In the last article I spoke about gratitude. Did you do your homework? How many things did you write down? My hope is that you were surprised at how many things you love and appreciate in your life. Focusing on what you have instead of what you don’t have is very important.
Have you ever had thoughts enter your mind, and you’re like “Where did that come from?”, “Why am I thinking about that?”. And then you just go back to whatever it was that you were doing. Your life as you know it today, is a reflection of your past thoughts and actions. I will never forget a raw conversation I had with my divorce attorney. She was talking about choices that we have in life, and that’s why my life is *ucked up, because of my past choices. Yes, she threw out the F-bomb!
I had lead myself into a miserable marriage with a man who I knew didn’t love me. A shell of a man who was a miserable person in his own right. Why, why, why, do I keep getting involved with men I know are wrong for me? Angry men, men who try to control me. Men that beat-me down mentally and physically! Why was I attracted to that? I felt like a victim of life, someone who was simply cursed when it came to love. But why did I think that I needed to be married in order to be happy? I was never happy in any of my marriages.
My attorney went over the edge with me one day. She was sick and tired of me playing the victim. What a pathetic excuse of a woman I was. She tore into me and chewed me out. She put me in my place. A place I’d never been to before. A place that stunned and shocked me. A shock that caused me to be quite for several days while I mulled over every harsh, but true, word that she spoke.
Who am I? Who am I trying to be? Am I trying to be a good daughter who gets married, has kids and lives happily ever after? Am I the popular girl in school who always has the “hot” “bad boy”? I felt that I let my parents down. I know I let my older children down. How did I get here? 35 years old, 3 young children, alone and scared out of my mind.
I went to a class called Divorce Recovery. It was about 12 weeks long, meeting once a week. The first night all the women sat at a table and all the men sat at their own table. As the weeks went on people became more comfortable and the men and women started speaking to one another, new friendships began to form.
After about 5 weeks I came to realize something very profound. Every single one of us was a “victim”. NO ONE was holding themselves accountable for anything that went wrong in their marriage, including me. I had this sick feeling come over me, I thought I was going to be sick right then and there. It’s was like my brain saw through all the bull-sh*t and was beginning to see reality.
The truth is I am the victim, the victim of my own thoughts and actions!! Of course I wasn’t responsible for my ex husbands actions, but I was 100% responsible for lying to myself and 100% responsible for allowing myself to be in that situation. That made me feel even more sick, devastated actually.
After the first year of being divorced I was working full time. I was moving forward with my life, with my three kids. Things in my life were stable. One thing that I was so frustrated with was all the chatter in my brain. “You’re such a loser”, “He never loved you”, “You are going to be alone the rest of your life”, “you’re fat”. Looking back, I ask-what’s so wrong with being alone! Hahahahaha, I love being single!!
I met someone at a Stanford SLAC lecture who became my mentor. He has a lot of experience with behavior science. I love science! I wanted to know why my brain keeps torturing me, although logically the things my brain is saying to me is b.s.! For 35 years my brain only knew one way of life; one way of thinking.
My method of operation as an adult was always to have a man in my life. My mentor told me that I need to become mindful of my cognitive thinking and behavior. Huh? LoL! Aparently my cognitive thinking has been poisoning my thoughts, in turn taking me down a destructive path. I needed to reverse my cognitive thinking and my behavior.
Early on I was taught that we shouldn’t fight our emotions or our thoughts (anxiety). I was told to let it come in, accept it, don’t fight it. The theory was that nothing bad would happen, that it was only the fear of something happening, and nothing more. That sounds good in theory, right? The problem with that is, we attract into our lives the things we think about the most. For me that was general destruction of my own happiness, misery, fear, worry, anxiety, money problems, etc.
So, what am I suppose to do? Give it to me straight! For me, this means, everytime a bad thought enters my mind, I extracted it immediately. No if’s, and’s or but’s. I just do it. I don’t get emotionally attached to extracting process. I never yell or get mad when I need to extract. I picture a door in my mind, literally closing out the bad stuff (as the thoughts pop up). And then I open a door to a positive thought. My exiting door I picture on the right side of my mind, and the good thoughts come in from the left side of my mind. Sometimes I talk outloud and say something like “OMG, I am so gratefull for”(fill in the blank). I don’t care if I’m in the car alone, or if people think I’m crazy, I DON”T CARE! I think speaking out loud to yourself is satisying because you really feel like you have communicated your point. You validate your message by hearing it. Sometimes the simple act of speaking in your mind, doesn’t feel “real” enough to the point that you feel heard.
I realize this may sound “new age” or “hippie” or “Santa Cruz” (if you’re from my neighborhood) . But it works for many people. Is this easy? Yeah, very! It’s kind of like learning how to drive. When you first learn how to drive, you have to pay attention to every little detail because it’s new to you. It might take you 30 min to get to your destination. Once you’re a veteran driver, everything flows with ease, usually :-), and you get there in about 20 minutes.
It is a slow process, it takes practice, but be happy NOW during the process. I promise you, that you can do it! How long until you reap the benefits? I would say that you will notice a difference the very day you start the process. Do I need to do this forever? Yep! You will get to the point where it actually feels good getting rid of the garbage that moves through your thoughts. It makes me feel cleansed, grounded and clear minded. I can’t wait for you to give this a try. In time you will be extracting automatically, just like being behind the wheel, driving yourself to a happier life!
This is your new way of life! My hope for you is that your whole life will change, for the better. In my next article I will share with you some HUGE changes in my life, you won’t believe it!!! I am so grateful that I am a changed person. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. The only reason I’m sharing my experience is to help others.
Life is good, be happy!