Posts Tagged ‘ACCEPTANCE’

Shame and Fear From Benne Brown



From the book: “I thought it was just about me” (but it isn’t)

“When I asked women to share examples of how they recovered from shame,

they described situations in which they were able to talk about their shame with someone who expressed empathy.

Women talked about the power of hearing someone say:

• “I understand—I’ve been there.”

• “That’s happened to me too.”

• “It’s OK, you’re normal.”

• “I understand what that’s like.”

Like shame itself, the stories of resilience shared a common core.

When it comes to shame resilience, empathy is at the center.”



Hyperarousal Signs of PTSD


“Some signs of post-traumatic stress disorder have to do with the brain and body’s hyperarousal in the wake of a traumatic threat.

Because the brain interprets the traumatic event as a present danger, natural fight-or-flight reactions become engaged – and sometimes prolonged during re-experiencing of the event.

In combination with general hypervigilance that so often accompanies PTSD, these signs of hyperarousal can amount to an exhausting and stressful experience for the survivor.

Insomnia is one PTSD symptom that is associated with hyperarousal. Many survivors with PTSD have significant difficulty falling asleep and staying in a deep sleep throughout the night.

Due to persistent fears, some individuals with PTSD also sleep with the lights on, making it difficult to obtain a restful, REM-level of sleep.

Irritability is another symptom of hyperarousal, where survivors become prone to angry outbursts over slight issues.

This may impact relationships and job performance. Many survivors also experience short-term memory difficulties, making focus, expression, and cognition a struggle.

Others experience constant hypervigilance, seeking to interpret virtually any slight physical or psychological cue and assess the possibilities of further danger.

Finally, many survivors experience a strong “startle response,” which causes the person to suddenly panic and even run, shake, or scream when unexpected sensory input occurs, such as unwelcomed touch, loud noises, or unexpected visual events.”



Flashbacks and Panic: Signs of Re-experiencing Trauma in PTSD




“Everyday occurrences can “trigger” memories of the traumatic event. When the brain becomes reminded of the trauma, survivors of PTSD may re-experience the event itself, as if it were occurring in the present.

Flashbacks cause the survivor to have a waking, conscious and often sensory experience of the traumatic episode, usually accompanied by visual or auditory immersions.

Intrusive thoughts can also represent the re-experiencing of trauma, as the survivor’s natural efforts to switch mental focus or block the experience fail. Another sign of re-experiencing trauma in PTSD is extreme psychological stress when triggers occur.

He or she may even experience physical sensations of re-experiencing, such as muscles freezing, profuse sweating, racing pulse or heartbeat, yelling, or running away when psychological or physical cues trigger the traumatic event.

Finally, persistent nightmares represent re-experiencing the trauma and in some cases, nightmares that cause the survivor to relive the event can be as traumatic as flashbacks.

Trauma Avoidance Signs of PTSD

Many survivors will avoid locations, people, or even topics of conversation that remind them of the traumatic event itself. Trauma avoidance signs of PTSD include an aversion to emotions, cognitions, or conversations about the traumatic experience, avoidance of places that cause reminders of the trauma and avoidance of hobbies or activities due to all of the fear surrounding the trauma.

Dissociative symptoms also can set in during the brain’s attempts at avoidance, including sensations of depersonalization (“out-of-body” experiences) and derealization (feeling detached from the world), as well as general emotional detachment and social alienation.

Many PTSD survivors also find themselves detached from positive feelings, as the brain attempts to build an emotional wall, leaving them with feelings of “emptiness” or “flat” demeanors. Many PTSD survivors will also begin to ascribe to the belief that they will not live a full life due to their near-death experiences, causing a host of lifestyle issues as they may avoid long-term planning around jobs, careers, relationships or families.”



“Gone” watching sensory events leave our bodies!



This concept (Gone) is a core training from a mindfulness program (

I have used a version of this concept in my mindfulness group.

We bring awareness to a sensory event in our bodies, noticing one part of our body is extremely relaxed or sensing a firm tightness in the solar plexus.

Gone” is the process of watching sensory events as they leave our bodies.

Instead of dealing with external stimulus, we focus on our own sensory stimulus intently.

For me, we expand that awareness to noticing when an agitation or a relaxation starts, stays a while, then witness it leave.

This concept of “Gone” uses no thought and focuses on knowing our body sensations intimately, as they flow through us.

The lesson is clear, sensory things are impermanent.

Our core is solid, not transparent like sensory events.

Anger lights up my solar plexus, accompanied by tensing and tightening of my muscles, followed by adrenaline joining the party.

This is a great opportunity to take a step back and observe.

Leave the external reason for your anger alone, it is our internal sensory world we want to discover.

Feel this sensory event with a curious mindset.

Can you focus, watch this upset leave your body?

It happens everyday without any awareness on our part.

Many of the answers are right below our judgment and indifference.

The premise is, if we have sensory clarity, the external world becomes much easier to navigate.



DSM-V Revisions to Signs and Symptoms of PTSD





In the most recent publication of the DSM, the DSM-V, PTSD symptoms are grouped into five different clusters. One or more symptoms are required from each of these clusters in order for a patient to receive a full diagnosis.

Those clusters include:

1. Stressor – (one required) The person was exposed to injury or severe illness that was life-threatening, which includes actual or threatened injury or violence. This may include at least one of the following:

Direct exposure to the trauma

Witnessing a trauma

Exposure to trauma by being a first responder, such as police, firefighter, medic, or crisis counselor

Learning that someone close to you experienced the trauma

2. Intrusion Symptoms (one required) – The person who was exposed to a trauma then re-experiences the trauma in one or more ways, including:



Distressing and intense memories

Distress or physical reactions after being exposed to reminders, known as “triggers”

3. Unpleasant Changes to Mood or Thoughts (two required) –

Blaming self or others for the trauma

Decreased interest in things that were once enjoyable

Negative feelings about self and the world

Inability to remember the trauma clearly

Difficulty feeling positive

Feelings of isolation

Negative affect, and difficulty feeling positive

4. Avoidance (one required) – This occurs when a person tries to avoid all reminders of the trauma, including:

Avoiding external reminders of what happened

Avoiding trauma-related thoughts or emotions, sometimes through the use of drugs or alcohol

5. Changes in Reactivity (two required) – This occurs when a person becomes more easily startled and reacts to frightful experiences more fully, including symptoms of:

Aggression or irritability

Hypervigilance and hyper-awareness

Difficulty concentrating

Difficulty sleeping

Heightened startle response

Engaging in destructive or risky behavior

Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep



May I be at Peace



Living with your Heart Wide Open:

“May I open to great self-compassion.

May I open to deep reconciliation of my past with the wise understanding that all of my past has led me to this moment.

May I hold myself gently, with mercy, kindness, and levity.

May I accept my imperfections and see that I am imperfectly perfect just as I am.

May I be as healthy as I can be.

May I have ease in body and mind.

May I be at peace.”



It’s a practice of being with yourself just as you are.



From Living with your Heart Wide Open:

“All of us sometimes act unskillfully and make poor choices that hurt others, and we are all sometimes hurt by the actions of others.

Rather than pushing thoughts and feelings about these things away, and rather than trying to correct anything or anyone, simply be with the thoughts and feelings that come up for you with curiosity and awareness.

As you practice self-compassion meditation, the intention is to be open to all of your thoughts, emotions, and sensations, to let all the streams of perception flow through you unfettered.

It’s a practice of being with yourself just as you are.”



My two cents: Learning to observe means using curiosity and awareness instead of judgment.

Tenzin Palmo, a nun in the Tibetan tradition wrote:

“There is the thought, and then there is the knowing of the thought. 

And the difference between being aware of the thought and just thinking is immense.”



Caring for ourselves in relationships



Living with your Heart Wide Open:

“Caring for ourselves in relationships with others is another way to cultivate self-compassion.

Do you really need to remain in relationships that make you feel small or less alive?

Do you really need to accommodate yet another phone conversation with the “friend” who calls you only when she needs advice or reassurance?

Do you always have to accommodate lunch invitations from a coworker who likes to gossip about the other people in your workplace?

Why not try discouraging relationships that feel like they deplete you and nourishing relationships that make you feel loved and appreciated and bring out the best in you?

We are meant to love one another and care for one another in the deepest sense, and cultivating relationships that manifest these qualities is the very heart of self-compassion.”



Compassion for our Inner Critic?



“You can learn to witness unpleasant thoughts and emotions with self-compassion, and even come to feel a certain amount of compassion for the inner critic (which often helps calm this eternal source of self-criticism).”

Living with your Heart Wide Open



My two cents: Have compassion for our inner critic, interesting!

I have been trying to murder my inner critic, at least cut his vocal cords.

Once again, surrendering to our fears is the correct path.

My human nature always wants to face, resist and fight off criticism, external or internal.

That has ended badly.

Now, I will adapt and build compassion for my inner critic.

New things are always awkward at first.



The Many Paths to Self-Compassion from Living with your Heart Wide Open

Pixabay bhpsundra624


Investigating how you can cultivate self-compassion in your life involves an exploration of how you relate to your body, thoughts, and emotions, and also how you choose and maintain your relationships.

Considering how we can be more compassionate toward our bodies can help many of us see how very little compassion we have for ourselves and how hard we push ourselves physically.

You may find yourself answering yet another e-mail even though you’ve needed to use the bathroom for over an hour, or you may eat junk food from the nearest source just so you can get back to work sooner.

You may convince yourself that you don’t have time to exercise, or you may have a somewhat perverse sense of pride in how little sleep you get.

Paying attention to the many ways you mistreat your body can provide a great deal of insight into how you can begin practicing self-compassion right now—simply by reversing many of these habits. It’s the same with thoughts and emotions.

You can learn to witness unpleasant thoughts and emotions with self-compassion, and even come to feel a certain amount of compassion for the inner critic (which often helps calm this eternal source of self-criticism).

When you notice that you’re being hard on yourself for something like being late for an appointment, you can turn toward this self-criticism with a soft and kind acknowledgement, like “It’s only a mistake; I love you anyway.

If you notice that you’re ruminating on a feeling like guilt and saying things to yourself that are just making you feel more guilty, you can acknowledge this morbid indulgence; for example, you might say,

“This is just a guilt-fest” or “Will heaping on even more guilt really help me learn from this mistake?”

For most of us, learning to attend to our thoughts and emotions with this friendly kind of attention is a very different way of being in the world.



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