Here’s a list of some areas where I’ve been making some real progress:
1. Setting priorities.
I’ve been including taking care of myself as an important consideration, when I’m deciding on my next choice, next step, or next decision (especially when I’m overwhelmed).
Also, I am letting go of some anxiety and fear of consequences when I’m making choices (for example, “If I make this decision, what if it’s the WRONG one?). That helps me think more clearly and make more balanced decisions.
2. Being present in the moment.
Letting go of anxiety regarding fear of consequences (see directly above) is helping with that, too. What’s also helping? The fact that it is so friggin’ beautiful outside right now …
… as Spring has sprung in Boston.
3. Realizing I have “all the time I need.”
This really helps me, when I’m overwhelmed. I’ve been having some trouble sleeping lately, so it is especially helping me to take my time, be careful, and think. I notice that when I take my time, I get as much done as when I’m rushing (and I make fewer mistakes).
Yes, I see progress there, too. For example, I’ve been falling asleep more easily. My sleep challenge, lately, has been waking up in the middle of the night, and having trouble getting back to sleep. Last night, though, I did some things differently. When I woke up (probably around 4 AM), I:
- did NOT look at the clock,
- noticed my thoughts about what I might blog about today, but let them go, and
- noticed my fears about possible disconnects with people, but let them go, and
- noticed my guilt about things I haven’t gotten done, but let them go.
Doing this daily blog has helped improve my writing. Also, it’s helped me tell my story in a “better” (more healing, more clearly, more nuanced, more balanced) way.
I’m not as concerned, lately, about what other people think, especially when I’m doing “weird” things, like walking down the street, listening to music and singing. What does “weird” mean to me? Well, I don’t see too many other people walking and singing out loud. However — here’s a thought — when I do see other people doing that — I like it!
What’s help me reduce self-consciousness? Thoughts like that one I just had, above, plus:
- Letting go of mind-reading (I don’t know what other people are really thinking)
- Realizing that I am neither as important nor as unimportant as I fear (most people aren’t noticing)
- Realizing if my worst fear is true (that other people think I’m weird) … SO WHAT?
When I realize that I’ve made a mistake, especially one that might
- cause a disconnect with somebody else or
- “get me into trouble” (especially at work) ….
… I STILL get a sinking feeling and panic a little. But that panic has been passing more quickly.
Also, I’ve been able to say helpful things to myself quickly, such as
- “it’s probably not as bad as you fear,”
- “you can probably repair this”, or
- (once a week or so) “SO WHAT?”
Okay, that’s the end of my progress report, for today.
In the therapy groups I do — if it’s appropriate, comfortable, and the group wants to do it — we applaud when somebody reports progress (or doing something new).
Are there areas for improvement? Oh my goodness, yes. And, originally, when I first start writing this post, I wanted to highlight those. However, since that list would include
- giving myself more credit for what I am doing (rather than focusing on what I’m NOT doing) and
- feeling good about my accomplishments (without thinking I’m being too self-absorbed or conceited),
I’m going to bring this post to an end.
If you want to read more about cognitive distortions, like mind-reading, check this out.
If you want more information about ways to challenge these distortions (including the “So what?” method), see here.
And, as always, thanks for reading, everybody.
Makes me think about one of Leonard Cohen’s buddhist/jewish old ideas, “The troubles came, I saved what I could save, A thread of light, a particle, a wave, But there were chains so I hastened to behave, there were chains so I loved you like a slave.”