Being Your Own BFF

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“One’s “philosophy of life” is philosophy in the informal sense, as a personal philosophy, whose focus is resolving the existential questions about the human condition.” Wikipedia

 

The most interesting of conversations have happened following my posting of “You Must Learn to Parent Yourself.” Many do not agree that learning to parent yourself is the best approach to helping ourselves deal with our bipolar disorder, or even ourselves as people. All these conversations had one common negative to the life philosophy of learning to parent yourself. Many bipolar sufferers have such negative feelings about how they were parented, and their parents, that this would become just another way to beat themselves down. This would be more than counter productive for a life philosophy that is meant to encourage a person.

Becoming your own Best Friend Forever could be a better life philosophy, for many, to help manage our bipolar disorder. We all have some idea of how to treat a friend, or at least how we want our friends to treat us.

  1. We can always trust our BFF. Yet, we never fully trust ourselves.
  2. We would always be accepting of our BFF. Yet, we always have trouble accepting ourselves.
  3. We would never lie to our BFF. Yet we always lie to ourselves.
  4. We would never judge our BFF. Yet we are always our biggest critic.
  5. We would always listen to our BFF. Yet, we seldom listen to ourselves
  6. We would always forgive our BFF. Yet, we can’t forgive ourselves.
  7. We would always make our BFF feel wanted and included. Yet, we isolate ourselves.
  8. We would always celebrate the successes of our BFF. Yet, we instantly downplay anything good we ever do.
  9. We don’t have to make an effort to do things with our BFF. Yet, doing anything in our own life is a chore.
  10. We are always kind to our BFF. Yet we are seldom kind to ourselves.

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

Please subscribe to this blog, or check back every Monday, as we look at the truths of living with and managing our Bi-Polar disorder.

The great inspirational speaker, Jim Rohn, said:” Work harder on yourself than anything else.”

I say,” Work harder on yourself and everything else falls into place like magic.”

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

Many other people blog on bipolar and related subjects. Mental wellness is all about knowledge and learning about ourselves. The more informed we are the easier our struggles may be. I hope you enjoy this weeks Blog:

Five Powerful Ways Abusive Narcissists Get Inside Your Head

Self-Love and Our Bipolar Mind

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Its not that nobody ever told me it was OK to love myself, it was my bipolar mind never allowed that thought to penetrate to the point that this was an option. My bipolar mind actually convinced me to hate myself and everything about me. My bipolar mind made me deface everything about me and make me want to be anything but me. What made me think of this as a blog topic is the media hype going on about “Fake News.” You want to know the fakest news, the lies we allow our bipolar minds to tell ourselves. Things like, “self-love is selfish”. Narcissism is selfish, it is only through knowing and loving ourselves can we be truly selfless. It is hard to have compassion or empathy for others if we have never practiced these virtues on ourselves. We cannot know the correct inner feeling to express if we have not tried these feelings out on ourselves first. If we have never had compassion or empathy for ourselves we are just guessing about those feelings. In my experience, I mostly guessed wrong and hurt more people than I ever helped.

Learning self-love was a progression for me. I started with self-acceptance. Learning to accept myself, both good and bad. No longer lying to myself and exaggerating either the good or the bad. Accepting only that I am me, the only me I can be and believing I can always be better than I am today was the first step in the journey to loving myself. Accepting that I will always make errors caused my errors to lessen as I became less concerned about it. Accepting that I have BP 1 and that my illness will always try to lie to me, caused my BP to lose its control oover me. Oh sure BP still tries to take control but I can fight that today and mostly win as long as I do what I am supposed to do.

The next step on the ladder of learning self-love was to learn self-compassion. Bipolar makes us self-critical to the highest degree. We invent more ways to beat ourselves up or put ourselves down than most people can even imagine. It is just a fact that our illness makes us think very little of ourselves and shreds our self esteem. In this area of self-esteem, I agree with Dr. Kristen Neff, the Author of “Self-Compassion”, trying to repair our self esteem in today’s competitive culture, where the meaning of self-esteem has become “to feel special or above average” is not going to work. Dr. Neff’s comment, “we cannot all feel special or above average at the same time” made me smile and nod my head in agreement.  Since I already had enough false beliefs about myself it was not hard to see that I had to take a different approach to building self-worth. What worked for me was learning and practicing self-compassion.  What is compassion? Compassion is showing kindness, tenderness, mercy and leniency towards someone. Can that someone not be yourself? Of course it can. As I said earlier how are we to know those inner feelings if we have never practiced this on ourselves. How do we know if we are treating others tenderly if we always kick ourselves when we are down? How can we show others mercy when we judge ourselves to the gallows every time? In reality we can’t and we don’t, but we may think we do. I practiced showing myself tenderness when I failed, mercy when I committed sins, being kind to myself when I needed a hand up. I practiced and practiced these feelings on myself until they became the regular responses to my failings. As with self-acceptance, I learned through practicing self-compassion that I was lovable and in time I came to love myself.  I can look at the eyes looking back in the mirror and say, “I love you” and mean it. This ability I wish for all the world not just those of us with bipolar. Today I can look in the eyes of the man in mirror and know the I no longer cheat the man looking back, he is my friend.

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

Please subscribe to this blog, or check back every Monday, as we look at the truths of living with and managing our Bi-Polar disorder.

The great inspirational speaker, Jim Rohn, said:” Work harder on yourself than anything else.”

I say,” Work harder on yourself and everything else falls into place like magic.”

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

Many other people blog on bipolar and related subjects. Mental wellness is all about knowledge and learning about ourselves. The more informed we are the easier our struggles may be. I hope you enjoy this weeks Blog:

http://mindfullybipolar.blogspot.ca/2016_10_01_archive.html

 

Examining The Wonky Ideas We develop About Our Basic Needs

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This week I want to start a thread examining the wonky ideas we develop about our basic needs for acceptance, romance and security as manifested in our bipolar disorder. Wonky is a word that encapsulates the meaning I am trying to convey. Wonky means that our ideas about acceptance, romance and security are crooked; off-centre; askew, not functioning correctly; or faulty according to two online dictionaries. That pretty much defines how the instinctive desires of acceptance, romance and security played out in my bipolar life. It was all or nothing, a sick need for total acceptance, a perfect romance and utter security. Through my bipolar disorder, I had developed an overpowering need for total acceptance, a crippling need to be loved, plus unrealistic expectations of financial and emotional security without any personal effort.

According to Dr. Steven Reis in his work “Who Am I” there are sixteen basic human needs that motivate us. If these sixteen needs motivate us and we have wonky ideas about these needs as manifested by our bipolar disorder, we are in trouble. In my personal journey I was in serious trouble because of this. With stability I was able to define the basic needs that most motivated me and with a lot of help, be able to rein these overpowering needs in, to align them with reality most of the time. Then to readjust those needs into a proper order of priority, based on who I really am and what I really value.  The value exercise I spoke of in an earlier blog. To find our values and examine our beliefs against the light of reality, I feel, is one of the necessary exercises towards mental wellness.

I am only speaking of three of the basic human needs that motivate us, acceptance, romance and security, as I can only speak of my experience. My wonky ideas on those three basic needs caused much damage in my life. The overpowering need for total acceptance and that crippling need to be loved caused me to be chameleon, changing to fit every situation, rather than being a person of character. I wanted so much to be accepted and loved that I gave away my values, betrayed my principals, took down my boundaries and generally made a fool of myself over and over to the point that I was just a shadow. Almost not existing at all in the realm of reality. I lived in a fantasy world where my wonky beliefs and my illness ran my life, believing people, places, things and situations all conspired against me. In the area of security, both financial and emotional, I threw them out with the water that I used to bath my overpowering need for total acceptance and crippling need to be loved in.

With stability and lots of help from both professionals and non-professionals I was able to examine who I had become, why I was that way and more importantly what I could become if I stayed on the path of mental wellness. That is the hope offered all of us who are willing to battle this illness within us, believing in the idea of who we can become. We do not know who we can become and no one can tell us, either. but it is sure a lot of fun finding out.

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

Please subscribe to this blog, or check back every Monday, as we look at the truths of living with and managing our Bi-Polar disorder.

The great inspirational speaker, Jim Rohn, said:” Work harder on yourself than anything else.”

I say,” Work harder on yourself and everything else falls into place like magic.”

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

Many other people blog on bipolar and related subjects. Mental wellness is all about knowledge and learning about ourselves. The more informed we are the easier our struggles may be. http://blogs.psychcentral.com/coping-depression/2016/11/supplements-for-bipolar-disorder/

 

Creativity, Meaning and Bipolar

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Like a tide our bipolar moods rise and ebb no matter how good our management system. That is the nature of moods, this effects our motivation and creativity. Having just gone through a period of an ebb tide in the mood area, I found my ability to create non existent. It is still difficult to put thoughts on paper. Knowing this ebb tide of emotion and loss of creativity is temporary, that all moods change in time, makes it a little easier for me to deal with these feelings today. Knowing that in the spring I tend to soar with the eagles and in the gloom of fall I crash like a balloon out of air. This does not change that these mood swings happen. It changes what how I react to them and how I employ my management tools. In the spring I need to tether my feet to the ground, not allowing myself to be task driven or the need to get things done will run my life. In the winter I need to force myself to get up and be productive.

In my stable state I am always slightly elevated, with creative solutions, ideas and thoughts popping in my head at all times.  It is frustrating when that creative part of my brain shuts off even for a short while. In the last month of cloudy gloom, four days of sun out of twenty-two, even with all my management tools I have struggled. Struggling is alright if we know there is a meaning for why we are struggling. That fact that I struggle like this, every year is knowledge, it is not meaning. That knowledge that this is part of the cycle of my bipolar does make it easier. The fact that I have built an arsenal of things to battle depression or mania is also helpful, but these things are not meaning either. I have to build that meaning into my life in the good times and learn to hold on tight in the bad.

I do not currently have a secret formula for building meaning into any one’s life. It was hard to find meaning in my own, I am still learning to articulate that to myself and the world. All I can pass on today is that there is meaning to all our lives, the foundation of which is gratitude. Forgiveness of ourselves and others gives us wings to fly. Self care and self knowledge give us the power to continue.

Our battle is with our minds, not with other people, places, situations or other external things.  Remember our battle will always be with our minds and our minds alone.

Please subscribe to this blog, or check back every Monday, as we look at the truths of living with and managing our Bi-Polar disorder.

The great inspirational speaker, Jim Rohn, said:” Work harder on yourself than anything else.”

I say,” Work harder on yourself and everything else falls into place like magic.”

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

BLOG OF THE WEEK:

Mental wellness is all about knowledge. It is about taking that knowledge we learn and applying it to ourselves. The more informed we are the easier our struggles may be.

Bipolar Burble Blog