When you are tired of listening to all the ‘other’ voices in your head, all the ones that try to keep you in that same-shit-different-day place, you need to stop and take a few deep breaths. Right now! Go on! Breathe… That little bit of fresh air will do you a world of good! Trust me!
If you want those voices to stop, you have to find some kind of center within yourself so you can finally hear your own voice again. You must give yourself the freedom to reintroduce yourself to yourself, to reflect on where and why you let those other voices into your head in the first place. Believe me they’re sneaky little bastards and they’ll take any way in they can get.
You need to make the loudest voice your own! Listen to the one that comes directly from your heart, the one that somehow got buried under the heap while you were struggling to survive a trauma or experience or collateral damage that whooped your ass, that made you feel victimized, alone, sad or depressed.
It’s become so easy these days to get waylaid by collecting other people’s daily dialogue, other people’s opinions, other people’s news, other people’s drama, etc, etc, etc, when we’re struggling to make ends meet, when we’re struggling to keep our head above water, when we’re struggling to keep our jobs, when we’re struggling to raise our kids and when we are struggling to see any light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to what lies ahead for us.
If this is you, if you’re constantly wondering about your future, then you already know that the world is full of voices that will try to sway you into being a ‘think-like-them’ kind of person because you’ve become tired of fighting for the way you want to feel, the way you hope to feel, the way you need to feel. Life is exhausting sometimes, plain and simple. The secret though is, don’t keep piling your problems one on top of the other without ever taking the time to deal with them. If you do, that little molehill of a problem will eventually become a mountain that will always feel impossible to scale! Don’t keep letting things build up to where you are always reaching your breaking point. Sometimes you just have to take the bull by the horns and finish all those pain in the ass details that are bugging you!
Those other voices you’re listening to, they’re just distractions that want to remove you from being or becoming the leader of your own thoughts. You start filling your brain with their energy instead of your own, and then suddenly, there’s no room left for any of your own thoughts or ideas or hope for something different. We’re all guilty of this at some point in our lives, because frankly, sometimes it’s just so much easier to be a sheep or a follower, which causes us to go along with that I’m just going to go with the flow because life is hard, and giving up the responsibility of trying to control it just seems like a no brainer when you’re suffering.
Well guess what? Fuck that! Your beautiful suffering inner self is tired of suffering. You know it. I know it. We all know it! So what are you going to do? There really are only two choices here: FLIGHT or FIGHT! Flight should not be your option any more. You’ve probably been working that one for a while. So I have to ask, how’s that working for you right now? Probably not so great because, as that old saying goes, you can run, but you can’t hide! We all know that things that don’t get resolved always have a way of coming back to you, over and over again!
If you’re finally ready to move beyond settling for what you have now (fear, depression, sadness, aches and pains, self-doubt, low self-esteem, no energy, non-committal thinking, feeling disconnected and lonely) then choose today as your new starting point. Choose to have a better life. Choose you! Choose to listen to what your heart and spirit are saying to you. When you really listen to, and pay attention to what your body, mind and gut are telling you, you’ll see that it’s not as hard as you think to make a few small changes in your life so you can lift some of these burdens off your back rather than always carrying them around like booby prizes. When you really listen to those three elements, so many things will change for you. It will almost feel like you are rearranging your molecular makeup. Your brain will recognize even the tiniest subtle changes and it will reward you by releasing happy pheromones into your system. Those little buggers feel good too! How could you not love that, right?
Choosing you is the very first step you must take. First, recognize what has put you in this place. What have you allowed into your life that is holding you back from feeling better about yourself and the world you are currently occupying? You need to go stand in front of a mirror and take a good look at who you see in that reflection. Do you recognize this person or are you looking at some stranger who moved into your body and brain? Your eyes speak a thousand words. Do you see any spark in them or have they become lifeless and dull? How about your posture? Are your shoulders always crammed up around your ears or are they slumped over in that odd self-defense position? Do you look tired even though you got your recommended eight hours of sleep? Have you stopped trying to look your best because you think no one really gives a shit about how you look anymore, including you?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, my first suggestion to you is to make an appointment with your doctor and have a physical examination! When you feel overwhelmed, sometimes it’s easy to put something like that off too, but I think it’s extremely important to know whether the battle you’re fighting is physical or emotional. I think it’s always best to rule out anything medical that might be hindering your ability to feel good.
Next, get your pen and paper out!
The next thing you’re going to do is to start making some lists. Identify what makes you sad or depressed versus what makes you happy. That will allow you to see and compare your lists. Those written words then becomes a tactile tool. You can no longer deny what’s going on with you because it made it to the list and those lists are right in front of you. Just like an accountant’s balance sheet, if one side has too many deficits, then you must take the challenge to balance the books, so to speak. Are the things that make you sad actually yours to own or are they someone else’s things that you’ve taken part ownership in for some reason? If that’s the case, you need to let that shit go immediately!
Let me just give you an example here to show you how easy it is to hold someone else’s pain. Many years ago I convinced a friend of mine to go with me to get a mammogram. I hate this particular test more than anything but find that, if I take a buddy along with me and they do the test as well, it takes some of the nervousness away. Well, my friend had not had a mammogram in more than ten years so she agreed to go with me. We were both led to different rooms after the test and we each sat waiting for the doctor to come in and tell us the results. About thirty minutes went by and finally, there was the doctor, standing in front of me with that ‘look’ on his face, you know, the one that scares the shit out of you! I have very lumpy breasts and have had scares in the past so that look…UGH! I’m turning blue at this point because I’ve been holding my breath since the doorknob turned. He walks straight up to me, puts his hand on my shoulder and says, ‘I’ll see you next year!’ I finally take a breath and really, all I want to do is cry but I don’t even though I know he’d know they were happy tears. He pauses for just a moment before leaving me alone again, and I see something in his eyes, that there is more to the story and so I venture my own question, ‘what about my friend?’ He looks me straight in the eye and shakes his head. Her test is bad. She has fucking breast cancer! My first thought was, shit, shit, shit, this is all my fucking fault! Why, why, why, did I make her come with me? She’ll never forgive me for this! Fuck me! I finally got dressed and went back to the waiting room. My joy had turned to shell shock! She still had not come out yet. The range of things that went through my mind was off the Richter scale, but the one that kept throwing itself front and center was…thank you god, the universe, my angels, I’m glad it’s not me! Holy crap…that made me feel even worse than bringing her here in the first place. When I finally saw her walking towards me, I was trying to read her facial expression. It wasn’t sad nor was it happy, it was just sort of flat. I felt so bad I couldn’t even tell her I already knew her news. She sat next to me for a minute and then finally said, I have a little bit of cancer, but just a little.
Well flash forward here. Over the next year, she underwent two or three surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments to fix her ‘little bit’ of cancer. That whole year I carried around an insurmountable amount of guilt and grief that I had helped expose that truth to her, that somehow this whole damned mess was my fault! I know this all sounds ridiculous, but I was letting it eat me up alive. I apologized many times until one day she stopped me and said, stop it, you didn’t do anything except save my life! You fucking saved my life so I can be here to finish raising my son! That was the game changer for me! I could finally let go of selfishly hanging on to her journey as if it were my own. IT. HAD. NOTHING. TO. DO. WITH. ME! It was not my pain to hang on to! It was then, when her words sunk into my brain, I was finally able to let it go!
So, you see how easy it is to grab on to something that was never yours to hold onto in the first place? The only part I should have played was to be a part of her support system and friend through HER journey, and with this new thinking, that’s exactly how I turned all my agony into empathy and compassion! And yes, if you’re wondering, all these years later she is doing just fine.
IDENTIFY WHAT’S BROKEN, THEN CLEAN UP THE MESS
So, once you make your lists, study them. Really look at whether you own all of what’s on it or whether you just got stuck like I did. Think of it like cleaning out the fridge! Some stuff in there has long passed its expiration date. You’re not going to eat it because it could kill you, therefore there is no longer a reason to keep it in there stewing in its own tainted juices. If you are someone who just can’t bear to throw things like that out, then you should prepare yourself to find that everything else in the fridge will also become compromised and contaminated. This brings me back to the lists. All those things that cause you pain and suffering and sadness are keeping each other company, keeping each other warm and fuzzy, keeping you feeling like crap. Misery loves company. Misery loves to be fed with more misery. The good news here is, you have the ability to control it! You really do. Try never to lose total sight of that, ever! That ‘I’ve had enough’ button has been, and will always be there right in front of you just waiting for you to push it. So my best advise to you this very moment is: PUSH. THE. FUCKING. BUTTON!
When you put misery on an emotional starvation diet, you’ll be amazed by how much weight it will lose, and how quickly things will begin to change. You’ll suddenly feel much lighter and all those booby prizes you were collecting? Guess what? They’ll begin to look like trophies because you are moving up into first place for the first time in a long time. You’ll see that scale between sad and happy quickly shift and your happy list will start to grow until it outweighs the other side. Of course for those of you who are pig-headed, because you believe nothing can be that simple, you go on with your badass self and try all you want for as long as you’re willing to suffer, to love that contaminated thing back to its original perfect edible state. You simply can’t. It’s scientifically impossible! Things change. People change. Situations change! You need to become strong enough and willing enough to adapt, to admit that you need to change things up and keep moving forward. A clean fridge is a healthy fridge. Seriously, the analogy may be simple, but it’s reality. You have to figure out how to clean up your life. If that means getting out of an unhealthy relationship, then do it for you without telling yourself it’s your fault things didn’t work out. If it means surrendering the fight you know you can’t win (nor probably need to win), then do it without telling yourself you’re a loser! If you need to change your living arrangements for whatever reason, think of it as a new adventure that keeps you fresh and keeps you living forward.
When you change your thinking in favor of yourself, there is no place to go but up! Remember, it’s just as easy to tell yourself that you’re great, that you’re okay or that you will be okay once you take care of a few details as it is to tell yourself otherwise!