February is heart healthy month. There is Wear Red day. There is added awareness to risk factors for heart disease as well as for congenital heart defects. And, as you know, it is Valentine's Day this month. So, which heart are we talking about--the physical organ, the muscle, or the emotional heart, the energetic heart?
We need both to function well. Without good heart muscle function, we can't survive. My daughter, Natalie, was born with a heart defect--and without life-saving open heart surgery at 4 months old, she would have died. She failed to thrive. She couldn't breathe very well. She was very pale because of holes in her heart. After her surgery, a social worker came to her bedside and told me that she needs to know she is healthy, that she is ok, that there is nothing wrong with her. She wears a scar that I call a zipper from her sternum half way down her chest.
The reason I call that open heart surgery life saving is because shortly thereafter, Natalie developed cancer of the bone marrow (AML). If her heart was not working properly, she would not have tolerated the cardio-toxic chemotherapy that she needed to survive.
I am also thinking about open heart surgery in men. Oftentimes, once their chest is cracked as they say, and the heart is cut into, emotions that have been bottled up start pouring out. Men who have never cried before start weeping. All of a sudden, the heart as muscle becomes the heart as emotion.
Without the heart functioning well as an organ, there is no hope for survival. Without the heart functioning well emotionally, there is no hope for thriving. Part of an emotionally functioning heart includes practicing self compassion.
When we can be compassionate towards ourselves and be empathetic to our circumstances, we can be hopeful.
Change is possible.
Moving on is possible.
Feeling better and doing better are possible.
Seeing yourself with kinder eyes is possible.
Being forgiving of yourself and others is possible.
I know Valentine's Day isn't until next week, but since I was baking all my treats this weekend, I am thinking about it now. I encourage you to view yourself with kind and loving eyes. I encourage you to practice self compassion and empathy. Give yourself space to be human and imperfect and loving all at the same time. By doing that, you might find yourself looking at your yourself, your loved ones, strangers, circumstances that annoy you with the same kind of compassion and empathy. That's a heart functioning at its healthiest in more ways than one.
And last but not least, if you want to make a change in your precious life, you must know that being kind to yourself IS required. Being kind to yourself gives you the grace space for mistakes and the inevitable setbacks and enables you to keep going when times get tough --when you are disappointed. Being harsh in the "all or nothing" framework always spells failure. So knock it off.
Return to empathy and self compassion for the big win. That's a BE MINE Valentine if I ever heard one.
xo Coach Karen :))
P.S. If you like this blog, share it with a friend! We are all in this game of life together.