Love yourself first, girl!

Sure wish I had done that when I was younger…

When I was in grad school – in my 50’s – we did an exercise that posed this question:  If you could go back to being 18 years old – knowing what you know now – what advice would you give yourself? I didn’t have to think twice!!

The advice I would give myself? Love yourself first. Definitely. Love yourself first.

Group of diversity alternative young woman enjoying the sunset at the sea doing hearth symbol with hands - people enjoying friendly lifestyle - vacation in friendship concept for females

Let me start by saying that when I was young I did not value myself. I had absolutely no idea of what a good person I really was! I’m not talking about thinking I was better than anyone else. I’m not talking about thinking I was more intelligent. I’m certainly not talking about being selfish and egocentric.  Quite simply, I did not know my true value as a human being.

As a young woman I was kind. I was smart. I was caring. I had so many positive qualities…as I do today.  Sadly, back then I didn’t love myself enough to demand respect from other people and demand to be treated kindly. Honestly, I felt “less than.” I allowed some very significant people in my life to treat me hurtfully – emotionally and physically. Had I loved myself more, I hopefully wouldn’t have allowed that to happen.

In her article entitled Do You Truly Know How to Love Yourself? author Louise Hay said:

…When I talk about loving ourselves, I mean having a deep appreciation for who we are. We accept all the different parts of ourselves—our little peculiarities, the embarrassments, the things we may not do so well, and all the wonderful qualities, too. We accept the whole package with loveUnconditionally.

I agree with Louise. With that love comes so much strength.

Some of you might think that “Love yourself first” is too simplistic to be of any value. Or perhaps no more than a self-help platitude.  Think what you will, my friends!  I, for one, believe that we cannot create “our best life” without loving and appreciating ourselves first. That is the foundation for building healthy relationships, striving to achieve our goals, and so much more.  As I shared in a previous blog post, What matters most is  how you see yourself.

So…what do you think?


What the heck is Transient Global Amnesia?

Maybe I just don’t remember…

Lovely Puppy PortraitPicture this. Waking up in a room in the ER. Only you haven’t actually been sleeping. You’ve been awake the whole time.  Talking, answering questions, and who knows what else. You just don’t know that…

On April 11th of this year I lost several hours of my memory. At about 7:30 PM that day – without even being aware of it – I called my daughter and said, “Can you please come over. I’m confused.”  She asked if I wanted her to call an ambulance.  I said no. I don’t remember my daughter and my son-in-law rushing into my home and taking me to the emergency room. I don’t remember talking to doctors and nurses; I don’t remember getting a CT scan. And I didn’t know who our president is. (I won’t tell you what my daughter said about that!) All of this time I had no sense of fear or concern because I was totally unaware of what was going on.

I “woke up” about 9:00 PM that evening, still in the ER and still confused.  I didn’t remember that earlier I had gone to teach my evening class at the local community college. I didn’t remember cancelling the class because I didn’t feel well. I don’t remember driving home.

I was admitted to the hospital at about midnight that evening.  It wasn’t until about 1:00 AM that my mind started to really clear. I remembered that I did, in fact, start my class and then cancelled it.  My memory of parts of the evening grew by bits and pieces. However, there were and still are several “lost hours” of which I have absolutely no memory.  In the morning I felt pretty much like my “old self.” After having a normal MRI, I was sent home.

In retrospect the whole experience was and is very scary.  While it was happening I was oblivious, in “conscious unawareness” (my term, not a medical term!) so I was not scared or disconcerted. However, I know that my daughter and my other loved ones were very frightened.  No, I didn’t have a stroke. No, I didn’t have a TIA (transient ischemic attack). I did have transient global amnesia.

Here is how the Mayo Clinic describes transient global amnesia (sometimes referred to as TGA):

Transient global amnesia is a sudden, temporary episode of memory loss that can’t be attributed to a more common neurological condition, such as epilepsy or stroke.

During an episode of transient global amnesia, your recall of recent events simply vanishes, so you can’t remember where you are or how you got there. In addition, you may not remember anything about what’s happening in the here and now. Consequently, you may keep repeating the same questions because you don’t remember the answers you’ve just been given. (I did that…over and over and over!)

The condition most often affects people in middle or older age. With transient global amnesia, you do remember who you are, and you recognize the people you know well. Episodes of transient global amnesia always improve gradually over a few hours. During recovery, you may slowly begin to remember events and circumstances. Transient global amnesia isn’t serious, but it can still be frightening.

That last statement is so very true. However, more frightening to me than experiencing this amnesia is thinking about how scared my daughter must have been to see me in the throes of this episode. I was not “me.” She had no idea if I would ever be “me” again…

I am so thankful that it didn’t take long for me to “get over” my experience with TGA and return to a sense of well-being. While the cause of TGA is unknown, stress is very likely a factor. Since, generally speaking, life causes stress for all of us (!), I am doing my best to handle my life’s stressors in positive ways.

While it’s unlikely that I will ever experience transient global amnesia again in my lifetime, having one episode was certainly – to say the very least – a learning experience. Now, if you’ve kindly taken the time to read this rather lengthy post, you also are aware of this unusual, rare condition.

As travelers on our life journeys, learning experiences abound. Some are pleasant; some not-so-much. Here’s to welcoming all life experiences. Quite simply, those life experiences mean we’re still alive!

Yay life!

Give hygge a try, y’all!

We’re talking coziness, warmth, contentment and well-being…

drinking hot coffee  outdoor with some books and nature blur backgroundCountless articles have been written about hygge over the last couple of years; some might say too many articles have been written. Well, I’m jumping on the hygge bandwagon.  I simply can’t resist exploring this Danish way of living!

So what is hygge? The Oxford English dictionary defines hygge as “A quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being…” I don’t know about you, but that sounds more-than-wonderful to me!

Hygge House tells us that “Hygge (pronounced hue-guh…) is a Danish word used when acknowledging a feeling or moment. It can be alone or with friends, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary but is always cosy, charming or special. It literally only requires consciousness, a certain slowness, and the ability to not just be present – but to recognize and enjoy the present.” Hygge just keeps sounding better and better!

In an article in Harper’s Bizarre entitled What is Hygge and is it really the secret to happiness? we learn that “hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) promotes the idea of enjoying and indulging in the small good things in life – whether sitting around a table with friends and family or drinking a hot mug of tea by candlelight…And the results speak for themselves – the Danes have been named the most content people year after year…” I love the reference to the “small good things in life.” Those are what make moments in our lives special.

Whether you pronounce it hue-guh or hoo-gah, hygge is a mindset — or perhaps a lifestyle — that promotes a sense of contentment, warmth and well-being. It requires us to slow down and be very aware of the precious moments in our lives, alone and with our family and friends.

Let’s all give hygge a try. Can’t hurt!