Deflated But Not Defeated

I had a reality check last week that set me down a dark path. I decided to give myself one week to wallow in this path before I checked myself.

I never once stopped to consider that I might not ever return to full physical capacity again. Well, my version of full physical capacity. That notion never crossed my mind. I didn’t consider any statistics. I didn’t consider all the issues I will still have. I charged forward with what is probably a very unrealistic expectation of my body. Not probably. It is a very unrealistic expectation.

You see, I bounced back quick. Quicker than a lot of people who have similar surgeries. Quicker than my doctor expected. At least that’s what I get from his facial expressions when I ask to do things that are toeing the line for my point in recovery. My biggest pain point from before surgery is gone. Well, most of the time. I occasionally feel it if I sit in a pretzel for too long. But I can walk and walk and walk. My all-time high since surgery is 13,918. That was nine weeks post-op. I can’t remember what we did that day, but I know that I didn’t hurt.

I started gently working out. I’ve been camping. I’ve hiked some. I’ve moved light equipment at work (think small security camera weight).

I went into that appointment expecting to get released to get an adjustment for the rest of my back and my hip that feels out. I expected to receive praise that I am healing better than expected. I expected to keep advancing better than most.

Except, that’s not what I heard. That’s not what I interpreted from the doc’s expression. He reminded me that I still have a degenerated disc that is nowhere near optimal health. He informed me that unless I want my second surgery to be in just a few years, I should NOT be lifting heavy weights or doing unsupported weight lifting. There should be absolutely no strain on my lower back from lifting weights. I will need equipment that I don’t have. I will need workouts that are tailored to my condition. I will have to change what I love to do for what works best to prevent another surgery in the near future.

He reminded me that I have an eighty percent chance of my bone graft actually fusing. But I heard ‘only eighty percent’. He probably told me this prior to surgery and I probably chose to ignore it. There is a chance my bone graft might not fuse. That. That hit me really fucking hard.

I cried on our way home from the appointment. I wanted to stay home the next day and sulk. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I didn’t want to talk to some of my best friends on our scheduled video chat. I did it anyway. I went to work anyway.

I started looking into foods that help with bone growth. I started looking into workouts that I can do. I can still do my bodyweight HIIT workouts that are extremely modified for the time being.

I struggled with wanting to see the bright side while wanting to wallow.

I didn’t want to tell family. I did.

All I could think about were the things I shouldn’t do. I shouldn’t move our furniture should we ever move. I shouldn’t pick up a case of water anytime soon. I shouldn’t lift weights until I purchase additional equipment or get a gym membership.

There are a lot of I shouldn’ts. I want to ignore them. But I don’t want my second surgery for many years.

I will continue to fight for myself and my health. I will find new ways to workout that excite me. I will find ways to not feel absolutely useless when other’s have to help me with lifting things.

I will not be defeated.

 

I may be slightly broken, a little bruised and even permanently scarred.

Me Against Them

I recently came to realize that I have a, ‘it’s me/us against them’ mentality. I’m not exactly sure what brought me to this realization, but it happened and I’ve sat on the thought for a while before wrapping my head around sharing it. I know where it comes from, now I just have to do the work to recondition myself.

This mentality stems from my childhood. All I ever heard was ‘me/us against them’ references from my parents. They were always comparing how hoity-toity and stuck up their siblings were compared to how great they were. My parents were always comparing the ways their siblings lived compared to our lives. They always compared the earning level compared to ‘poor me, they need to take care of us’. It was always our family against everybody else.

I grew up hearing how awful my aunts and uncles were because they lived in better houses, traveled, drove better cars, blah, blah, blah. I also frequently heard about how selfish they were not to take care of our family since my parents couldn’t make enough money. I grew up thinking that all of our extended family were assholes and hated us.

Us against them.

I still struggle, even today, with feeling less than my aunts, uncles, and cousins because of what I heard growing up. I never feel like I’m enough or will ever be enough to be loved by them. No matter how much internal work I do, or how much I hear love come out of their mouths, I still struggle with this mindset. I’m happy my ‘me against them’ mindset is different than my parents, but it still isn’t good.

I have brought the ‘me/us against them’ mentality into everything that I do and every relationship that I have. I see it in my interactions and reactions with Eddie’s family, with our friends, and even at work. It is almost first nature to feel this way with people.

When this mentality takes over, which it does so quickly in almost any situation, I make myself small. I’m going to say that again. I. Make. Myself. Small.

I do it.

They don’t. This mentality is what is fucking up my relationships. This mentality is what makes me make myself small.

Me.

If I can learn to identify when I’m feeling the ‘me against them’ mentality and starting to feel small, I can remind myself that I’m doing this to myself. Nobody has that kind of power over me.

I don’t know how I’m going to overcome this mentality, but I will. And I will share the progress and process with you. This is big. This is something that I wish I would have realized years ago. It would have saved me so much heartache and embarrassment. It’s okay. Now is better than never.

Side note: When I hit the seventh paragraph, I didn’t know where I was going with the post. That paragraph hit me like a ton of bricks. That realization that I’m the one who makes myself small literally only happened while typing this post. I am physically in a new place of realization and hope, eagerness to find a new way to combat the mentality and how I react. Eager to stop making myself feel small and blaming it on others.

 

Frustrated

My recovery from my L5-S1 spinal fusion is hitting three months post-op tomorrow. It feels momentous. It feels depressing. It is frustrating.

I read so many accounts of slow recoveries after surgery and kept thinking to myself that I wouldn’t sit in the season, I would work to recover better and faster. I have. I am recovering faster than most do.

But I’m still frustrated.

I want to be able to move however I want. I want to be able to lift a case of water again. Or even the bag of dog food from the bottom of the cart into the 4Runner. I want to workout without crazy modifications.

I want my life back.

The thing is, I have more of my life back today than I had right before surgery. But I’m impatient. I know what level of strength I once had and what I want to get back to. I absolutely hate relying on other people to do things for me.

I am frustrated.

When I stop to think where I am in my recovery, I can’t help but be grateful. Even though I’m frustrated. I have conflicting feelings and most likely will for at least a few more months. These feelings are what nobody could have prepared me for. I’m more stubborn and difficult to keep down than a lot of people. I am not living in the season of recovery. I am pushing through the season of healing to the season of ability.

I know where I’ve been. I know where I want to go. I know I can get there. I merely need to learn how to be patient.

This surgery has given me so much back. I am grateful I am in recovery because without it, I would still be in pain. I am grateful that I know I will get back to my full ability, possibly more than I ever had.

I will.

 

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Hiding

Social media is a fickle thing depending on what your goal is with using it. You may have one account for this and another account for that. You might have this one private and that one public. You may even have different followers. You may have one that you only have family on. Social media is truly a juggling act. And it is one I have been playing.

I have Instagram that is public to coexist with this website and Facebook which is private. I fully intend to keep my Facebook private, but I have followers on Facebook that I don’t have on Instagram. I haven’t been sharing most of what I post, including the fact that this website exists, on Facebook.

I’ve been hiding.

I’ve been hiding from sharing some of my most vulnerable conversation with you from those who might be closest to me.

Why?

Fear. It is as simple as that.

Sometimes when I post, I get amazing feedback. Sometimes I get responses that make me feel as though the reader thought I was looking for pity when I most definitely am not.

Then it hit me today as I did a simple post. There are most likely people on my Facebook who could use to hear what I’ve been sharing. There are people who might need to see that specific post that day. There are people who just might help share my message and get it to other people.

If I truly want to share my life and be vulnerable so I can connect with you, why am I limiting who I reach?

Fear. I have been hiding out of fear.

Starting today, I am going to be more intentional in sharing my message with more than those who are just on Instagram and this website. I hope I can touch someone’s life and help them through whatever situation they may be facing.

No more hiding.

Shame

Yesterday I posted this blurb on Instagram. And now I want to expand on it even further. You see, shame is something that we each deal with differently. We might see some of our shame journey in other people, but it is still different. No matter how different our shame is, we are not in this alone. You are not suffering through shame’s grasp alone. I am not alone in my shame.

Shame. That’s the topic of the coaching session I worked through tonight.

Shame. It’s the biggest issue I’m working through right now.
Shame. It is the first emotion I feel when looking at this video.

There are so many reasons I almost didn’t share this with you. It clearly shows the weight I’ve gained over the past 3+ years between the infertility treatments, traveling for my last job, and my inability to workout with my back/hips; I feel stupid dancing in the office for 30 seconds; and I was only confident for about a quarter of the 30 seconds.

The reason I decided to record myself doing this 30 second warm up to the coaching session is exactly all of that ⬆️. I share with you so many things from my personal growth journey, but I’ve also hidden other things.

Shame. Shame is what tells me I shouldn’t share what I struggle with.

Shame is exactly why I’m sharing it.

Shame keeps this battle raging within me every single day.
I didn’t start Failing Imperfectly because I wanted to hide behind shame. I started it to share my journey so that maybe I can inspire you to dig deep and get into the messy process of taking control of your life.

Shame is what makes me worry who reads this, making me afraid family and friends with think less of me.

Shame keeps so many of us hiding in the shadows. I don’t want to hide anymore. I want to grow to become a confident woman who loves myself for me, including ALL of my flaws, without caring about others’ opinions, spoken or unspoken.

Shame. I will take back my life.

Shame’s grip on me is slowly loosening. I will not give up.

Shame has told me for far too long that I’m not worthy or not good enough because I am different. Shame told me I was shit because I came from a rough childhood. I had no idea that there were others who struggled the same as I did, or very similarly. I was so sheltered in my shame, I was blind.

One thing Rachel Hollis said that really sticks with me is, “What if He made me this way on purpose? What if we need your weird?”.

What if He made me this way on purpose. I had never thought of it that way. I am who I am because I am who He wants me to be. I am my own kind of weird because He made me just the way I am.

Shame told me that who I am is wrong. His love tells me that who I am is who He created me to be.

No matter how many times I hear that, no matter how many times I read those quotes on Pinterest, it never sinks in. Shame overrides it.

I am here to tell you that you can overcome shame. I haven’t done it yet, but I will get there. I have seen it in so many of the coaches and influential women that I follow. I will continue to work on shame for the rest of my life if that is what it takes.

Is shame something you struggle with?

Mind Wandering

If I am doing something with my hands and there isn’t a book I’m listening to or a TV show that I’m watching, I’m most likely lost in my mind, off somewhere in another time. Even if music is on.

I have a wandering mind.

Most of the time, I’m trying to prepare myself for some future conflict that I bet I’ll have to deal with. I’m imagining how I can stand up for myself in certain situations. I come up with the best ways to defend myself, sometimes with making the other person look bad.

I have done this for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I use this ability to fall asleep. I have different things I let my mind wander to based on what I’m doing, what I want, or even my mood.

I have always called it daydreaming, but when I think of dreaming, I think of good things. My mind doesn’t always bring up situations that are good. As a kid, I used to dream of running away and starting a better life. I would even dream that I ran away, hitchhiked to the interstate, and found my way to a place where I could start making money while I started a better life. As I got older, it would be about guys and them telling me they loved me and us starting a life together.

For most of my adult life, I would dream of all things revolving around children and having my own. I had everything planned out in these dreams. My mind would wander to the best and the worst things that could happen. Once I started on my personal growth journey, most of what my daydreams would produce was me envisioning a better life. But I always come back to wandering to the place of defending myself in situations with specific people. Always.

Mel Robbins said, “Mind-wandering is actually the cause, not the consequence, of unhappiness.”

When I saw this phrase, I immediately snapped to all the mind-wandering I do. Oh, how she is so very right.

If I look at the majority of the mind-wandering I do today, most of it isn’t about happy things. Defending myself is not a happy situation. It means there is conflict. Whether the conflict is entirely internal or true conflict with a person, I am envisioning the unhappy situations around it.

My mind is focusing on the negative.

When we focus on the negative, we see more and more of the negative in our lives. We stop seeing the good. I am causing myself unhappiness every time I let my mind wander to these situations. I need to and am going to, flip that switch. No more focusing on these potential situations of conflict. I am going to start focusing on my dreams and making those come true. Including all of the hard work that will go into making those dreams happen.

Will it be easy to flip the switch? No. Will I occasionally fall back into old habits? Probably. Will it be worth it? Absolutely!

We all need more happiness in our lives. It starts from within. We choose what we focus on.

Alcohol Part Two

If you haven’t read Alcohol Part One, go back and read that entry first.

The social aspect of drinking is a big one within my friend’s group and family. Wine nights, wine chats, camping, pool parties, barbeques, holidays, and just hanging out are just some of the times that alcohol is a beverage of choice. Hell, my girlfriend’s and I used to even grab a drink at lunch when we worked together.

But that all is going to change now. I’m going to be one of the only people who is not drinking. It is terrifying. This is when I’m going to struggle the most. I will have peer pressure from some people. I have never held up well to peer pressure. Or being different. That’s why I started drinking in the first place.

What I have to remember is that this is my choice. I made the choice to stop drinking because of how it affected me. It does not matter one bit what anyone else says. This is my decision and if they can’t respect it, then that is their problem.

I feel like our society has conditioned so many of us that alcohol is part of everything we do. I mean, how many TV shows do you watch where there is no drinking. I can’t think of any. Some of my shows have it included very subtly, they don’t focus on it, but it is there. Some have people drinking all the time. I can think of one show where I have not seen one other beverage in it. Alcohol is everywhere.

I’m not saying alcohol is a bad thing. For many people, it isn’t. For me, it wasn’t for a long time. But when you are going from drinking with all of your friends and family, and at all social events, it will be difficult to convince people why you quit drinking and that you aren’t going to have a drink “just this once.”

I even have a ton of wine glasses in my cabinets. What the hell am I going to do with those? I mean, my friends just got me a few new ones for my birthday. And I love them!! Wine glasses are one of those things that typically don’t ever have anything else in them. But I’m going to convert them. At least the ones I really like. The rest I’ll sell at a yard sale. Or keep for when my friends come over and want a drink.

Alcohol. It is literally everywhere. When you decided to stop drinking, you really realize how engrained in your life it is. But if you have that gut feeling or little voice telling you it is time to set aside that drink, do it. It might not be easy, but you’ll thank yourself for it.

It has only been three days since I had a few drinks, and I can already feel so much more clarity. My period is supposed to start in a couple days and I’m not as easily irritated as usual. I feel more motivated and energized every day. My joint pain is gone again. I don’t feel bloated.

If you decided to leave alcohol behind, you might not see changes that fast. I’m sure I’m seeing it that fast because I spent most of the last month not drinking.

Follow your heart. Follow that inner voice if it is telling you that you need to change. I am finally following mine and so far, I’m pretty dang happy about it.

Alcohol Part One

When we think of alcohol, we think of many types as well as different types of people who drink it. When someone talks about alcohol like I’m about to, I get uncomfortable. And that’s why I’m sharing this with you.

A little history:

I grew up in a home with a drug addict, alcoholic father and a pill addicted, maybe alcoholic mother. I don’t know whether to say my mother was alcoholic because I can’t say for sure that she couldn’t stop drinking or that she had the need for it like my father.

I started drinking when I was 14. First, one of my friends would steal vodka from her dad with the good old water trick. Then, as I started hanging out with more and more of the wrong crowd, I started drinking with them. I drank pretty heavily for many years.

Alcohol is how I came out of my introvert shell and made “friends”. I let loose and just had fun. Alcohol helped me to not worry about people-pleasing as much. Alcohol helped me when I was lonely. Alcohol was a friend.

I did a lot of dumb shit with alcohol, including regularly drinking and driving. My parents ALWAYS drove no matter how much they had to drink. It was normal. Eddie actually helped break me of this and I am eternally grateful.

Over the past few years, I haven’t been as carefree with alcohol. There are definitely times that I did have a ton of fun and let loose, but it became more and more frequent that something would trigger an emotional breakdown. Usually it happened a few drinks in. And it would happen when I wasn’t drinking too. It wasn’t until I stopped drinking completely for my surgery that I noticed this happening. It was like a weight had been lifted that I didn’t even know I had.

I thought it was my hormones that were causing this roller coaster of emotions. I had attributed it to my monthly cycle and the synthetic hormones from IVF completely messing me up. I’ve even been working with a doctor and taking hormones to try to regulate them.

I didn’t notice this change right away. It took me slowly allowing alcohol back into my life more consistently. I noticed it and decided to quit. I was going to quit drinking completely.

But, I missed the taste. So I would be really good some times and just imbibe other times. Then I realized that my hips started hurting again, but only after having a few drinks the day before. Every break of a week or so of not drinking cleared up the joint pain and I felt clearer emotionally.

Once I connected the joint pain and did a little research to learn there is something called inflammatory arthritis, I decided I was done. I don’t know that I have this inflammatory arthritis condition, but it could be possible and it could explain my physically reaction to alcohol.

I gave myself two more days of enjoying alcohol and then I would quit for good.

I don’t consider myself an alcoholic because I don’t need it. I just really do love the flavor. But, I can adjust my mindset on loving the flavor of wine and mixed drinks by doing exactly what I did to quit Dr. Pepper – it hurts me and if I have a drink, I will be in pain. I did the same thing when I eliminated gluten from my diet with the Celiac diagnosis.

It is about my mind control and knowing what is good and what isn’t. I’ve done it before and I’m going to do it again.

But not drinking is the easy part. The difficult part is reprogramming both myself and my family and friends to not expect me to be drinking with them at all of the functions where we all drink. It is the social aspect.

Stay tuned for Alcohol Part Two

Freedom

For most of us in the United States, the word ‘freedom’ signifies our freedom from oppression. But most of us don’t think about what freedom means on a more individual level.

Yes, you have the freedom to work where you want, eat what you want, drive what you want, etc., but have you thought about the freedom that is even more granular than that?

Each of us has a truth that we either speak or hide. What we do with our truth determines how happy we are.

In The Soul Frequency by Shanna Lee, she writes “Freedom is born from finding the courage to speak our truth.”

The problem I see and have had for many years is that I don’t know what my truth is. I never stopped to think what I wanted from life. I just kept repeating the same patterns I had always followed. I didn’t know anything different. I didn’t have the courage or the heart to learn that there was more to life. That I had a truth buried deep inside that I was denying.

The truth I have been living:
Go to college, get a master degree, get a good job that pays a lot, get married, have kids, work until the normal retirement, travel some if you can afford it, retire, die.

The truth that I’m discovering deviates from what I have been living. I went to college, I earned my MBA, and I have a great job that pays well. I got married. We tried to have kids, that didn’t work, and now we have decided to prevent any possible oops. I want to do something more with my life than work for someone else until I retire. I’m learning what I want that something more to be.

My truth is still being defined and that’s okay. We don’t have to have all the answers laid out when we muster up the courage to start living our truth. We just need to live our own truth and not the way of our family, community, or society.

If you don’t know what your truth is, that’s okay. Start listening to the nudges you get to do something different or to experience something. Those nudges are your truth trying to help direct you. Some nudges lead you to a long-term experience, some come and go. No matter the duration, these nudges are leading you to the truth you are meant to live. Follow them.

Happy Soul, Happy Life

We’ve all heard the phrase “happy wife, happy life”, right? What if, instead of listening to that, we created a new phrase? I mean, I personally don’t want my husband just to appease me to make his life happy.

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I came across this phrase a couple days ago and it just stuck with me. So instead of “happy wife, happy life”, I want to start a trend of “happy soul, happy life.” I know, it doesn’t rhyme, but I don’t care.

When was the last time you did something that truly made your soul happy?

Do you even know what makes your soul happy?

I can honestly say that I don’t do enough of what makes my soul happy. Some of it is because of health limitations, but most is out of pure laziness or setting absurd rules for how my life will be run.

I realized this week, that I have carried through my life the rule of ‘not on a school night’ that I was raised with. It has now become ‘not on a work night’. I literally don’t allow us to really do much on a work night, unless I can work from home the next day.

I have seriously limited our ability to live life and have fun or have hobbies because I’m afraid of doing things that will ruin the next day. When I put it into words, it sounds dumb! Hell, I wouldn’t even allow us to grocery shop during the week. I have had to have everything done on the weekends.

This has severely limited what we can do that makes our soul happy.

I experienced a lot of happy soul moments this past weekend though. We went camping for the first time since my surgery and for the first time with our overland trailer and RTT. We spent two nights camping in a beautiful place. We went offroading and relaxed. I took time for myself and just laid in the tent for a while and read. I cuddled with the dogs and watched other people’s children get absolutely dirty. I saw deer that were interested in Radar. I climbed up a ruin of an old mine. We even took our time driving out of the mountain by taking the long way home.

My soul was happy. Very happy. I felt refreshed after this trip.

I don’t fully know what makes my soul happy, but I’m opening myself up to learn. I know that having Radar ask to cuddle in my lap while I’m sitting here typing this at my desk makes my soul happy.

I am going to spend some time this year figuring out what makes my soul happy. I challenge you to do the same thing.

Do you already know? Share with me in the comments. Are you learning what makes your soul happy? Share what you are learning. Let’s work together to inspire others to find what makes their soul happy.

Secret

I’ve been keeping a secret for the past eight months. Only a few people know about it because of the shame I’m working through. And to fully work through the shame, I need to share the secret.

Get it out.

I took a step last week and posted a picture with my secret. I put it out there.

I’m letting myself own the change. I’m leaning in. I’m working through the shame that I feel. I shouldn’t feel shame. This is absolutely self-imposed shame. But not shame I would put on anyone else. Just myself.

So what is the secret?

After only six years, I am back in glasses/contacts.

I had lasik done in October 2012 and the immediate results were amazing. I couldn’t ever remembering seeing so well without the aid of glasses or contacts.

But in the last year or so, I’ve noticed things were blurrier. I couldn’t see across Home Depot or Costco. Low light made it extremely difficult to see as well as I thought I should. The computer words were getting more blurry.

I was in denial for a very long time. I blamed it on different things such as having had a glass of wine or font size or poor lighting. But I finally decided to get my eyes checked. I’m back to 20/30 with my right eye astigmatism.

When I picked out my glasses, I wanted to pick something different than I used to. So I chose a fully plastic frame. Once I got it, I was couldn’t stand how they fit or looked on me. It has seriously taken me eight months to get the fit almost right. But they still give me headaches. And my eyes don’t really like contacts either.

But I digress. Why was I so ashamed of my glasses? Why did I let this shame take over?

Because I felt like I would be judged for being back in glasses after such a short period of time since I had lasik. I also feel like I wasted that money on lasik since it only last six years. I felt like I did something wrong to cause my eyesight to go again. I keep blaming the IVF treatments, although I know IVF probably isn’t the cause.

I don’t want people to judge me or ridicule me because I’m back in glasses. I don’t want attention drawn to me due to people asking “didn’t you have lasik?”

So I kept the secret. But, keeping the secret has made my life more difficult in trying to hide my glasses and not being able to see as clearly as much as I should.

This is definitely a shame situation I’m working through. It isn’t easy. I can think of specific people that I feel like I’ve let down. But I haven’t. I have not let anybody down because my eyes have a mind of their own.

I know I could get a touch up. I want to wait and see if my eyes continue to change. I don’t want to waste more money on lasik if my eyes just can’t stay corrected.

I know I’m probably not the only one who has worn glasses again after lasik. But what I feel, is that I’m the only one that lasik only helped for about six years. I feel like I’ve done something wrong. That is where the shame comes in.

Shame is a cruel feeling. It takes over.

But I’m working on taking my life back from shame. I am sick and tired of feeling ashamed for everything. Here is one step towards living with less shame in my life.

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Ruminator

Ruminate: to go over in the mind repeatedly and often casually or slowly.

Have you ever heard of this term before? I hadn’t until a year or so ago while listening to personal development. I can’t remember exactly which book or podcast I first heard it on, but it stuck with me.

A ruminator is someone who dwells on things that have happened in the past. It could have been just a few minutes ago, or years prior. What is typical, is that the ruminator repeats a situation over and over in their head, trying to figure out how they could have done something different or said something to change the course of the situation.

A ruminator continues to live in the past while also trying to move forward in the present.

For as long as I can remember, I have always ruminated. I dwell on situations to figure out how I could have done something differently. It doesn’t matter if nothing apparent went wrong, I still ruminate. I feel like there is something different I can always do so I am a better person, I don’t offend someone, I stand up for myself, etc.

I don’t know why I do it. It doesn’t help me in future situations. It doesn’t fix anything.

But since I learned of this term and habit, I have been able to identify when I do it. I can notice when I’m going down a rabbit hole in my past trying to fix something. I can tell myself that I’m ruminating again and to focus my mind on something else.

I can.

But, it isn’t as easy as being able to.

For some people, like me, ruminating doesn’t stop at the thoughts of what could be changed. It goes into a whole change of mood and outlook. Once I go down that rabbit hole, I can change an entire day. It could have been a great day with amazing things happening, and then BAM! that thought hits and there I go.

I’d like to tell you that I have been able to completely reverse my ruminating, but I haven’t. From experience, I can tell you that this habit is not an easy one to break. But, I have improved. I do it less often. I catch myself quicker. And I have come up with a way to pull myself out of the thought train and move on.

When I am ruminating and I finally catch myself, it’s like I flip a switch. You know that point when you feel like you finally understand something? Yeah, it’s like that. Once I realize what I’m doing and can get new thoughts going, I tell myself “so that happened” and then distract myself with new thoughts and dreams (something to look forward to) or by doing a task. I learned this from one of the coaches I follow, I believe Andrea Owen.

This method won’t work for everybody, and I don’t have other options to share, but learning to identify when you are ruminating will make a world of difference. Living by trying to fix things from the past will not change the future. Only living in the present and working on what is happening each moment will change the future.

I don’t want to say that you should never look back, because sometimes a quick look back to learn from a mistake or situation is just that, a learning experience. The problem is when a look back turns into a long gaze back turns into replaying something over and over again.

You aren’t going there. You can’t go there.

Learn from experiences and move on. Don’t dwell on what you cannot change.