Last weekend, I took some time to sit on our cottage deck, soaking in the last few rays of summer. There’s always something a bit sad about Labour Day weekend. Like all good things, summer must come to an end. Joe and I enjoyed some bruschetta, made with tomatoes purchased at the local farmer’s market and basil harvested from our garden. We took the time to savour the rich flavour of the food in front of us, enjoying the stillness of the lake and the calmness of the moment.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of daily life, forgetting to slow down and savour the colours, smells and textures around us. Autumn is a particularly good time for this. I invite you to take photos of the natural beauty around you. Capture a shot of something that settles you: something that bring you peace. Take a moment to write a line about what makes it special and send it to Mackenzie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let us know if you’d like to remain anonymous or if we can acknowledge your first name and we’ll share your inspirations on our social media channels.
Many hearts beating together make us stronger.
Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych. Executive Director, Landing Strong
“I’m tired of feeling bad about myself. How can I learn to feel better?”
It’s a great question, and is likely a challenge that has faced us all at some point in our lives.
Personally, I think low self-esteem is the result of high expectations.
We’re all good at some things, and not so good at others.
Low self-esteem happens when we think we should be good at everything.
Those of you who struggle with addictions likely can relate. Addictions aren’t the result of expecting too little. It’s usually about expecting too much and feeling frustrated with ourselves when we don’t measure up.
So my word for the week is compassion.
Are you able to take a moment to appreciate those things you do well?
Try practicing compassion with yourself in those areas that you’re not strong at. No one gets better when they are being yelled at. Our inner critic can have the loudest and most disabling voice of all.
You may know that you love deeply, and care deeply, but not actually know how to communicate that to others. Instead of focussing on those things we can’t do, and feeling badly, I encourage you to notice your areas of strength, building on them so you have the confidence to work on those things that are still “in development.”
Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych. Executive Director, Landing Strong
It’s a funny thing sitting down at a computer, composing thoughts that will be sent out into the universe. Who are you I wonder? What are you thinking? What are you feeling? Will I be able to write something that will make a difference in moments when you may feel tired or alone? Am I able to offer something that is helpful, or simply bring a smile? Normally, when I go out for coffee with a friend, I rely on my companions feedback to let me know how the conversation is going. It may be a smile, a glint in the eye, or a shared confession of the soul.
But when I look at my computer screen, it’s different. I imagine you, my on-line friends, busy in your lives, squeezing a quiet moment for yourself so that we might connect and hopefully find points of convergence in our lives. It’s those quiet moments of reflection that cherish, opportunities to dip into the well that nourishes us.
I think today I’d like to make you a cuppa tea, and offer you a freshly baked cookie. There’s something about the smell of fresh chocolate chip cookies that feels like home. Because they’re virtual, they’re calorie free, so you can enjoy as many as you like! Please sit with me as I welcome you into my heart.
Next week Joe and I are off for a well needed break in the Dominican Republic. My main goal is movement. That’s it, allowing my body to go anywhere or do anything without fear of time constraints. I don’t know about you but for me, one of the biggest challenges of aging is range of motion. If I don’t move enough, I lose myself. We’re taking our inflatable paddle boards so that we might explore and dip to the tune of our internal rhythms. By the time you get this blog, I’ll likely be out there, floating in the crystalline Caribbean. I’ll take a piece of you with me, and think of you all as I connect with the sun, the sand, the ocean breeze, and my quiet self. Thank you for enriching my community. For although I may be miles away, I know we are still connected.
Thanks as well to those of you who have offered comments and feedback, it means a great deal and helps guide the next discussion.
“Get comfortable being uncomfortable” was the suggestion that my friend and business coach, Eleanor Beaton, gave me this week. She was speaking to me about the importance of pushing ourselves toward new things, even when they are challenging or intimidating.
I discussed this topic in a previous blog, when describing my experience in yoga class. It was reassuring to be reminded that it’s normal to feel uncomfortable. Looking forward, I think I’m in for a long period of it. Instead of embracing the growing pains, I feel like a character in an Alfred Hitchcock film who is trying to get comfortable while lying on a bed of nails. It’ll take time and practice; some things just can’t be rushed.
There are many new and exciting changes going on, each one introducing new fears or worries. Will we receive funding to start the 3 month program soon? Will the next PTSD Hero Comic be well received? Are the messages we are sending out on social media having a positive impact? Will we get the next grant application in on time?
To get through this time, I tell myself this is not a permanent state. I remind myself of the importance of self-care, making a point of taking a step back when I am feeling overwhelmed. Most importantly, I rely on good friends and a hot tea to remind me I’m not doing it alone.
We’re taking a huge leap of faith, and creating something innovative and exciting. We feel honoured that you are with us, by being part of our virtual community. With each new addition to our email list, our community has grown by one. Every time you share posts, you help us to spread the word and expand our community. For as you know, it isn’t just a community for those who are injured. It is also for those who are supporting them, or cheering from the sidelines. We are in a marathon of recovery, and even the person who hands out water, or shares the word is part of a wave of social change. There is strength in numbers
Keep telling us what you think. If you have ideas or issues you would like addressed, feel free to send them to us directly at email@example.com. We love to hear from you!
When I see a worm, I think of my son when he was young. He would use them as bait to catch fish at the cottage. These are heartwarming memories.
For my grandmother, they were a symbol of a healthy garden and the joy she felt when her flowers were in full bloom.
For someone else, they might be a symbol of the mystery of the universe, given that they can be cut into two and still function fully.
For others, worms might evoke a fear response if they have previously had negative experiences with them; for example, an older sibling who tormented them by throwing worms in their hair.
A rainy day and the surfacing of worms can provoke widely different reactions. None of us can truly know how any given situation affects another person based on our own experiences.
Similarly, trauma is intensely personal. Bumping into a friend who seems down on a rainy day, I might assume that they are troubled by the weather. What I might not know is that the weather could be triggering a difficult memory from their past.
Even when a number of people experience the same event, each is uniquely affected by it.
The only way to truly understand the meaning of an event for someone is to ask. This month, our educational campaign centers on supporting those who are caring for loved ones who are injured. Strategy five in our caregiver resource touches on the importance of asking rather than assuming.
If you are already on our email list, we’ll be sending to you this resource at the end of the campaign. If you are not on our email list but would like to receive this and other free educational resources, please feel free to join our virtual community.
Connecting with Belinda
Founder Belinda Seagram, Ph.D. shares regular blog posts to inspire you during your journey.