Suicide Aftershocks: VOl IV Positivity as Self-hatred –Socially acceptable grief and Apparently I’m either not sad enough or too happy –Who Knew?

Time continues to pass for us all and as I approach the 15 month “post suicide” marker, I’m amazed by the expectations people have about how they think I should behave.

Situationally, if I’m not sad enough I’ve gotten called out in some shaming way for being too happy, and then reminded—like I might forget—that my husband did kill himself.  Or, I’m sad for a moment in time and am quickly reminded that it’s been long enough—buck up and think positively.  As though thinking positively when I feel lost or alone or afraid is a panacea for all that ails me.

Initially when this began happening, I thought, “Well, I can’t please everyone so screw it!”  (or something a bit less kind!)  The first few happenings did throw me.  I second guessed myself, briefly thinking maybe they’re right.   It was easy to do because I’m still juggling the “why” question about my husband’s choice and what part I played, if any, in how the situation unfolded.  Guilt and shame can be an easy go-to when things are FUBAR.

A few weeks ago I asked my friend T—she and her husband showed up immediately the morning of the suicide-“how did I present—how did I act that day”?  So much of those first 24 hours felt like I was a watcher and removed one

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degree from the reality occurring around me.

 

She said that I had a weird smile on all day and that I was trying to take care of everyone else.  The policeman assigned to babysit me, her, the 5 dogs and the other 2 people who came to support me.

That was me trying to hold the state of positivity.  Keep the mask on.  Hold the illusion that all is well or will be.  You’re not good enough to expect support unless you’re bright and shiny, so stay shiny.

Of course, I wasn’t holding that as a conscious thought at the time.  Hindsight and deep exploration in the breakdown of the world I’ve known allows me to see that illusion clearly now!

When “positive thinking” is used in this manner—shaming self and hiding, ignoring, suppressing, distancing or judging our thoughts and emotions, we are making orphans of various aspects of ourselves.  Abandoning any part of self is an act of self-hatred.  Ugly or mean thoughts are nothing to be ashamed of, and when not acted upon are generally benign.  We are human.   We bring our past to the table until we learn to bear witness to and include all of our experiences and thoughts with curiosity rather than judgment.

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Abstract business background.

These last 6 years I’ve been primarily a caretaker for others in various situations and varying degrees of F-ed up! My world went quiet after my husband’s suicide which left a lot of time for me to consider my patterns of behavior and ways of being.  I was faced with many opportunities to be “positive”.

The whole construct of positive thinking is exclusive and perpetuates the unhealthy dichotomy of ; good/bad; right/wrong; now/then, while at the same time creating the expectation of an unobtainable state.  The state of ALWAYS being positive!  No matter what we do, we will still be human with a wide range of emotions and a society that thrives on labeling and judgment.

Love of self would allow all thoughts and aspects of self to well-up, including them and witnessing them as part of the whole that we are.  After all—it’s just a thought.  I don’t take action on all my thoughts and none of them should be judged as unworthy.  Some thoughts are simply no longer useful.  What if thoughts are simply surfacing in our awareness to be healed or learned from—transformed and/or released?   What if some thoughts are the fast-track to self healing is inclusion?

What if we simply allowed all of our experiences to be just experiences—Zen like, neither good nor bad—neither positive or negative?  Simply markers in time that we can either learn from and transform, or repeat and judge.  Inclusion is always an option.  And as thought precedes action—awareness of our thoughts creates dynamic changes in our actions which changes our experiences.Mayan Mystery Pyramid

As for me—I’m happy to be happy and I’m happy for the moments when I’m not. The sad/hard moments are opportunities to make distinctions and to clarify and heal aspects of my life so there can be more forward movement in whatever direction I choose.

So rather than “positive thinking”, perhaps a shift to appreciation and gratitude as a choice in awareness and a way of life might be more inclusive and allowing for all aspects of self to integrate. This shift creates inclusion where all thoughts are welcome, the perceived positive and negative!

Of course, we’re always well served when in control and mindful of what comes out of our mouths!

Here’s to growing awareness and inclusion of every part of “ME” and thoughtful awareness of how we choose to express!

With warmest aloha,

 

Kim

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RISE!

 

This month’s challenge:

A practice in Positive thinking to notice what you like rather than what you don’t.  We’re not seeking to change anything about you –simply creating a new habit of looking for what’s “right” wonderful and inspiring!

3x daily stop and notice your surroundings and acknowledge what’s beautiful, appealing, abundant, joy filled or things you like.

Waiting to Live

          

Being present with Pups barking at Barking Sands

      

Running at Barking Sands

      

Running at Barking Sands          

Aloha!          

It’s a mere 9 days until the second annual Kauai Marathon and half-marathon scheduled September 5th here on the beautiful Garden Isle.  I’ve entered the half-marathon–my first one!  I’ve entered with no particular training, and no illusions of winning.  I’m happy to finish and have fun, and I’m confident that I’ll finish somewhere in the middle of the pack for my age group–which, by the way, is female, somewhere in my middle 40’s!           

Apparently, you’re not supposed to enter a 13+ mile race without training.  Well, who knew?  I’ve been taken to school by family and friends about  my irresponsibility in entering.  After all, I could get hurt, I’m not ready and what if I don’t do well.   And I’ve been asked more than once how much the race t-shirt cost!  As if that must be my only motivation–a new t-shirt!          

This has spurred the question of motivation–“Why do I want to do this?”.  Why are some of us motivated by performance versus enjoyment?  I don’t think about getting hurt, I assume I am ready, and I don’t measure how well I do by comparing myself to others (mostly!)     

 So, I started asking everyone I could, “Do you try new things for the fun of it, whether you might be good at it or not?  I was surprised to find that more than half of those asked would not try new things unless they felt a certain level of skill at the onset.  It seems that fear of embarrassment cleverly disguised as perfectionism is most often the show-stopper for those who choose to wait to live.  Really, isn’t that what you’re doing when you don’t do something now because you might be better at it later?     

In the past, the excuses I’ve used to put off living in the moment sounded like, “I’ll do it when I lose 10 ponds”, or “Next year, when I have time to devote to it”, and the ever classic, I’ll do it when ____(fill in the name) decides to do it with me or change or do it first”!      

I’m not sure when I decided to stop waiting and start living.  Translated, I’m not sure when I decided that I’m responsible for my own happiness.  If I procrastinate and make excuses not to engage in life now, it’ s my own fault and my own life, time and opportunities that are wasted.      

So here’s to those of us who live now–do things for the fun of it, the experience or just the value of participating in life in the moment–maybe we lack the “embarrassment gene”, or the competitive spirit.  I just feel grateful that the older I get, the less I worry about what others think, who will judge me or how I look doing something for the first time.  I trust that if I’m having fun, and enjoying the process–that has to be as up-lifting for others as it is for me.        

Wish me swift feet and coordination in my first half-marathon! Jogging or walking over the finish line–I’m going to live now–Oh–and enjoy the process–in my new t-shirt!!!!          

Joyfully and with warmest aloha,          

Kim