We live interesting, scary, weird times. Some days I get anxious just thinking about seeing what’s happening here and around the world and avoid the news. This also makes me anxious because I don’t know what’s going on. 😀 It’s a vicious, never-ending cycle. I also feel outside of my body at times, looking down at all the insanity, the hate, the exclusion and feel hopeless against this dark tide. It’s a lonely place to be but also a lie.
One Person with One Life in Her Hands
I am only one person. These small hands cannot change the world by themselves, but I am not powerless. I have the power to speak my voice. To demonstrate. To be an example. Those things give me solace and strength because they connect me with like-minded souls, like you. My actions give me purpose versus throwing a tantrum in my apartment, which I have been known to do but does nothing to bring change.
But I also have lost sight of something too. Something, perhaps, even more important.
My life is in my hands. The political climate may scare and anger me, but my small living is the result of the barriers built by me and my insecurities. Society may play a role in their construction but it’s 2017. I know better. I’m under no one’s thumb. I’m well-read, politically versed, socially-aware, believer in gratitude and God and fully capable of tearing down those walls within me.
It’s Up to Me to Take Charge
The other day I was swimming laps and my body was tired and ready to quit. But I wasn’t up to my goal (I keep slowly adding more laps) so even though I was tired, I kept chanting “I think I can” over and over and proved myself right: I can do it.
That’s right — I, Tanya, Can Do It. I have the power. Me.
I cannot control what others do and think. I have no magic wand to wave and rid the world of hate or misogyny or war. But I do have control over me. And for a long time, I acted as though I didn’t. To be fair, depression makes it really, really had to see your power. But I fell so hard and laid down. Gave up. Thought this was the best I could manage.
I was wrong. I can do more. Be more. Am more.
Clearing Out the Fog
First, I must rid my mind of the false beliefs that keep me afraid and uncertain. Their hooks have sunk deep into me, so I resort to old tricks to retrain my mind. Years ago, I attended a self-help retreat and one of our activities was a mental diet or to not have any negative thoughts, which is impossible. The point of the exercise wasn’t to eliminate our negative thoughts but to be aware of how frequently we had them and often times over small, inconsequential things.
For example, Trumpcare unsurprisingly brings out lots of negative emotions from me. But more so about him and those behind the bill. At the same time, I spent plenty of time and energy berating myself over breaking a Dollar Store hair clip. Trumpcare may make me want to scream but repeatedly calling myself “stupid” and “dumb” over a broken hair clip is more damaging to me because I’m hurting me. My mind hears me say over-and-over that I’m dumb and stupid and eventually, it will believe it.
Our group leader taught us to have a saying or chant that we would yell (or say in our head) to change our thoughts when we find ourselves being negative, especially towards ourselves. I honestly cannot remember what phrase we used but mine is now, thanks to Emperor Baby Fists, going to be FAKE NEWS.
I’ve Got The Whole World in My Hands
Or at least my whole world is in my hands. I have big dreams and goals. Desires and aspirations. For a long, long time I talked a big game about them. How I was going to conquer them but between you and, I lied, not with malicious intent but because I lacked the confidence to achieve them. I secretly harbored fears my dreams were beyond my abilities. Or even, at times, my worth. Some days I still find myself believing those old thoughts but I know to yell “FAKE NEWS” and move forward.
This time I’m going to actually figure out what I want, now and in the future, and create a real plan. Not one to forget about in a week or two or only pay lip service to when asked about it, but one that I will actually follow because I can do whatever I put mind to doing. And right now, my mind is going all Nike on me and saying, “Do it. Do it. Do it.”
When have you surprised yourself by what you can do? How do you motivate yourself to go from “think you can” to doing it?
Tonya@Budget and the Beach says
“but my small living is the result of the barriers built by me and my insecurities” So true. And it’s not to bash you because I’m in the same boat and I’m constantly trying to jump out of that boat. I go back and forth quite often to being empowered and on top of the world to being very fearful, especially with a situation I’m going through now. I think it’s just a constant practice of saying mantras that lift you up, reading inspiring material, learning self-compassion, rewarding yourself when you do something good (even if it’s small) and forgiving yourself if you make a mistake.
I think we’ve got plenty of company, Tonya, unfortunately. We create so many of our own roadblocks and I agree wholeheartedly that it’s treating yourself kindly. To encourage yourself and to forgive yourself and to always, always keep trying.
Rebecca Jo says
I do think we forget how strong we are until we have to prove it to ourselves.
I am working hard on negative thinking & that feeling of being out of control in life right now – especially with this whole insurance nightmare.I will no longer have any options for insurance – just a medical plan that shares expenses but covers NOTHING pre-existing. I’m45 – everything is pre-existing. Sigh…..
Yeah, I need my own chant/mantra to clear my head.
I am fortunate, at the moment, that I don’t have any pre-existing conditions but I’m turning 42 in July. Realistically, I know that won’t last much longer because these old bones are getting creaky. 😀 I don’t know what the solution is but Trumpcare is not the answer. At all. Feeling so out of control makes it so easy to slip into that negative space and that’s when I have to remind myself even more about the things I can control and focus my attention there.
It is SO difficult to carry the weight of the world. It absolutely crushes us and pushes us down, down, down until we’re flat on our backs with a huge weight on our chests, cutting off any and all air. I totally get it.
But GOOD FOR YOU. Do it. Achieve it. Desire it. Work for it. You’ve absolutely GOT this and you are unstoppable. The only person who can stop you is you! This is like a perfect day for this reflection. 20 years since Harry Potter was published. JK was reject SO MANY TIMES. And, thank God, she persisted.
It’s so my nature to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders as it is for many. I just want to make the world’s problems disappear but I have no magical wand. And right now, it seems so dark. But … this also has to stop. I can’t control what others do or think but I can control what I do and think. And I know that I can achieve great things if I put my mind to it. And JK is such a huge inspiration. She did persist and created something amazing that so clearly demonstrates why love trumps hate.
kathy @ more coffee, less talky says
I’ve always lived by “the only person stopping me from doing anything is me” and is what I try to teach Kayla. When she was going for her muay thai test and I was training her for it, she was struggling with the intensity of it (and therefore, whining about it) so I simply stopped and told her that I can’t force her to do it; that she needs to WANT to do it and that the only person who would stop her from passing is HER…then I walked away. she came up to me a few minutes later and told me she really wanted to pass so we worked and worked and she ended up passing with flying colours.
realizing that we are our own creators of success/happiness is such a powerful thing because we CAN do it; we CAN find it within ourselves to push forward when we think we can’t.
You’re such a great mom, Kathy. Kayla is lucky to have you. We are the creators of our own success and happiness. Sometimes that scares me but mostly it excites me. Because I’ve been powerful before and can be … will be again.
Love the honesty in this post, Tanya.
I totally agree with you about the similarities between what is going on in the world and how also our negative self-perception can just add to the load we are carrying. This whole healthcare debacle and how people in elected government can actually look their constituents in the eye, while taking away their healthcare, leaves me so angry and frustrated. It totally gives me anxiety.
Keep taking care of yourself, my friend. XO
Thanks, Mackenzie. I spend so time grumbling and stressing over Trump and his ilk. It does give me anxiety because I never know what that man is going to do next. And it just adds to my doubt but I have to stop spinning wheels and start moving forward.