needing so much booze to
self medicate the inner turmoil