One Way We Add to Our Suffering

During my darkest days, I remember distinctly an evening when I was having an argument with my husband and he said to me, “I’m not going to talk to you if you keep talking the way you are. You’re being disrespectful.” I honestly was shocked by what he had said. I didn’t think I was being disrespectful at all. I felt like I was just stating the facts. I thought and thought on this for a few days. Finally, I tried to see it from his point of view. It was quite humbling. I realized, I thought that because I had thoughts and feelings, it was fine for me to tell them all to him without editing.

I realized that I hadn’t even thought of how he was feeling. I was so engulfed and overwhelmed by my own thoughts and feelings, that I couldn’t even consider his.

I know I was just being human when I was so engulfed in my own problems, but I’m grateful that my husband was willing to say something to me. It must have taken great courage, as I know he loved me and was concerned for me.

I love this quote by the apostle, Elder David A. Bednar, when talking about the character of Christ:

Perhaps the greatest indicator of character is the capacity to recognize and appropriately respond to other people who are experiencing the very challenge or adversity that is most immediately and forcefully pressing upon us. Character is revealed, for example, in the power to discern the suffering of other people when we ourselves are suffering…

https://www2.byui.edu/Presentations/Transcripts/ReligionSymposium/2003_01_25_Bednar.htm

It can be tricky to know how to take care of ourselves while still recognizing we are not the only ones suffering. But I wanted to share this with you in case you are increasing your suffering by blaming others for not taking it away. When we blame others, we are disconnecting from them, which increases our own suffering.

P.S. If you like these posts and are interested in getting some more personal help with your struggles or seeing your amazingness. I’d love for you to sign-up for a free coaching session. You don’t have to come prepared or have anything necessarily to say. I will ask you questions and guide you the whole time. I’d love to meet you!

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: Everything Is Going To Be Fine…

This thought helps me get out of that space of “everything is all wrong”.  I experience all of these things I write about. Sometimes I’m a huge mess. The other day was one of those days. Everything felt like it was never going to be okay. A friend offered me this thought, but added on the end…that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.

EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE FINE; THAT DOESN’T MEAN IT WILL BE EASY.

And somehow, that’s okay. It’s just enough to know that it’s going to be fine. I’ll just keep doing one thing at a time. If things don’t go the way I expect or want, it’s still going to be fine.

What are you dealing with right now? How is it true that it’s going to be fine, even if it’s not easy?

When Everything Is All Wrong

You’re worried about your child’s health. There’s not enough money in the bank. You overate. again. You blew up at your husband. again. Your lesson for church isn’t coming together. You feel like the heavens are closed. You’re pretty sure you’re messing your kids up. Your friend cancelled your girls’ night. And seriously why does everyone in your family need to eat dinner every.single.night.

What if I told you you’re right on track? This just means that you’re trying to do something hard or different and your brain is trying to talk you out of it. “But I’m not working on anything right now.” You say to me. Are you sure? Think about it. What have you been trying to progress at, or do differently recently? Your brain is just feeding you negative thoughts to try to get you to zone out, watch Netflix, and eat candy.

Now that you’re onto your brain, what DO you want to think about what is going on in your life? Do you want to think that everything has gone wrong? Or do you want to think that everything is going just the way it’s supposed to, and see how it’s helping you grow and become more of who you want to be?

Thursday Thought: I’m Willing To Figure This Out No Matter What

On Monday, I asked you, “What problem are you trying to solve, and you just can’t seem to find the answer to? If you knew the answer, what would it be?” So you get your answer, and you try it out, but it doesn’t work. Then what do you do? Most of us give up. We have thoughts like, “I knew that wouldn’t work.” “I shouldn’t have tried.”  It’s like running a race, and just sitting down when we realize we’re not going to come in first. Life isn’t a race, but we do this with everything from problems our kids are going through, losing weight, any sort of goal we set.

What if you didn’t give up? What if you were willing to try again, every.single.time? What if you were willing to fail over and over again until you succeeded?

When there’s something you really want to do, try on the thought, “I’m willing to figure this out no matter what.”

When You Need To Fix The Problem RIGHT NOW

I was up in the middle of the night trying to figure out how to fix a problem we’re having with our kids. It has been going on for 6 years, yet I still have the thought that it needs to be fixed RIGHT NOW. After awhile, I realized I was coming from desperation to get it fixed. Immediately I started trying to fix my thoughts so I could come from a better emotion to fix it. I was desperate to feel better so I could THEN fix the problem. It was interesting to see how I went from desperately trying to change the circumstance, to desperately trying to change my thoughts.

There’s nothing that needs fixed right now. How do you feel when you think it needs to be fixed right now, and it’s not? What kind of action does it give you? For me, it makes me feel desperate. This closes down all of my creativity, and I tend to do extreme things, like empty all of our cupboards and fill them with completely different foods to change our diet, or get rid of all of our screens, or donate half of our toys. Or I do nothing at all; I freeze. Desperation is not a helpful emotion, ever.

There is NOTHING that needs to be taken care of RIGHT NOW, unless it’s a life-or-death situation, which hardly anything is. The problem is almost everything FEELS like a life-or-death situation because that’s how our brains are wired. So just remind yourself that this can take as long as it needs to. Because guess what…it’s going to. It’s like finding something you’ve lost in the last place you look. Of course, because you stop looking once you find it.

What feels urgent to you right now? What will happen if it doesn’t “get taken care of”? And then what? And then what? And then what?

 

You Don’t Have To Do Anything To Prove Your Worth

Sometimes we think our worth is dependent on what we do. So we try to exercise more, be more productive, lose weight, go to church, read our scriptures, dress our kids nicely, get out of debt, make healthy meals, make delicious meals, be nice, give service, the list could go on. None of these things are bad things. A lot of them are good things. But if we’re doing them so that we have “evidence” that we’re good and worthwhile, it’s exhausting. How will we ever know if we’re worthwhile?

How do we know the worth of a diamond? You might tell me all of the guidelines that decide the worth of a diamond. But where did those guidelines come from? Someone just made them up! Seriously! It came from someone’s brain and a lot of people agreed. Is a diamond of any worth to a 3 year old? They may think it’s pretty, but they’d probably rather have that toy that makes a sound when you push the button.

Just like a diamond, you just get to decide your worth. And guess what…no one has to agree with you. Nobody. I like to believe everyone is worthwhile. The guy who sits in his room playing video games all day. The woman who spends her time helping out at the homeless shelter. The man who goes to the temple every week. Even people who do horrible things in this world have infinite worth. I believe we get our worth from being children of God. If you are a human on this planet, then you are a child of God. Therefore you are 100% lovable. You are of infinite worth. This feels really good to me, and helps me be who I want to be.

How would it feel differently to do anything from a place of knowing your worthwhile whether you do something or not, than from a place of trying to prove your worth? Let me know what you think.

Thursday Thought: It’s Okay To Feel This Way

We receive messages everywhere telling us that we should always feel good. We can get the idea that it’s wrong to feel a certain way, or even that there’s something wrong with us to feel a certain. But the only reason we feel an emotion is because of a thought we’re having, and subconsciously or consciously we’re believing.

When I start to worry that there’s something wrong with me, or that I have done something wrong to feel the way I’m feeling, I like to remind myself: It’s okay to feel discouraged. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. It’s okay to feel angry. It’s okay to feel judgmental. It’s not harmful. I can just feel it. It may not be a helpful emotion, which I can figure out later, but for now it’s okay to just process it. It doesn’t mean I’m doing anything wrong, or that there’s something wrong with me.

Breathe. Feel.

Feelings Are Not Tigers

When we feel an uncomfortable emotion, our brain sets off the alarm to tell us there is DANGER! As in, “There’s a tiger behind us that wants to eat us!” It does this so we can react quickly. However, we very rarely encounter danger like this in our every day lives, so it’s not useful to just react to our emotions. The problem is that since we realize it’s not usually helpful to react to our emotions we tend to suppress them. When you suppress them, it’s like holding a beach ball under the water. You can only do it so long until it explodes out of the water. A lot of us then come to the misconception that feeling our emotions causes explosions, so we suppress them even more.

What to do instead?? Just allow the emotion. Just feel it. Relax into it. Relax your body and give it time. There are many ways to do this:

One way is to describe the emotion in your body.

Another way is to imagine you’re watching yourself in a movie. What do you look like when you’re just feeling frustrated while you help your kids with their homework, but you’re not reacting to your frustration? What does a person look like who is feeling discouraged while they type up their work assignment, but is just feeling discouraged, not reacting to it or suppressing it? They’re just doing what they’re doing in a more subdued way.

One more way to just allow the emotion is to imagine it as water that is being poured into the crown of your head and the only way it can get out of your body is through your toes. Every time you suppress it, it’s like squeezing the way shut so it can’t get through. Sometimes though it can be a lot of water coming at once, and maybe it’s really tight as it’s going through. It may feel really uncomfortable, but you know you have to just let it slide or it will back up and be more painful, or it will stay around a lot longer, so you have to just feel the discomfort as it moves through your body until it can exit through your toes.

What way makes the most sense to you? Leave a message and let me know.

 

Where’s Your Focus? (Movies Part 2)

When I’m having thoughts that make my life seem bleak, sometimes I like to pretend I’m in a movie. I love those movies of Ireland where they show the country side, or an old worn down castle and play beautiful music in the background. It’s all so romantic to me. We moved to Ontario about 7 years ago. I waffle between loving it and not loving it. This may sound weird, but one of the things that was hard to get used to is that there are growing things EVERYWHERE. I grew up in the desert, so if you wanted a plant, you had to plant it and take care of it or it would dry up. In Ontario, plants grow whether you want them to or not (unless they’re in my house, then they die ;)). I felt like nature was taking me over. Then one day I was driving down the road and there was a beautiful sunset in front of me, and I noticed the beautiful trees and plants and open space in front of me. I realized it was the kind of picturesque view they would show in a movie. However, in the movie they wouldn’t show the construction, and roads, and power lines around. They’d just show the beautiful part. Ever since then I can’t drive down that road without thinking about how I love having such a beautiful space so close to my house. I had missed it for several years because I focused on the less beautiful things around.