Review from Part 1:
There is so much I cannot control. I feel this acutely today. At times it feels like what I desire and what I want most, doesn’t matter at all. But dear friend, my heart, my pains, needs, wants and desires matter. And so do yours!
On the road to accepting my needs and feelings as reasonable, I've learned there is one thing I CAN control. One thing I can influence that restores dignity back to the barrenness of my situation.
I can choose my thoughts. This doesn't mean anxieties, fears and scary things don't pop into my mind. They do. Life happens to all of us. But I’m learning and practicing tools to take the reins! Practicing choosing my thoughts helps me make more effective choices with my actions.
The ability to choose my thoughts is the bar-none most powerful tool I have in navigating life, from sunny days to stormy nights.
Part 2 Begins:
When I look for help to choose my thoughts, I ask myself, "What is the result I want?”
The end result I’m seeking helps me evaluate my next most effective thoughts which lead to effective behaviors which lead to effective beliefs.
This ties in to Part 1’s Big Question: "Do I ignite my interactions with behaviors that are born of lies my traumas tell me?"
Keeping my end result in mind first helps me untangle the mess, bring order to chaos and yes, shed the light of truth on old lies that need to to be weeded out of my mind.
Even though I might be feeling a multitude of different emotions I can begin with the end in mind, choose which emotions serve the end result and back my way up from there with one simple step after another. Over time I’ve found my beliefs lighten and brighten and begin to reflect what I know I’m capable of and what I’d like to achieve here in the present moment.
What are some things you might desire?
Here are a few of my own…
I desire to experience the dignity of being able to pay my own bills.
I desire to find my fit in the world and do work that brings me joy and fulfillment.
I desire the result of seeing improved quality of life in the midst of pain and medical challenges I carry with me every second of every hour of every day.
I desire a sense of respite and healing from a loss that pierced my heart and leaves a gaping hole every time I glimpse a mirror.
I desire freedom from the shackles of the past that actively pull on the future digging into my wrists with the intensity of their hold.
I desire wisdom for what to do next after unexpected news ambushed me like taking a punch in the dark.
I desire connection in the midst of isolation.
I desire peace and strength to replace the rage I feel at watching my world shrink because of circumstances I can’t control.
I desire to breath light and easy when the tightness in my chest takes over and I fight to pull air from lungs that don’t see the point anymore.
I desire to actively pursue fresh results with hope and new choices with every breath I have.
You see, I may or may not succeed, but I will live life with as much of my best self as I can bring each day.
I can face the brokenness of this world with:
the power to exercise effective choice making.
The journey towards the results I desire is messy. I force myself to be uncomfortable in the name of change and under the alias of hope. I make attempts to change my desperate situation. And at times, I walk away crushed.
Crushed my effort yielded no visible results and I swear I will never try anything so stupid again. Creating changes in my mind and world is a vulnerable thing! I honor the risks you take as you journey, my friend. I experience the discomfort of risks in my own life.
When approaching the question:
“What is the result I want?”
I’ve discovered a weed that must be pulled for things to work.
What about my attempt at changing my situation makes me feel “stupid”? Is it the fact I tried, or the fact my attempt failed… AGAIN?
Or could it be I risked something greater than I had the ability to lose? Did someone or something get too close and strike a nerve?
The weed of self-judgment and shame set in...
and I go back to carrying my pain and challenges like an overstuffed backpack wreaking havoc on my broken body.
“I should have…” fill in your blank:
“known better than to believe my situation could change” “talked to more people” “researched more” “seen this coming.”
The list of judgment rooted attacks on my most dearly desired end result feels endless!
One thing though,
I’ve learned to notice something in my language.
If my sentence involves a “should…” it’s time to wave a white flag to myself, call a truce and think for a moment.
What does the word “should” tell me?
“Should” based sentences are rooted in judgment… self-judgment, felt judgment by others and judgment of what’s going on in situations around me.
I encourage myself and you friend to let the “shoulds” go. I remind myself of this regularly.
Let’s weed the gardens in our minds my friend and jump into the neutral zone!
Letting the self-judgment and other sources of judgment go is a process. A process that feels great once you jump in and begin to experience what it feels like to make new choices.
Here are three things I am able to do to insert myself into a judgment state and change how things are flowing:
Noticing the “should’s”
Calling the “should’s out for what they are, "Hey, you're ineffective and not helping the big picture here." and…
Moving forward NOW. Self talk moment, “Step around the “should” pothole Shannon and take the next step forward RFN" (Right F-ing Now) lol!
I often cling to judgment in painful situations, looking for someone to blame, blaming myself, anticipating disaster and loss, but it does not serve me.
What happened to options? Choices? Creativity? Kindness? Magic? …. Hope?
Those things exist! Our brains are plastic. They have the ability to be molded, to change, grow and adapt in magnificent ways!
And the magnificent cool things is... we can influence how we mold and shape our own brain!
We have choices!
Training the language that flows through my mind away from judgment-based words helps me choose thoughts that support me in moving towards my best and most desired results.
I find that in order to transform my brain and my pain into beauty, it’s the behaviors that count my friend... not the feelings, but the things I do.
Testing new things, risking failure, learning from what didn’t work and looking for another frog to lay one on like I talk about in this post!
I’m learning to re-train my brain by choosing my thoughts and focusing on what I want to build. Choosing my thoughts with the end result in mind creates behaviors that work for me in each moment rather than against me. And with effective behaviors I can foster the growth of new neuro-pathways and a new future for myself.
Part 2 Conclusion:
In conclusion, I’m bringing it back to the physical body for a moment.
Vital is the partnership between what choices I make in between my ears and what choices I make to put in my body.
I nourish my brain nutritionally. I avoid things that cause inflammation in my brain. I study my DNA and learn how to provide my body with what it might need specifically to compensate for any gaps it has. I give my precious noodle what it needs to get out of bed and FIGHT ANOTHER DAY. It’s my best support against the chaos.
People often think of exercise to build muscle. People often think of cardiovascular fitness activities to strengthen the heart. People think of avoiding sugar to take care of their pancreas, blood sugar or dental health.
Have you ever considered what goes into effective MENTAL FITNESS? Our brains deserve the best diets, supplements, thought/speech patterns and external care we can provide them!
They are literally at the head of ALL we do and most often, they are the last thing we care for actively and intentionally in our daily routine.
Multitudes of choices and approaches to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness exist.
I encourage you to put on your adventurer’s cap and go hunting for treasures that might turn your world upside down… or right side up!
Loving on our brains loves on our whole selves.
Message me here if you might like help shopping for nutrition to support your brain
Also, message me here if you might be interested to learn more about the free coaching call I am part of, where Blair Dunkley, creator of the Mind Models teaches the tools I use in my life and my writing!
See you in Part 3!
To your health friend,