If it hasn't become apparent enough... I need to cleanse myself of some toxic thought patterns that I carry around. For example, it seems that whenever my child decides to be on a different schedule than every other day, I automatically admit failure to myself because I'm not going to be able to accomplish anything I planned that day. Sad thing is, this is so not true. If I were more flexible and didn't get fixated on my runaway feelings I would totally accomplish my day, maybe even in a better order. Not only would I be happier through-out the day, but my daughter probably would be too. I have learned through the past week that to me, failure = insecurity. Of course, Lysa TerKeurst got to me with her book, Unglued, when she stated,
"Realities based on runaway feelings rather than truth always lead to one thing - insecurities... Toxic thoughts are so dangerous because they leave no room for truth to flourish. And lies are what reign in the absence of truth" (141).
I hate feeling insecure. Who doesn't?! It makes me doubt myself and my abilities. Even thought I know this isn't true, the more I think it, the harder it is to stop and believe otherwise. Thoughts are like snowballs. Once you get on a roll of negative thoughts, they tend to build on each other in a progressively bad way, eventually making a very ugly snowman. At least we have the hope that the same works for positive thoughts too. The more we try to slow down and work through the reality and truthfullness of our thoughts, the less toxic they will become and our feelings won't start running away with us either! Wrong thoughts create the wrong perception which create a FALSE reality. My thoughts are leading me astray, making me think that I know what's going on because I'm basing my thoughts on my feelings. I have the ability to be flexible. I have the ability to go with the flow and get stuff done. If I don't get everything done, that does NOT mean that I am a failure. No need to feel insecure, pretty much every mom or adult goes through this. Allowing our brains to see things in the wrong way makes us believe that things that are NOT true, are! I'm not a failure. I know this. Believing in a false reality is what happens when we base our thoughts on our feelings! This is NOT a good way to go through life because thoughts are WAY easier to control than feelings; however, feelings are a great indicator to start paying attention to your thoughts before your feelings get to a point where you can't reign them in. Now to find a GREAT way to catch myself in the makings of my feelings that typically runaway like crazy so I can stop the thoughts from infecting my entire being - and my entire day.
Learning to not become "unglued" is quite a journey. I really thought I was starting to have it all figured out, and then I continued reading. Apparently comparing oneself to others is a huge thing that leads to becoming unglued. Not that I didn't see it but I think I have FINALLY admitted to the weight that it has in my emotional mess that I become sometimes. I just have to quote Lysa TerKeurst from Unglued because I couldn't put it into better words.
"The more I compare, the emptier I become. And empty women, oh how we come unglued. Especially when empty settles in the part of our souls where unmet desires restlessly wait. And in that dark corner, desparation churns for what could be but isn't, and what we want but still don't have." (132)
I am not only a counselor through and through, but a student. I love learning. So I was pretty geeked when Lysa even brought in a study that Yale University did on social-comparison. The study found that jealousy occurs when the following three conditions are present:
1. a person receives negative feedback
2. in a domain of life that is important to them and
3. they believe another person is performing successfully in that same domain.
Oh so true. Sad thing is, I've realized that opportunities for comparison never end. In every situation you encounter, you can compare... body size, finances, things, opportunities, feelings, etc. Problem with comparing ourselves to others is that we stop seeing the good things we have and only focus on the good things others have. When we don't see our own good, we eventually start sucking the life out of ourselves and get consumed with negativity. Our brain starts getting used to the negativity and begins to think it over and over and over. Think of it as a dirt road turning into a four lane highway. Once that four lane highway gets established its pretty hard to avoid it because of how "easy" it becomes to travel down. Now I need to start figuring out what situations always detour ME onto a four lane highway and start the hard part of deconstructing it. Demolition can be fun right?
I realized yesteray I must be a counselor through and through. I say this because not only do I love my job, but I am addicted to reading books that make me look at myself introspectively and evaluate how I handle myself so I can not only encourage my clients to make change but I can realize how difficult the change is myself. I love it. Maybe that's weird... is that weird? Weird that I love evaluating myself and seeing what's wrong with me? Maybe I do it myself because I can take the criticism from myself better than from someone else? Have you ever asked someone close to you, "If you could change one thing about me, what would it be? What could I do better in our friendship?" I have. Ha. I was really looking for some honest feedback. Sometimes I think I'm doing really well with things but I want to make sure it's true and not me just living in la-la land. Sadly, I get the same look, every time. The look says to me, "Are you seriously asking me this? I don't know how to respond to this?!" Maybe she doesn't feel safe to share because I KNOW I don't have it all together. Is that true my friend? :)
I know dealing with my emotions is something I have always struggled with. I'm currently in the process of evaluating how I handle my emotions now and how I can handle them better. I'm reading the book, Unglued, by Lysa TerKeurst. She states people tend to explode their emotions or stuff them. I think those are some pretty general categories that I'd have to agree with. She gets a little more specific by breaking these two types into four ways of handling yourself. The four ways are exploders who shame themselves, exploders who blame others, stuffers who build barriers, and stuffers who collect retaliation rocks.
Sadly, I will admit I do all four. Different people, different situations... but all four... I do. This was a little tough to swallow at first, but definitely faded away to realizing that I'm all over the place and should probably get that in check. It was more reassuring when Lysa states that feelings are INDICATORS not DICTATORS! Even though I tell my clients this all the time, it was different when I read the words myself and soaked them in. It's true. I tell my clients, feelings are NOT facts! How you are evaluating the situation is making you feel the way you do. If you step back and figure out why you are labeling a situation a certain way, you will be able to change how you feel about that specific situation. How empowering is that?! I will definitely start my emotional journey by using my feelings as indicators of situations I need to take a step back from and try to recognize why I'm reacting in one of the four ways and not keeping myself more "glued" together. You know the greatest place to escape to and have your "step back" moments of clarity? The bathroom. No one will bother you in there! Just try it sometime in an emotionally intense situation and let me know! Stay tuned for more of my "keeping my emotions in check" journey. I'd love to hear feedback on how you handle your emotions!
The holidays are over. It almost seemed like it was a month long marathon for me this year. Now we are already 1 week into the new year. I'll admit, I don't watch a LOT of TV, but it is definitely something I do for an hour or two every night and all I see on TV and online is how to meet your goals for the new year; especially, the most popular, being more healthy. A show we typically watch that's not "health conscious" at all even had their first episode titled, "Healthy options." My husband was instantly voicing his opinion of why everything on tv is becoming so health conscious. I interjected that it's the new year and that's just what happens every January since I can remember. He laughed and said, "Oh yeah, I get it. Everyone's been binging for the holidays so now they have to go to the other extreme and be super healthy. It'll all be back to normal in a few months."
I have to admit, I fell into this trap myself by sitting down and writing out my goals for the year. This isn't even something I traditionally do in January but felt like it is a good time of "renewal" and an easy time to start doing something I've been thinking about implementing or changing in the past few months. I soon realized I have a LOT of goals. Of course, I justified the amount by doing multiple things to them. First, I grouped them into professional and personal. Then I grouped them into "short-term, easy to implement" and "long-term, hard to implement." After doing this, I kind of laughed because I pretty much realized which goals I would probably not do very well at. I'm sure you could guess... yup, "long-term, hard to implement." In other words, "I'm not really looking forward to implementing these goals but I know it would be good for me."
I had heard it was a good idea to share your goals with people in order to have more accountability. A family member asked
me about my goals for the new year before I even had to bring it up. After rattling off my list, she stated I may have too many and I also need to think about narrowing my focus to what I really want and what I might not be able to acheive. I didn't like this response. I tried to explain my view on goals may differ from hers so I thought I'd share it here and see what you guys think. I believe in setting some fluid goals. It gives me somewhat of a general focus of what I want. As I begin to impliment them I realize what works and what doesn't work and I change them, some even on a weekly basis. Almost as if they are a working hypothesis of what I want Rachael to be. Through trial and error I realize the goal doesn't fit or I'm not quite willing or ready to make that change. Is this a bad way to set goals? Am I selling myself short or underestimating myself? I'll admit, I struggle with feeling like I'm good enough or am incapable of meeting my high expectations I set for myself so maybe I don't want to let myself down so I adjust the goal? Or is this me building my confidence along the way?
Rachael Kool, professional counselor and normal, everyday adult screw up