Thursday, January 12, 2012

Watching the Line

There is a line that I teeter on the brink of and then come crashing down over.  Think of it as being at the top of a slide.  You can choose to walk down the ladder or slide down the slide.  Once you choose the slide it is difficult to get back to the top without finishing the journey down the slide.  You can scramble, you can claw, you can try your hardest to get your footing and sometimes, lo and behold, it does work and you can climb the slide back to the top.  But more often than not it ends up being a whirlwind ride, scrambling, clawing and panicking to get up but only ending at the bottom flat on your ass in the sand.  And the cycle starts all over again as you climb the ladder to the top of the slide and feel great until your feet slip out from underneath you and you tumble down the slide head first this time.

This line has become more important for me to pay attention to if I want to function in my daily life.  I am learning what my triggers are (so far it's stress and change, can't eliminate those with the snap of my fingers) and I'm hoping with the help of my friends that they will be able to point out some other ones for me.  I have also picked up on the fact that how I feel is relative to my surroundings, be it people, environment, noises, smells.  But mostly people.  This is not healthy.  LOL!


After a recent Life Coaching session, the need to monitor myself has become apparent.  Now that I'm more aware of what is going on inside my head, it's easier to see how things affect me.  The cycle of feelings is the same for everyone:  an event happens to you, this event causes your brain to produce thoughts, the thoughts produce feelings.  For some the cycle is positive, for others it is negative.  For me it is difficult to control, difficult to predict and difficult to stop and change the direction of the thoughts and feelings.  Nothing can change the event.  Only I can change how I perceive the event, what I think about the event and how it reflects on me and ultimately, only I can change how I feel.

One of the best pieces of advice a counselor ever gave me was this:  Others cannot make you feel, but they can influence how you feel.  You tell me I am stupid (that's the event); I think that I am stupid, I can't do anything right, why do I even bother? (Those are the thoughts.) I feel useless, hopeless, like a waste of life, unloved, unlikeable and just plain rotten (and whammo, here come the feelings before I am even finished hearing you call me stupid). But am I really all of those things?  Right no, I'm thinking "probably not".  And if you know me then you are thinking "definitely not"!

Just because I FEEL a certain way doesn't mean that I AM those feelings (as explained to me by a near and dear friend of mine).  I am learning to change my thought process and patterns to avoid running into this situation altogether!  You may think I'm stupid (or ugly, or useless, or imperfect in many other ways) and say that to my face.  That is your issue.  My issue is how I react to your not-so-nice way of expressing yourself and how I choose to take it in.  I can choose to agree and mentally beat myself into submission and decrease my already non-existent self-esteem.  Or I can choose to tell myself (or you!) that it's unfortunate you think that about me.  I need to learn to love myself so that your issue does not become my issue.  On the days when I love myself enough to respect myself and treat myself with compassion and kindness, it's easy to love myself and to let your issues be your issues.  On the days when I am in the black abyss of depression this is not so easy.  Your issue becomes mine and I feel I must help you to help myself.  I must solve your alcoholism; I must solve your infidelity; I must solve your anger; I must solve your unemployment.  Co-dependency anyone?  I've got a small order of it right here.  Hold the fries please, I have enough heart troubles.


So I watch the line.  I pay attention to how I feel and what happened and what I thought in between.  It's easy really, takes no time at all and living a normal life is a snap when you have to pay attention to how everything affects you.  Just kidding.  But one day (soon I hope) it will be easy.  It will be like I've been doing it that way all my life.  I'm sure of it. :)

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