I haven’t been feeling myself for a while. I feel as though I’ve completely regressed in all the work that I did to improve my mental health. Looking back, I think this happened over the period of more than a year with many different events triggering further setback. I wouldn’t say I’m depressed, but I would say my stress and anxiety are at an all time high. This became most evident during this Christmas break on our annual trip to be with my husband’s family. One event with two comments set my mood for the entire trip. To be fair, I was in my hormonal swing with my period imminent.
After two days of seclusion and rest (thank you Eddie for being sick)….
Today is Day one. Day one to taking back myself. Day one to becoming the woman I know I can be. Day one to overcoming stress and anxiety for fun and ease. Day one of the rest of my life.
I don’t have all the answers or a clearly defined plan. What I do have is the desire and courage to say I am going to experiment and move through this. I am going to be me. I am me.
It isn’t going to be easy, nothing is. I have to make some serious changes in my life to focus on me again. First thing I’m going to do is drastically reduce the amount of time I spend watching TV. Second thing is getting my nutrition back in check. Third, I am going to spend time every single day working on me.
Today didn’t start off the best. I woke up stressed. I have no idea why. Once I realized I was already stressed for the day, I actually got to thinking back and realized this is how I’ve started every day for as long as I can recall in the past few months. Stressed. Wake up stressed. Go to bed stressed.
So, I started this morning by getting ready early. I have no commitments until this evening, but I am committing to myself to get ready and feel good. I put on relaxing instrumental music. I cleared thought from my brain and just listened while I showered. I wouldn’t let myself feel. I wanted to just exist in the relaxation. It actually helped. To take it even further, while I was getting ready, I picked an episode from the Anxiety Coaches Podcast that I thought was relevant. I truly believe there is something in the universe that guides us when we need it most and this was one of those moments.
Gina, the host, focused on the work of Dr. Sarno and Steve Ozanich relating to TMS and anxiety. The part that stuck out to me the most and what prompted me to listen to the podcast twice, was this:
“Thinking has replaced feeling. So they become thinkers so they can’t be hurt by their feelings. Thinking has become their coping mechanism.”
I didn’t write down the comment exactly, but as it struck me. They were referring to those who have anxiety so that is the definition of ‘they’ and ‘their’ in the paraphrased sentences above.
I am one of those that is being described. All I do anymore is think. I think that I’m feeling, but after listening to the podcast, I really don’t think I have felt anything in a while. As I look back, I believe that I have been thinking emotion as it relates to situations. I haven’t actually been thinking through how the situations truly affect me, I just think a quick response and go there. I try to apply only logic to EVERYTHING. I put myself into a position where I couldn’t be and wasn’t fun because in my thought process, everything had to follow a strict logic. That logic in my mind was things being perfect or along a black and white line. Everything I encountered had this flawed logic applied.
No wonder I have been eternally stressed. I was applying flawed thinking to my life rather than living in the moment or in the feeling.
Today is day one that I am attempting to pull myself out of my head and into my life. I am working to pull myself out of the fear that I am and never will be good enough to be part of Eddie’s family. I am pulling myself out of the fear that if I actually shared with my family or friends things in my life, I am a burden to them. I am pulling myself out of the fear that if I share with family or friends, they will think less of me or judge me. I am pulling myself out of the fear that if I say anything to anybody, they will go talk shit with others and prevent others from wanting to actually get to know me. I am pulling myself out of the fear that I am not worth being loved.
I know some of you will read this and think ‘holy shit this girl has got problems’. Yeah, yeah I do. They are from a lifetime of stress and anxiety telling me false stories that I believe. It is easier to believe what our mind tells us as it is trying to protect us from subconscious fears. It is easier to hide in our thoughts more than in real life.
But today is day one. I am taking back my life from my subconscious and I am going to live my best life. I am going to put the work in. I am going to move through this.
I win at life every single day. My life goes exactly the way my mind directs it to go. I get everything my mind believes. Everything is perfect!
Scratch that. Actually, I get everything my subconscious believes. Everything, life, whatever, is only what my subconscious perceives.
You see, Dr. Bruce Lipton discovered in his research that 95 percent of what we do each day in our life, is controlled by our subconscious.
I win each day because I do exactly what my subconscious is programmed to do. Our lives are a set of programs operated by our subconscious. We have many thoughts and beliefs ingrained into our subconscious, so our life continues along those paths, even when we want to change.
For example, I struggle with not feeling loved or believing I’ll always be living paycheck to paycheck. Well, those are things I have believed as long as I can remember. I want to say all my life, but I can’t confirm from the earliest of my days.
I keep struggling because my subconscious keeps me where it is comfortable and where it knows the way. I am winning at not feeling loved because my subconscious directs that program. We have multiple programs in our life and our subconscious directs us to stay with them.
We seemingly run on auto-pilot everyday. An auto-pilot that so many of us want to change in one way or another. But how can we if our subconscious is running the show?
We have to change the way our subconscious thinks. And we have to be committed to it. No half-ass change can happen here. Let’s break it down.
Literally. To change the way our subconscious thinks, we have to break down what we want to change to smaller, more manageable pieces. It’s like turning the mountain we are climbing into a stairway instead of one long slope.
The first step is facing our problems or things we want to change head on. Identify what we want to change. For example, I want to change my perception of being loved. Now, let’s ask ourselves a couple questions:
- How will my sense of self change?
- How will my beliefs about my future be different?
- What will my future life look like?
Here’s a caveat: don’t look for the answers that feel awesome or just sound awesome. Dig deep. Really, really deep. Right now, I can’t give you my answers for changing my perception of being loved. I haven’t dug deep enough to answer them. It is going to take a lot of dedicated time to think, imagine, and commit to transforming my powerful thoughts that I’m not loved. I know there is more to that feeling, so it will get messy.
The problem we all have is with making time to make time. This single post has taken me weeks because I didn’t have answers to share. I don’t have insight on how to make this step easy. I wanted to give you my experience. Well, my experience is that I haven’t made time to make time. I haven’t dug really deep. I’ve let life get in the way of my personal growth.
This goes back to the topic of this post, I am winning at my current life. I am winning at what my subconscious knows how to do.
I haven’t taken the time to change the direction of my subconscious. I haven’t set my new outcomes to win at. I haven’t been relentless at taking the actions needed to change.
Why? Changing the way we run our lives is hard! Like really fucking hard. Change isn’t easy for anybody. Even if we resolve our mind to make a change and to work on it, life will tend to take over. Life takes over really easily because it is easier. We are already winning there.
“True understanding of yourself and your personal constraints allows for ever-unfolding degrees of freedom and success.” – Gary John Bishop
I need to understand my constraints that keep me winning where I am. I need to identify them and then identify how they are keeping me stuck. I can’t change them all at once, that becomes to overwhelming. I need to pick one and start there. But I have to make time to identify my constraints.
I want to win at the life that I want to live. Step by step, I’m going to make time. As I make time, you will see it here. As I learn, as I grow, I share it here.
“Step out there. Trust yourself, give yourself fully to your vast capacity for victory.” – Gary John Bishop
I am stepping out there. I am slowly learning to trust myself. I know I can be so much happier and live a much fuller life. All I have to do is trust myself. Then I’ll start winning at the life that I want to live.
That is my usual response. I guess that isn’t his intention. But I don’t understand or I read into the meaning of his words. It happened again today.
I was so offended. It was a simple statement that he made. I’m used to jumping to my defense and feeling like shit for something that I did or didn’t do. I don’t even actually analyze if the statement was intended that way. I just go straight there.
It was a simple statement – “Just wanted to make sure you got them.” Well how the hell am I supposed to know I’m supposed to grab their chairs too? No I didn’t get them. Thank you for making me feel like shit. Thinking and wanting to give in to the urge to hang up.
He did nothing wrong. I took it wrong. I do this ALL the time. I take simple statements wrong. Then I blame him for making me feel like shit and I fly off the handle. Then go cry somewhere because I’m a horrible person for doing something wrong. Because I have to be perfect so I don’t offend anyone. Ever.
This is me. This is my daily struggle to overcome. Some days are easier than others. Some days are worse than others. Some days are just peace. Some days, I can’t believe he is still with me.
In my quest to grow and learn from my mistakes, I need to start realizing when I do this and change my reaction. Immediately.
But why do I jump to this reaction immediately? Because it is habit. Seriously, that is the ONLY reason.
It is habit because I was always wrong. I always did everything wrong. The key word here is ‘was’. Why can’t I let go of the past? The past isn’t the present. In his eyes, I didn’t do anything wrong. It is just a simple statement.
The past. The past is what I let continually make me feel like shit. It isn’t him. It is far from being him.
The past. The way I interpret words. Words. Words that I interpret. I interpret them based on the past. The growth will come from new interpretations. New interpretations will come from the present. I need to teach my subconscious to live in the present. I need to teach my subconscious new ways of interpreting simple statements. My subconscious can be trained differently. It isn’t going to be easy. In fact, it will probably be painful. I am the only one that can make myself feel like shit. My subconscious is the root of me making myself feel like shit. It’s time to change my subconscious’ habits. It’s time not to fly off the handle for a simple statement.
The first step is recognizing the habit to change. The second step is growing into a new habit. Step one is right here, in these words. Step two……well, that starts now.
…or am I unwilling.
At some point in our lives we either feel that we are or we actually are stuck. Stuck in a job, stuck in a relationship, or just plain stuck with life. I actually feel that way right now with debt and my overall happiness (independent of each other). These are circumstances of my life. Circumstances that I am either defending or changing.
So, am I defending them, or am I changing them?
Am I willing or unwilling?
“You have the life you’re willing to put up with.” – Gary John Bishop
Let’s talk about debt for a minute. Debt plagues most of us and it has become the American way of life. I turned to using debt because I wanted to get ahead of my poor upbringing. I wanted things NOW, not after I saved for them. Then I got a hold on that and was laid off. It took three months to get a job again and just kept living the same life, this time paying for everything on credit. Credit cards take a really long time to pay off. But there is something I can do to fix this circumstance.
Am I willing or unwilling?
Now let’s talk about my happiness. I’m not overall unhappy with life, but I know there is much more happiness out there for me. I struggle with allowing myself to be happy and to experience happiness without stressing about something. Something we are doing, somebody we are with, something. I am hyper aware of everything going on and what I perceive everyone is thinking. I feel it is my duty to take care of everyone else around me. I can fix this circumstance.
Am I willing or unwilling?
“Circumstances don’t make the man; they only reveal him to himself.” – Epictetus
My circumstances don’t actually make who I am, but I make them make who I am. Rather than making my circumstance make who I am, I need to take those circumstances and respond to them differently. The way I respond to my circumstances is who makes me. There is ALWAYS a different response to my circumstances than the one that is keeping me stuck.
Am I willing or unwilling?
The definition on Google of willing is: ready, eager, or prepared to do something.
Am I ready to respond differently to my circumstances?
Am I eager to change how I respond to my circumstance?
Am I prepared to do the hard things?
Most of us will answer these questions with a “yes, but…” kind of answer. As Gary John Bishop states in Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life, “Every time you add the ‘but’ to the end of that statement, you turn yourself into the victim.” I used a slightly different statement, a statement that I tend to use most often, but the thought still holds true. Every time I say “yes, but…”, I am turning myself into the victim with my circumstances. It works the same exact way with more than just the word ‘but’. Every time we try to explain our circumstances with either short or long explanations, we are turning ourselves into the victim.
What if we took our “yes, but….” and our explanations and turned those into different statements. What if we said “I am willing to let a lay off from a job three years ago define my finances now and in the future” or “I am willing to forgo happiness in everything that I do so I can keep stressing.”? Those “I am willing” statements don’t sound like a life I want to live.
Am I willing or unwilling?
Let’s look at the reverse – am I unwilling? Am I unwilling to continue to live in debt? Am I unwilling to allow stress to be my happiness?
Sometimes we can allow our unwillingness to be our fuel instead of our willingness. Accepting our unwillingness to continue something draws a line where we are no longer willing to go back to the same behaviors or circumstances.
“Sometimes recognizing that you willingly put yourself in a place where you are unhappy is often all the impetus required to make an opening for real and lasting change.” – John Gary Bishop
Acceptance that we willingly put ourselves in a circumstance doesn’t mean we are blaming ourselves or that we are making ourselves the victim. It means that we accept where we are and that we don’t want to remain there. It means that we accept it is time to make a change. It means we are either willing or unwilling to do something and that willingness or unwillingness will ignite our eagerness for action.
Am I willing or unwilling?
I am both. I am willing to make the difficult changes in my life. I am unwilling to stay in debt or to allow my stress to rule my life. Is it going to be easy? Oh fuck no. Is it going to change overnight? Ha, if only. Is it going to be worth it? Absolutely!!
What am I going to do to change my circumstances?
I am willing to change my spending habits.
I am willing to postpone buying things until debt is paid off.
I am willing to say no to activities that are over my budget.
I am unwilling to remain stuck in debt.
I am willing to grow personally.
I am willing to open my heart and mind to new possibilities.
I am willing to change my views. (I almost typed: I am willing to change my skewed views, but that just puts blame on my circumstance and I’m changing that damn habit. This. Is. Going. To. Be. Work)
I am unwilling to stay a stressed mess and miss happiness everywhere I go.
I am willing and unwilling.
Have you ever considered how often you talk to yourself? I do it ALL the time. Seriously! There are times that I am thinking about something and I’m in a public bathroom and find myself audibly thinking about it. Yup, random people just caught me talking to myself. Embarrassing right? For me, not as much as you would think. I mean, I probably won’t ever see these people again. I have to admit though, I haven’t always been able to shrug that embarrassment off.
But that isn’t the kind of talking to myself that I want to talk about here. I want to talk about all the negative shit I have ingrained in my mind to tell myself. I am probably one of the biggest offenders of telling myself how stupid I am. Yup, I do that ALL the time. But why? Why did I get started talking so horribly to myself when I wouldn’t even imagine telling someone else they are stupid?
We all have things we tell ourselves that aren’t exactly the nicest and we need to stop. Ha! But that is easier said than done. Am I right? Of course I am! I’ve been struggling with this for as long as I can remember. I’m sure if you are still reading this, you are as well.
So many of us blame our self-talk on the circumstances of our upbringing. Again, I’m an offender here. I was not raised in an encouraging household. In fact, there was more fighting and bullying than there was love. But my parents never looked from the outside in to see what life was like, they just kept living and talking the way they always had – negatively. I learned that life was shitty, our circumstances were the fault of everyone else, that my extended family hated us, that only the spoiled rich people made it in life, that all I was expected to do in life was graduate high school before getting pregnant, and that my good grades were nothing to be excited about or rewarded for.
Now, I’m not saying I blame my negative self-talk on my parents. I’m saying that is where I learned it. No matter where I learned it, I have continued to do it. Not only have I continued to do it, I very often take whatever I say to the extreme. Why? I don’t know, it just happens. I’m very critical of myself (that is a completely different topic for a later time). I mean VERY. In fact, some of my most recent negative self-talk would include things like:
- I’m so fucking stupid, I can’t even cook bacon without dropping it
- My family can’t even trust me to get decorations that they get the caterer to do it
- God, I’m so ugly, my hair is out of control
- Family doesn’t want to be around me unless I am presentable and done up
Do any of these sound familiar?
Those all came through this mind in the past couple of weeks. Look at you, reading this and thinking “damn, that girl is harsh!” If you stop and think for a minute, you may not say these same exact things, but you might tell yourself something similar, right?
We seem to constantly criticize ourselves using some of the worst self-talk. It is really difficult for some of us to be understanding of ourselves and not criticize ourselves every turn we make. But how do we get get that point? How do we get from happy kids to being over-critical of ourselves?
For most of us it is learned. I think I learned negative self-talk before I learned how to be supportive of myself. Learning how to switch from negative self-talk to positive self-talk isn’t easy.
When we talk negativity with or to ourselves, we impact our quality of life. Have you sat and thought about how difficult your life feels? Have you ever connected how you feel about life to how you talk to yourself? Probably not. I hadn’t. A lot of us think that our life is so difficult because of our circumstances – how we were raised, the education we received, the way our family is, etc. Changing from blaming my parents to taking ownership for the way I speak to myself has been a long time coming and is consistently a work in progress.
We are a product of the way we think and the way we talk to ourselves. I know, I know, the way we were raised has a big impact in and on our current life, but we can change how it impacts us. The way we describe our feelings and circumstances affects how we deal with our life each day. Think about this simple situation, the weekend versus Monday. Most of our world hates Monday. It is ingrained in our society. But what if you didn’t hate Monday? How would your life improve?
The feeling we put into our thoughts and self-talk determines our every move. When we are more critical of ourselves, we bash on every single misstep we have. But if we are forgiving of ourselves, dropping bacon while cooking isn’t that big of a deal. Do you see what I’m saying?
Self-talk isn’t something we can fix overnight. I PROMISE. I did some heavy personal development for a couple years and I was rocking and happier than I’d ever been. Then life hit and my drive to read/listen/watch personal growth outlets dwindled as my stress level went into overload. That was definitely the most critical time for me to continue, but I didn’t. I let the irrational thinking back in my daily life. I let negative self-talk rule me. It didn’t help that I was going through infertility treatments that kept not working. Those hormones and treatments are seriously life changing, even without success.
I took that opportunity to tell myself how much of a failure I am since I couldn’t even get pregnant and there was no medical reason preventing it. Enter the harshest self-talk I think I’ve ever had. Completely irrational. I didn’t realize the residue I was leaving in my subconscious every time I called myself a failure. That residue can be subtle, but it adds up and becomes completely dis-empowering.
All that negative self-talk adds up. Even the simple thoughts of not having enough time. I am a repeat offender on this one. I put so much pressure on myself and am ALWAYS telling myself I don’t have enough time. Even writing that sentence spurred anxiety of not having enough time. Negative self-talk is everywhere and applies to absolutely EVERYTHING we tell ourselves. Seriously, everything.
As Gary John Bishop says in Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life, “We create our own reality with our minds.”
I have created the reality in my life that I’m worthless, a horrible person, lacking for time, not good enough, and more. It doesn’t matter that I heard a lot of that growing up. I was ALWAYS in trouble for not being of service to absolutely everyone. I was taught to put myself aside to make sure everyone else had what they needed. I was taught that since I was born in a poor immediate family (yes, in my world, that needs clarified), I would never be good enough to be successful. Success was tied to be raised with everything you needed and being handed everything in life. Oh how my parents were wrong.
I have a long way to go to overcome the lies I keep telling myself and that I reiterate from my childhood, but if I try a little every day, I know I can change the way I walk to myself. I can change the way my life is (not that it’s bad, but there are days I feel like it is). Notice, there is a lot of I going on there.
I don’t need to find the answer to all of these things I tell myself. There is no answer out in the universe. The answer lies within me. I am the answer. I am the change my life needs. I need to retrain my brain. But I have to be willing.
But being willing doesn’t give me action. Saying “I will change” does nothing. I have to actually do it. I’m not talking about reciting affirmations every morning that are pre-baked. That works for some people. But for some, it does not. I’m talking about shrugging off dropping a piece of bacon or not giving a shit what my family thinks about if I put makeup on or not to go to the aquarium. I have to own who I am, flaws and all, and not speak negatively to myself for every little thing. Is it going to be easy? No. Am I going to change over the next couple hours or overnight, no. Am I going to regress sometimes? Oh absolutely.
We have to make a decision and follow through changing our self-talk. How am I going to do it? One step at a time. One day at a time. One minute at a time.
Are you with me? If so, let’s have a conversation. In the comments below, tell me what are your biggest negative self compliments. How are they shaping your every day life?
I started this blog after many months of wanting a place to share my voice in a constructive manner that didn’t always elicit sympathy (Facebook) but was available to the masses. To people like me. So, after trying to come up with the PERFECT blog name, I settled on one that represented my everyday struggles.
Failing Imperfectly is a collection of my random thoughts, my thoughts based on books I’m reading or things I learn, my thoughts on real life issues, and sometimes recipes or products I want to highlight.
I didn’t start out by sharing Failing Imperfectly with my closest family and friends, I just put it out into the world and watched it grow from there. I’m sure some of my family and friends have found it, but they aren’t my target with my thoughts.
My hope with Failing Imperfectly is that I inspire some part of your life. I want to share all the things that I struggle with, and my triumphs, so that you know you are not alone. I’m a hot mess, we all are, but we don’t feel like we are together. We tend to feel so alone in this world, even when we aren’t. I want you to have a place you can turn to that reminds you that there are more of us clumsy, crazy, anxious, difficult, child free, hard on ourself people out there. Or whatever the struggle is today. There is no telling what you might find here over the years, but I hope what you do find is a place of solace and happiness.
If you have any topics you’d like to see or feedback, don’t hesitate to reach out. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoy!