Thursday Thought: I’m here. I’ll listen.

I found myself searching the cupboards for anything to eat. For a second I paused and asked myself, “What is going on?” I wasn’t hungry, and I realized for the past two days I had been scouring the cupboards for something to eat when I wasn’t hungry almost constantly. I asked myself, “Am I trying to stuff something down?”

You know when one of your kids (or all of them) come and talk and talk and talk to you, but you’re not really listening? You’re trying to make dinner, read a book, or pay the bills. You know that moment when you finally stop what you’re doing and look at them and give them your full attention and really hear what they’re saying? This was like one of those moments.

At first, I started to listen and didn’t like what I heard, so I almost tuned out again. But then I thought, “I’m here. I’ll listen.” I decided I wasn’t going to try to make it all better. I just listened. The interesting thing was my inner self wasn’t trying to say a lot, she was just saying the same thing over and over. Maybe that’s why I tuned her out. But when I just decided to listen without making it all better, she calmed down a bit. Mostly she just wanted to be heard. Are you listening? Take a minute right now and tell yourself, “I’m here. I’ll listen.” What is your inner voice saying? You don’t have to make it all better, just listen.

The Difference Between Positive Thinking And Thought Work

Just wanted to clarify something here…thought work isn’t positive thinking. I’m all for positive thinking. To me, positive thinking is to your brain like eating nutritious food is to your body. It’s a really helpful practice.

Positive thinking is feeding your brain helpful thoughts to think. However, positive thinking doesn’t replace noticing your thoughts and emotions and examining if your thoughts are helpful or not. That’s what thought work is. It’s uncovering what is really going on. It doesn’t mean you have to change it either. Feeling good all of the time isn’t the goal of thought work.

The goal is to truly be in tune with your thoughts and emotions so you can get the results you want. You may think the result you want is to feel good all of the time. But do you WANT to feel good when someone you love passes away, or your child is being bullied at school, or someone is screaming at you? How DO you want to feel? What would be USEFUL? That’s what thought work is…to help you have useful emotions, on purpose.

If you’re wondering what would be a useful emotion in your circumstance, sign-up for a free mini-session with me and I’d love to explore it with you.

 

Thursday Thought: What empathy and advice would I give my best friend in this exact situation?

Sometimes I’ll go back and read something I wrote and think, “Wow! That’s so helpful!”

When I’m writing blog posts, I’m not thinking of me. I’m thinking of my clients. The ones who feel so lost and are struggling. I don’t feel that way nearly as much as I used to, but I still do sometimes.

I had some time today when I was really struggling. I thought, “I think I wrote a post about this.” I went and read it, and it was really helpful.

I believe we all have wisdom inside of us. Sometimes our brains on auto-pilot get in the way because they are in survival mode. To tap into our wisdom, we have to be very conscious. That’s when we’re using our pre-frontal cortex, or what I like to call our higher brain.

I encourage you to choose an area in your life where you are struggling. Imagine your best friend, whom you love, is going through what you are, instead of you. Have her tell you why everything is so hard. What would you tell her? What empathy would you give, and what advice would you give? You may be amazed at what comes out of your own brain. The answers to your problems are inside of you.

Ask yourself, “What empathy and advice would I give to my best friend in this exact situation?”

One More Spot Left, Is It Yours?

I have one spot left in my Feel Better Program. Sign-up or pass it on to that person you’ve been thinking of. This is truly an amazing journey, and I can’t wait to go on it with you. You will feel like a different person in 9 weeks!

What is Emotional Pain?

When I was in high school, I joined the track team….for two whole weeks. I dropped out because my body was not used to working out like that and I was so sore I couldn’t take a baby step without immense pain. I wasn’t injured, I was just VERY sore. What do you think would have happened if I had continued? Of course, it would have gotten easier. The pain would have gone away after awhile, and I would have been stronger. I didn’t have anyone to tell me that’s all that was going on (or maybe they did and I didn’t listen), I thought I was going to feel that way forever, and I was like, “I’m out!”

Mental Health is kind of like Physical Health. When you work out and you’re pushing yourself to get stronger, you feel physical pain. You don’t freak out about it, if you’re expecting it, because you know that’s part of getting stronger. Sometimes it even feels good because you know it means you’ve worked hard and that it’s going to lead to a result you want. It’s kind of a sign that you’re on the right track.

When something unexpected happens in our lives, we have a big change, or if we start working towards a goal, that is like working out emotionally. We are going to feel emotional pain in the form of “negative” emotions. I’m here to tell you it’s just fine. This emotional pain is to be expected. You don’t have to let it stop you. It just means you’re living life.

If it feels like too much, or you’re not sure what to do with it, sign-up for a free mini-session with me, and I’m happy to show you what’s going on and why it feels so terrible, and how to get a little relief.

Thursday Thought: He Loves Me and I Love Him

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today I wanted to give a thought that may be helpful if you’ve struggled with Valentine’s Day. A lot of marital relationship advice given is to tell each other your needs and then to try to meet each other’s needs. The only problem is that no one can quite meet your needs the way you want them to, even when you tell them exactly what to say or do.

We think we feel loved by our husband when he does something thoughtful, or loving like brings us the perfect gift, writes us a nice note, or says something loving. But has he ever done these things and you still didn’t feel loved? Maybe you had thoughts like, “He just did it because I asked him to.” or “He doesn’t really mean it.”

What if no matter what he did or didn’t do you thought, “He loves me and I love him”? Then how would you feel? I promise, it doesn’t matter what he does or doesn’t say or do. The only thing that will make you feel loved is to think the thought, “He loves me and I love him.” Only thoughts create our emotions, and they’re all optional. You get to believe whatever you want. Tell me how it’s true that he loves you, even if he didn’t get you the perfect gift/date/card/anything.

If you want to feel more love, sign-up for a free mini-session with me to figure out why you’re not feeling loved, or any other emotion you want to feel.

What is Mental Health?

We are hearing more and more about mental illness, which I think is so great that it’s much less of a taboo subject. Do you ever wonder if you have mental illness? Do you know what it means to be mentally healthy? When this question was posed to me, I thought, “I’m not sure. Sometimes I’m happy. Sometimes I feel really upset, even despair. Does that mean I’m mentally ill?” You guys, I have questioned my mental health since I was a teenager. I remember cutting an article out of the Ensign about depression and telling my dad that I thought I might be depressed, but I wasn’t sure. I was happy sometimes, but sometimes I just couldn’t kick this feeling of sadness, awkwardness, not-fitting-in-ness, there’s-something-wrong-with-me-ness. I thought I was good if I was happy and peaceful, and bad if I was mad, embarrassed, ashamed, depressed. I was okay if I was sad. That was an acceptable “negative” emotion. Or frustrated, that was another acceptable “negative” emotion.

I remember once a friend asking me if I ever got mad, like it was good that I never got mad. I honestly felt like I didn’t get mad, I just got frustrated. It’s very probable I did get mad, but it wasn’t acceptable to me so I pushed it away. Do you think that about people? “They’re so good, they’re just so happy all of the time.” I’m not saying it’s bad to be happy either, just that that’s not the definition of goodness or mental wellness.

So, what does it mean to be mentally healthy, or emotionally well? I’m just barely exploring this as I write this, but I don’t think it means to be happy all of the time. I don’t think it means to have certain emotions that are “okay” to feel and that you don’t feel the rest if you’re mentally well. I think it means you are aware of your emotions. You’re aware of how they affect you. You realize that your thoughts create your emotions, not anything or anyone outside of you. You know that your thoughts are not YOU. They’re just thoughts. But if you don’t take time to slow it all down, you think they’re facts. “This is just how my world is.” But really they’re just thoughts that are just as much true as they are untrue.

If you want help figuring out what thoughts are causing your emotional pain, or figuring out how the circumstances in your life aren’t causing your emotional pain, sign-up for a free mini-session with me where I can help you with ANYthing that’s “causing” you pain.

Thursday Thought: I Always Have A Choice

This thought caught a hold of me when I was reading one of Susanna Kearsley’s novels. I don’t even remember which story it came from, but in the story whenever the girl is scared and wants to just give up she remembers her mother telling her, “You always have a choice.” At one point, she says, “But this time I really didn’t have a choice.” However, as she thinks about it she realizes that she really still did have a choice.

We have lived here in Ontario for 8 years. During those 8 years I have gone back and forth of trying to think positively about living here and wanting to move back to where I grew up in Utah. The problem is that my husband doesn’t want to live in the States. Not that he’s not willing, but he feels the same way about living in the States as I feel about living in Ontario. Remember that line in EverAfter, “A bird can love a fish, but where would they live?” That’s kind of what it feels like for us. I’m not just talking about disappointment here. I’m talking real physical sharp pain in my heart. I knew the problem was in my thoughts, I just couldn’t seem to figure out what the thoughts were. Want to know the most painful thought I would think over and over and over? It was, “I have no choice.” I knew I had a choice. I would go over different choices all of the time, but I never liked any of my choices, so I kept telling myself I had no choice. The thought that I had no choice, or even that those were my only choices have caused me SO MUCH pain.

I tried on the thought, “I always have a choice.” I realized the choice I was making was to not like it here and live here anyway. That’s the choice I had been making all along, but it felt like it was just happening to me. When I decided to choose it intentionally I went from feeling like I had no power to feeling completely empowered. It feels so much better to make a choice consciously than passively. Which are the only choices.

Where do you feel like you have no choice? Leave a comment and let me know what you think of this thought.

 

I’ll Tell You What I Want, What I Really Really Want

I totally hope you’re singing that song right now in your head. If you don’t know the song, Don’t go look it up, just sayin’. It’s one of those I loved as a teen, now that I have kids, not sure it’s that great. haha Anyway, so many times we get caught up in feeling sorry for ourselves, and feeling like there’s nothing we can do to change our situation. For example, for a long time I had this thought that I wanted a bigger house. I felt so sorry for myself that I couldn’t have one because we didn’t have enough money for one in the area we lived. As I did thought work around it, I realized I did want a bigger house, and there were a lot of ways to get it. I could get a bigger mortgage. I could just move into an empty one and see how long it took before I went to jail. I could move out to the middle of nowhere and buy one for the same price we paid for our current house. I’m sure there are some other options, too. So there’s what I want: a bigger house. And there’s what I REALLY want: to have what I think is a manageable mortgage, stay out of jail, live closer to Steve’s job.

You may think, “Well, of course, you want those more, but you still don’t get your big house.” But it’s true, we make choices, and it’s important to tell ourselves the truth that we’re making the choice. It’s not just happening to us. This happens in every area of our lives where we feel like we don’t have a choice. Where do you feel like you have no choice? You CAN’T have something you want, or you HAVE to do something you don’t want to do. What are the alternatives? Is someone going to be mad? Would you have to do something against your moral values?

Be sure to tell yourself the truth. I ALWAYS have a choice. Not to be mean to yourself, but because this exercise also shows us that there are other ways, and you just might find one that you like. But as soon as you tell yourself you have no choice, you stop looking for other options. Besides it feels terrible.

Comment and let me know how you found an option you didn’t know was there because you reminded yourself you always have a choice.