Have you ever noticed your brain working against you? You’re sitting there quietly, minding your own business, and suddenly the fear explodes within you or the guilt engulfs you? “Damn!” you think. “Where did that come from?” And before you know it, you’re down that slippery slope of terror or shame.
Or maybe that’s just me.
I wish I could tell you that this doesn’t happen anymore. I can, however, tell you that it’s happening less and less. I can also tell you that I’ve gotten much better at stepping aside when the terror and shame wash over and through me. I’m much better at separating myself from what’s happening inside me long enough to remind myself that it’s not me – not the definition of me (even when it feels like it is). I’m much better at breathing.
I’m much better at soothing myself. At having compassion for myself. I look at my tattoo and remind myself that I’m an adult and that these are old, old feelings. Engrained feelings. Feelings I don’t need to allow to engulf me.
I remember, as I learned in Al-Anon years ago, that feelings are not facts.
I’ve learned to soothe myself when this happens, and I’ve learned to soothe myself before it happens. I’ve learned that my thought patterns can be slippery and that my brain can be a treacherous place to stay. I have false truths and destructive habits that might be entrenched and might seem unshakable, but I’m putting them down more and more. When they sneak into my brain (and my day), I have the knowledge and strength (and love) to lovingly let them go.
I teach clients (I teach myself) that the brain is a “muscle” that we can train. That we nearly almost always can find a way to pick it up and put it back down in more healing thoughts. More loving thoughts. More gentle thoughts. More true thoughts.
I’m doing that more and more.
When I feel overwhelmed. When I’m awash with shame and fear. When I want to – only want to – fight or flight, I have a choice. I have a choice to allow the feelings to course through me. I have a choice to reach for self-compassion and self-love. I have a choice to breathe, to pause, to allow love to fill me and fuel me. To look for proof of beauty and of hope.
I have a choice to remember that feelings are not facts.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!
Lisa: It’s been a while. Thumbs up for what you said.
I especially liked “When I want to – only want to – fight or flight, I have a choice. I have a choice to allow the feelings to course through me… I have a choice to breathe, to pause, to allow love to fill me and fuel me…”
Those two choices make sense to me. Some people call them “equanimity.” It is a sure thing that what we call it is not so important as we actually practice it. I am trying to practice those, but they are really difficult for me. Other suggestions do not resonate in me (you know, a poor one with lack of faith. 🙂 )
You inspire me, Lisa — the consistency of your focus.
With much love,
It has been a while, and it’s, as always, always so good to hear from you. I am trying to practice those choices too. Every day I practice more and more, and every day I look for “proof” of love and beauty. That is my faith.
I read your words and thought, what a simple concept. But nothing I’ve ever heard or read.
Thankyou for this encouragement and a new tool for me to use.
Thank you Deborah. I’m glad it’s a new, and useful, tool for you. It is something that is SO good for me to remember whenever I can!