Clarifying Personal values

I apologize for being a bit slack in posting. I’ve had a housemate staying with me for about 3 weeks so have been otherwise engaged. 

Today is a busy day, wait no, this week is busy, busy, busy. Tomorrow I have two dental appointments. Originally I was scheduled for a dental cleaning but suddenly had to add one with the dentist. You see, the front part the crown on my rear molar fell off. The actual crown is titanium or something so I have no pain. It’s essentially impenetrable so my tooth doesn’t hurt – yay! They put an enamel facade on it so it looks like a tooth. That’s what cracked off. Welcome to eating disorders 🙄. Anyway, then I go to iOP to do DBT. Thursday is skills training. It’s not always DBT but relates to it. The last couple weeks we worked on a values sheet which was quite revealing with how much I’ve changed. 

Friday I have 4 appointments. First is prosthetics for my toe (arthritis).  Second is my Prolia shot for osteoporosis which, again, is a gift of anorexia. Third is to the eye clinic because the glasses I got a couple weeks ago need fixing. The lenses aren’t right. Forth is a hair cut. That’s a fun one so thankfully that ends the appts with a good note. Oh, Friday night is another art class. Did I mention I’m taking art classes? Since I’m grounded, as far as physical activity, pretty much for life, I wanted to find something I could invest myself in that doesn’t require permission from my treatment team. I love it!!!!! 😁🎨

So yeah, where was I…. okay…

As mentioned, the last two Thursday’s we worked on values. The handout is called Clarrifying Personal Values. It was interesting to do. I’ve done it before and labored over all of it because I thought so little of myself. A lot has changed! 

(1) What adjectives/words best describes me

I broke this into ‘positive’ and ‘challenging’. Just because I’m doing well doesn’t mean I don’t have things to work on. Also I used the word challenging rather than negative because the ladder has a, well, negative connotation. 🤔

Positive: organized, efficient, practical, helpful, decisive, honest, and generous in spirit 

Challenging: rambling, over-sensitive and insecure at times, impulsive (thank you bipolar, grrr), selfish

I have to say, doing this really made me feel good. I do have good qualities and I can finally acknowledge it. It’s definitely a win for the hard work of recovery. 

(2) What personal qualities do you aim to express/develop?

Thoughtfulness and kindness, which will make me a better listener. Also, balance, patience, and trustworthiness. 

(3a) When do you most feel like you’re being “you”?

When I’m inadvertently being funny. I love when something I said makes people laugh, or even just smile. 

(3b) When do you most feel that you’re expressing who you are?

Writing. One reason I love writing is that I have such a hard time expressing myself verbally. I can’t find the right words or express what I have in my head. I end up rambling hoping it’ll come out; it rarely does. When I write I bypass the verbal center of my brain and am able to express myself honestly and concisely. 

The other thing is when I feel connected to others. When I have a conversation with someone I’m don’t feel connected to, I feel, hmmm… mechanical I guess is a good way to describe it. But when there is a connection, no matter how small, it warms my heart. By the way, the fact that I can admit to having a heart that can be warmed is another reflection of an inner change. 

(4) What is my goal in life? 

1. Successful management of all my challenges (eating disorder, chronic pain, mental illness, etc). 2. Have a healthy perspective and not take life so seriously. 

This took a lot of thought. I’ve always hated the idea of goals. I used to set them then fail miserably which gave me one more thing to beat myself up with. If I set a goal for the year, then looked back, I’d see that I’ve managed to end up as far from that goal as could be. Nope, no goals for me. But now I’m different so figured I’d revisit it. What did I really want? What was really important? What was actually achievable? I’m happy with what I settled on. They feel like things I’m working on already. It leaves a lot of room for change and creativity. 

(5) What do I value most? What matters most to me?

I value that people care about me. I never allowed myself to accept that they care but then complain that no one did. Ummm…

I value a sense of community, personal connections, and authenticity. I used to be a loner and held on to “that’s what I prefer” for ages. No, I was a loner because I hated myself so much that I couldn’t stand to be around people who thought better of me. If I was worthy of their attention than that meant I worth the space I was taking up, and deep inside, I felt I wasn’t even worth that. It was quite a surprise to realize I actually like people (and am liked)! 😳

I also value security and stability. 

(6) If I were to write a letter to someone close to me (child/niece/nephew/best friend), on what is most important in life, what would I tell them?

  • Have compassion
  • Keep your sense of humor
  • Patience is developed by practice 
  • Plan for the future but stay in today
  • Laugh at yourself at least once a day 
  • Don’t take anyone for granted

I still struggle with laughing at myself everyday. I’m just so serious when I’m alone! However, if there’s one thing recovery has taught me, if I want something then I have to visualize it and more importantly, practice it. 

(7) What is going to last?

This was also one I had to give a lot of thought to. I mulled it over for days and finally came up with this:

Everything has the possibility of an end, even memories. I don’t put expectations on what will last but rather ‘what do I have now’.

And with that, I’ll end. 👌

Any thoughts?

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