Thursday, July 19, 2012

Challenge 2, Part 2: Care vs. Neglect

I'm going to use the term "care" for positive, and "neglect" for negative, as I think the highlighted words have a more hopeful notion to them.  I mean, I can neglect to get the trash to the street on time, and that doesn't sound horrible.  I can handle a glass with care so it doesn't break (thereby ending up in the trash/recycling!)  Just sounds a bit more hopeful, at least to me.

When it comes to responding to events in my life, I tend to respond with anxiety and discomfort, whether the events are positive or negative.  I prefer to care about others involved in the event, whether it's celebrating accomplishments or milestones, or something as simple as being at a concert - I am very careful to make sure they are enjoying themselves, sometimes neglecting my own needs in the process.  When a negative event occurs, I respond the same way, in reverse.  I get mad at myself for whatever my part was, even if I truly didn't cause it whatsoever.  I'm not good at going with the flow, and I feel like I tend to create that hiccup that causes the situation to change.

Care looks like the way I treat others - with respect.  With dignity.  With kindness and compassion.  Care means I want to make sure that people around me are well taken care of, and sometimes when they're not happy (which happens!) it means being a good listener and offering a hug or a shoulder.  Care is celebrating accomplishments, whether it's winning an award, or finally learning to multiply.  Care is growing.  Care is finding inner peace within the storm of life.  Except for me, it's meant helping others do all of the above.

Neglect?  You want to know what neglect is?  What it looks like?  Take a look at me.  Take a look at the way I live.  Actually, I take that back.  I survive, I don't live.  I'm getting closer to living every day, and a bit further from that survival mode, but I'm not quite in the land of the living yet.  Neglect means the only reason I eat is because an alarm goes off reminding me I have to.  Not because I want to nourish my body.  Neglect is pulling the good ole college trick and buying new undergarments, instead of doing laundry.  Neglect is letting the house get so messy, that you'd be ashamed to have anyone stop by unexpectedly.  Neglect is waiting until the last minute to do anything, even if your job depends on it.  Neglect means I spend more hours asleep than awake.  Multiple days in a row.  Neglect?  I'm a pro. 

Eventually, though, I hope to become a pro at self-care, too.... after all, you can have multiple areas of expertise, and I think caring about myself would be a nice addition to my world...

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