The Attitude-Language Connection

I’ve been working for a long time on treating myself at least as well as I treat others. Think I’m about 80% there now. (sigh)

A couple of weeks ago I noticed how I describe the way I walk. I have arthritis in one knee, my spine, and my hips and so my gait changes with the changes in my joints. Right now I sway from side to side much more than I did before.

I found I called it “waddling.” That doesn’t sound very nice. The least I could do is say I walk with a limp. It’s just as accurate but, at least to my ears, it doesn’t sound deprecating. I wouldn’t say anybody else waddled, so why should I describe myself that way?

Dictionaries often give us a new look at familiar words. Didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know about waddling. So I looked up lazy, because that’s how I think of myself these days. Lazy, to me, denotes somebody who doesn’t want to do things, who lounges around all day-dreaming and resists lifting a finger if it can be avoided.  But whoa, is that really me?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines lazy as “1. disinclined to activity or exertion: not energetic or vigorous; 2.  moving slowly.” Does this describe me? Well, yes, all but the disinclined bit. I move slowly and don’t do a lot because I have a disability and moving hurts. I also think we all slow down with age. But “disinclined?” No way! I  constantly wish I could do more and I push myself hard.

I need an adjective that says in one word, “I can’t do what I used to, and it really bothers me.” Aging comes closest, but then I think of a 75-year-old man I know who still skis and shovels snow. He complains about politics, not his body. For now, I’ll have to live without that word and just try and carry the attitude around in my head as an antidote to “lazy.”

You see, our language is formed by our attitudes and if we change one, we can change the other. It’s like that mind-body connection — attitude-language connection. If I think of myself as beautiful, I will take the time to comb my hair, stand up straighter,  and make sure my clothes look good together. The net result is, even if I can’t make myself really beautiful, I’ll look a lot better! And if I fuss lovingly over my appearance, I will start to think of myself as pretty.

One caveat: this doesn’t work if you are trying to deny reality. Most of us probably tried to act as if we had a normal childhood, and we didn’t get very far. Smiling to hide depression doesn’t work, either – it just makes it worse. And acting as if you don’t have an addiction, when you do, is a guaranteed disaster.

What I am talking about is those areas that are not black and white. I’m not going to be transformed or destroyed if I consider myself old instead of lazy or pretty instead of ugly. I’m just going to be a smidgen happier. And isn’t that worth it?

Book Review: A Coloring Book of Healing Images for Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

You can read the introduction and order the book through http://colortoheal.com

The year ends on a high note for wonderful RA/MC books!!!

This book was a good five years in the making and it is absolutely gorgeous. The paper is really heavy, so you can use watercolor pencils or pastels as well as crayons and colored pencils. That’s inviting for adult and teens parts as well as child parts, who usually get to do all the coloring. (Not fair!)

The book is designed for all survivors of child abuse, but there are many sections that speak directly to multiplicity and ritual abuse. It’s hoped that it will tap into the immense inner strength and wisdom that survivors possess and to help make these resources recognized at a deeper level, cherished, and celebrated in all aspects of life and self.

There are seventeen chapters, each organized around a theme like safety, self-soothing, separating from the abusers, self-love, and spirituality. The chapters contain a few pages describing the theme, lists of healing ideas, and suggestions for creative activities.

Then come the images themselves, each with a self-affirmation.

The author is Ellen Lacter, who started off as an art therapist and became a clinical psychologist and Certified Play Therapist-Supervisor. She has worked with abused children and adult survivors — many of whom are survivors of ritual abuse — for over thirty years, She is a prolific writer — take a look at all the articles on her webpage. (http://endritualabuse.org/)

Two artists illustrated the book. Robin Baird Lewis has illustrated many children’s books. Her 1982 Canadian classic, Red is Best, has been in print for thirty years. She also, among other things, teaches crafts at children’s camps and paints murals. You can see a small sample of her work at http://robinbairdlewis.com/

Art was an integral part of Jen Callow’s healing process from ritual abuse. Today, she creates for self-expression and joy as well as healing and is thrilled to be able to contribute to others’ healing through this book. Jen is also a contributor to Alison Miller’s books, Healing the Unimaginable: Treating Ritual Abuse and Mind Control and Becoming Yourself: Overcoming Mind Control and Ritual Abuse. Although she does not currently have a website, this may change in the future.

This review cries out for an illustration, so here’s a page from the chapter on Self-Love. The affirmation for the illustration:

Honoring the Gifts That Come from the Abuse That I Have Endured

Because of my abuse, I have depth, complexity, sensitivity to others, spiritual resources, and wisdom beyond my years.

Robin and Ellen gave permission for you to print out and color it if you think it would advance your healing. Enjoy!

However, I could not figure out how to do this. If you can, please tell us in the comment section. I also uploaded it to my website but I can’t figure out how to download it there, either. Can’t be good at everything, you know. Try this http://ra-info.org/color-to-heal

 

colortoheal