At times, I love being part of a generation that has grown up with Internet access. An all-you-can-eat buffet of information is available 24/7. I come early and often and hungry every time. There are podcasts, eBooks, articles, videos, infographics, and data graphs by experts and enthusiasts in your choice of field and shade of values. I could lose myself here. I have lost myself here, stuck in a loop of information consumption.
But endlessly consuming information is not how I want to spend my life. I also want to create. I want to be intentional with the information I take in, prioritizing what supports my ability to create and lead the life I want.
I subscribe to many podcasts and have paid for multiple online educational program memberships. Realistically, I can only consume a fraction of this content. So I’m taking a step back to consider more intentionally what information I want to take in. What matters to me?
Practicing and honing my writing skill
Maintaining and expanding my French language skills
Improving my gentle parenting techniques
Organizing and decluttering my home
Exposing myself to new ideas and perspectives (Ok, I wrote this one almost specifically for Simon Sinek’s “A Bit of Optimism” podcast.)
Writing this list is a good start… but I need to go one step further and identify 1-2 primary sources of this content. In podcasts alone, I could subscribe to ten each related to writing, French, parenting, decluttering, and mindset. Then I get overwhelmed and try to keep up with all the content instead of taking in important bits and bites and doing something with what I’m learning (like actually writing instead of learning about writing). I need to be more ruthless.
I cut out writing podcasts because I attend a monthly workshop, and for now, I want to allow that to be my main source “of truth.” I cut down to ONE French podcast to practice my listening skills (which is where I’m weakest). I chose two parenting podcasts that I resonate most with and feel I get the most out of. I unsubscribed from all decluttering podcasts since I’m currently in a program with its own content (that I need to keep up with). And, of course, I’m keeping “A Bit of Optimism” because the perspectives, respectful discourse, and Simon’s optimism are soup for my soul.
Have you ever felt different from everyone else and try as you might you couldn’t pinpoint what that difference was? Have you ever expressed what you thought was a very good solution to a problem, only to have everyone around you stare at you like you’ve just sprouted a new head? Have you often found yourself in a social situation where everyone seems to know what to do or say but you feel completely lost? Have you ever tried to figure out if there was some sort of science to building relationships? Have you lived your life feeling almost-but-not-quite “normal”? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to all of the above… you might be me.
The road to discovery…
Late last year, I started seeing a therapist and through that I learned that one of the screeners I took flagged me as possibly having ADHD. This really caught me by surprise. Me? I was the most self-composed child you’d ever have met. I followed rules and I did well academically. There’s no way I could have ADHD…. right?
After discussing it further with my therapist, we decided to put a pin in the idea–not dismissing it entirely and also not giving it focus right now. Well, we may have stuck a pin in the idea in therapy, but as far as my brain was concerned, this was a boulder of a notion that was just pushed over the edge of a mountainous hill and I’m riding it all the way down.
Books, articles, podcasts, online communities. I became consumed with a desire to learn more to definitively answer whether I have ADHD (I know, I know, the obvious answer is to continue talking it through with my therapist or find a new therapist who can offer better clarity). The more I learned, the more confusing it seemed. On the one hand, I do hyperfocus (see first two sentences of this paragraph) but I’m not impulsive. While I have always been one to zone out and daydream regularly (common in inattentive ADHD), I’m not especially forgetful.
Then, an interesting realization struck me… among a group of six friends from college that I still maintain relationships with, three of them have been officially diagnosed with ADHD (one as a teenager and two in adulthood). Odd coincidence or classic instance of birds of a feather flocking together?
During my research, I noticed that a number of resources to support individuals with ADHD also market themselves for those with autism. This had me wondering, what is the connection? Well, it seems there is a decent amount of overlap in how ADHD and ASD brains work: struggling with executive function, difficulties making friends, being distracted (by thoughts or external events), and inability to appropriately take turns in conversation. Additionally, it’s not entirely uncommon for individuals to have both.
So I redirected my attention to learning more about autism. Again, I never really would previously expected I had autism. After all, my brother is autistic with low support needs (pretty much checks every box for the previously used diagnosis of Asperger’s). If my brother is on the low end of the spectrum, surely I’m not on the spectrum? After all, unlike my brother, I don’t struggle with eye contact (except in high stress situations like when I’m giving a presentation), I don’t specifically avoid being touched, and I can understand sarcasm and idioms.
And yet… the more I dived into the topic of autism, specifically on autism for people with low support needs, the more I see myself in the descriptions (and sometimes also, my mother). I also took multiple online self-assessments and all of the results so far have suggested that I may be autistic.
So what now?
Oddly enough, I’ve not yet discussed the possibility of my being autistic with my therapist, so I suppose I will start there. If she doesn’t seem particularly knowledgeable about autism, I may look to switch to a therapist who specializes in individuals with ADHD or autistic spectrum disorder.
If my case is mild, does a diagnosis even matter? I believe so, yes. First of all, I have invested so much time over my life trying to understand my brain and how it works and how other people’s brains work. I’ve been on the hunt to find “my people” and I think if I could say with confidence and without imposter syndrome that I have an _insert diagnosis_ brain, I would feel less like someone who just can’t quite do things right and more like someone who has always done her best in a world that isn’t well designed for how her brain works.
And last, but definitely not least, there is my son, now almost age 4, who I have increasingly come to suspect is neurodivergent in some manner. People with low support ADHD or ASD may be able to more easily walk among the “neurotypicals” but commonly at the cost of mental health resulting in anxiety and depression (both of which I have been diagnosed with by more than one therapist) so even if he wouldn’t get much benefit from occupational therapy for ADHD or ASD, I expect he could use support for anxiety (which I definitely already see signs of) and depression.
I’m the type of person who sees a silverfish-in-the-house type of problem and launches a set-silverfish-traps-in-every-room-vacuum-every-hour-then-drench-the-house-in-gasoline-and-light-a-match attack. Took care of that problem. And how.
In other words, when something concerns me, I want intervention that yields powerful and fast results. I will research the problem online, identify all possible causes, gather solutions from the nuclear to the homeopathic, and then attack that problem with such focused ferocity that it wouldn’t dare show its face here again. I won’t lie.. sometimes this works for me. There’s a reason, after all, why I have developed a habit of doing this.
And then I became a mom.
As a parent, I assume my children’s problems as my own. Their wellbeing is my top priority. Coming up on four years of parenting experience, I’m starting to realize that my go-to problem-solving approach may not be the best. If I put myself in their shoes, having their problems attacked aggressively or from all angles could be really scary. Being scared is not an ideal state for cooperation.
Start with me. This is my 2023 focus phrase and on day four of this year, I’m already being tested… erm, given the opportunity to practice.
My almost 4-year-old has been feeling miserable these last four days with a fluctuating fever up to 103.5 among other symptoms of illness. On top of whatever virus he has, he’s very constipated. Since he spends most of the week at daycare, I can’t even say for certain when the last time was he had a bowel movement but it was sometime between 6 and 10 days ago. Yikes.
I’ve spoken with a nurse from his doctor’s office, pushed fluids, added stool softener to these fluids (per nurse instruction), pushed fibrous and hydrating foods, sat him on the toilet immediately following meals, added lubrication, encouraged active movement, massaged his abdomen, tried a warm bath (this backfired with his fever returning with a vengeance), described how much better he’ll feel afterwards, and detailed what will have to happen if he doesn’t get relief.
To show for my efforts, I have an unhappy kid who is not drinking as much as I’d like, not finishing the recommended dose of stool softener, crying and protesting, in pain, and still stopped up. I can overpower a small colony of silverfish but there is no forcing a three year old to do what he doesn’t want to do.
Start with me. What can I do?
Focus on the present
Calm my own anxiety by focusing on the current situation rather than what might have to happen if this isn’t resolved soon
Instead of scaring my child with the undesirable next steps, say nothing
Make room for joy
Hide constipating foods from my child’s view so he’s less likely to desire or ask for them
Offer constipation-relieving foods that he loves such as grapes, berries, popsicles
Make drinking water more inviting with a fun cup, silly straw or frozen fruit “ice”
Encourage playful physical activity
Play soothing music, read a book or add screen time while he’s on the toilet
Invite connection and collaboration
Remind myself: it’s my child and me vs. the constipation, not me vs. my child
Ask him to drink water with me
Join in physical play with him
Instead of making demands of my child, ask him what he needs
Trust my child is already doing the best he can
Admit we need help — Schedule a doctor visit
Let go of all things beyond my control
I can’t control how my child or his body responds
I’m doing the best I can. If it doesn’t yield the results I was hoping for, that does not make me a failure or a bad parent.
Ok, I’ve got to say, I am pleasantly surprised with how many positive action ideas my little focus rubric helped me to come up with. I feel much better about these steps than what I’ve been doing, which has been causing both myself and my child anxiety. Now to put it to action. Well wishes appreciated. I’ll let you know how it goes, assuming all of this potty talk hasn’t scared you away. I’m keeping it real, folks. (And for any especially concerned citizens, know that I’ve already swallowed my pride / faced my fear and scheduled a doctor appointment for a few hours from now.)
We are three days into 2023 and… I’m keeping my expectations low. I got the coin in my slice of New Year’s bread this year, which is thought to bring a year of good luck, but the last time the coin was in my slice was going into 2020 and we all know how that went.
Already, this year has started off extra challenging with my 3 year old getting some flu-like virus. Poor guy has been feeling miserable to the point where he’s asking to be carried constantly, wants to be in my husband’s or my lap whenever he’s not being carried somewhere, and wants one of us to be next to him all night while he sleeps. Any time we are unable to meet these needs, he breaks down in tears. It’s heartbreaking to see him so unwell, and also exhausting.
Inhale. Exhale. This too shall pass.
Anyway.. a new year means a rejuvenation of energy and motivation towards setting and achieving goals. I prefer setting focus themes for the year and setting relevant smaller resolutions throughout the year. So that’s what I’m going to do.
In the last quarter of 2022, I started weekly therapy sessions, which really opened my eyes to how out of tune I’ve become with my own basic needs. My experiences from childhood into adulthood have made me feel like no one is listening to me, which has made me feel like I have nothing valid to say, which has caused me to stop listening to myself. Seriously. I’ve realized I frequently ignore and push through pangs of hunger, thirst, urges to urinate, and tiredness until I reach a point where I really can’t ignore it any more. Since I don’t even make my basic human needs a priority, forget about any luxuries that fall under “self-care”.
Initially, I thought my theme for the year would be to slow down but I wanted something a bit broader. I then made a list of things I most wanted to work on so that I could find a common thread that might connect them.
Focus on the present
Make room for joy
Invite connection and collaboration
Let go of all things beyond my control
My New Year’s focus theme for 2023? Start with me. I can’t control other people or many of my circumstances but there’s actually quite a bit within my control and it all has to do with me, my mindset, and my actions.
To live in the present, I need to learn to slow down, breathe, get curious about what’s happening around me, and in many cases, allow things to be without rushing to “fix” things.
To make room for joy, I need to recognize what brings me joy, reduce the noise and distractions, and actively create opportunities for me to experience these things I enjoy.
Inviting connection and collaboration means asking for help even when I technically could figure it out and do it myself. It means unlearning the idea that asking for help is placing a burden on others. While all of these things will require a big mental shift for me, I expect this one to be the hardest.
The reason I chose start with me and worded it as I did is because when I get stuck, when I feel overwhelmed or trapped, I want to remember before trying to change or react to my situation, to tune into myself. Start with me. What am I feeling? What need of mine isn’t being met? What’s one thing I can do right now to help meet that need?
What about you? What are your hopes and intentions for 2023?
This post discusses the topics of homicide, suicide, and mental health.
If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States. Dial 988 or go to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline website to learn more. Per their website, “people call to talk about lots of things: substance abuse, economic worries, relationships, sexual identity, getting over abuse, depression, mental and physical illness, and loneliness, to name a few.”
This post may be a little bumpy; I’m a bundle of emotions today, my friends.
I’m so tired of watching mental health constantly be overlooked and dismissed. After any act of domestic violence, people will rally, “Regulate guns!” and when other voices chime in “and resources for mental health!” there’s a large number of voicing arguing “this is a gun issue, not a mental health issue!” When the pandemic caused us to isolate and stay indoors, understandably there was concern over our physical health, yet where were the resources to support our mental health during this change?
On a personal level, after a rather traumatic birth experience, I remember feeling irritated whenever my doctor would come in and ask me about my pain on a scale of 1-10, and say nothing to check in on how I was doing emotionally. I was recovering from an unplanned c-section and had refused opioids as part of my pain management.. my physical pain was, I don’t know, 4? but I was so disconnected from that pain because all I could think about was how emotionally I felt like I was at an 11. My medical care team acted as though everything was rosy. The baby is ok, I’m “ok”, everything is “ok”. My son, now approaching his 4th birthday, is a highly sensitive individual. How much of that is his nervous system going on high alert because of a traumatic birth and a mother who didn’t receive adequate emotional support during his first weeks of life?
At 6 weeks old, I took my second born daughter to the hospital for a fever. She was quickly diagnosed with COVID, but they wanted to keep her for more testing to make sure she didn’t also have a bacterial infection (which can be very dangerous for babies under 2 months old). I watched in horror as they tried and failed three times to draw blood from her while she wailed in fear and pain. “Don’t worry, she won’t remember this” I was told after I asked them to stop. But trauma is stored in the body in more ways than just what we can remember. One of humans’ great qualities is adaptability, and when we experience traumas, our bodies can be quick to adapt to protect us from having that type of experience again. To say that she won’t be negatively impacted from this experience moving forward is simply not a promise anyone could make.
1 in 5 people are affected by mental illness, which is often not limited to our mental state; mental health can also manifest as physical symptoms. For ages 15-44, suicide is the second leading cause of death — let that sink in: as scary as all the school shootings are (and they are scary), a statistically bigger threat to our high schoolers is the thoughts in their own brain.
As a mom, it has become a number one priority for me to teach my children that it’s safe and healthy to express their emotions. It’s an uphill battle in a blizzard. I have to unlearn my own emotional bottling tendencies so that I can model emotional expression and coping, and be less triggered by my children’s emotions. I’m also going against society. For every one time I show my kids it’s ok to cry, they receive countless more messages that it’s not, and I’m sure that goes double for my son. But if the world will not be a safe space for emotion, then I. Must. Be. If my children are having a hard time, they have to know that they can come to me, that I will support them through whatever it is and love them no less. It’s not perfect; I’m sure many times despite my best efforts, I will give my kids unintentional messaging that emotions aren’t safe because it’s been so thoroughly ingrained in me, but my goodness, I have to try.
And maybe I have to start speaking out… when I hear someone say “Boys don’t cry” or “Big kids don’t cry” or “You’re making so-and-so sad when you cry” perhaps I should respond with, “When I feel sad, sometimes crying is exactly what I need to feel better.” The messaging that we need to hide our sadness to keep others happy needs to stop.
Yes, let’s have discussions on access to and restriction of weapons AND let’s have discussions on supporting mental wellness. There’s no need to shut down one discussion in favor of the other; both are important.
I’m reminded of the quote from Legally Blonde: “Happy people just don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t.” Sure, it’s overly simplistic and comes from a silly movie, but I believe there’s some truth in it. “Happy” is probably the wrong word… because that’s a feeling and feelings will always ebb and flow. But I firmly believe that people who feel secure and safe to exist in the world as they are and to seek help when they need it do not harm themselves or others. They just don’t. We need to do better as a society to make this world a safer, more welcoming place for us all and when someone says they are struggling, we need to take them seriously.
I dread meeting new people, hate having to perform under a time crunch, and feel embarrassed sharing my work that have not yet been edited to perfection. I did all of these things Monday evening and it felt amazing (not in the moment, but afterwards).
Writing has been a passion of mine ever since I learned how to hold a pencil and write words. I loved creating worlds and characters and exploring how those characters would interact in their world. I also had a lot of confidence in my ability, having often been complimented on my writer’s voice. Once I got to college, it became more difficult to prioritize writing outside of my assignments. As I fell out of practice, I also lost my confidence and then later, my motivation to write.
Strangely, even though I couldn’t summon motivation to write, I’ve still maintained a desire to write. I’d feel pings of jealousy and shame when I witnessed friends or peers of mine producing their own writing. I’d then feel energized and tell myself I was feeling inspired to write again, time slipped by without my writing anything and the energy spark fizzled. Sometimes, in an attempt to hold myself accountable and write something (even if it wasn’t the type of writing I really wanted to be doing), I’d start a blog, abandon the blog, start a blog, abandon the blog. Each time, my motivation would morph into feelings of inadequacy.
In an attempt to push myself, I found a local writing workshop, which I attended this past Monday. Despite my best efforts, I arrived a bit late, and when I got there, I realized it was not a one-off workshop, but rather an established and recurring workshop where everyone was already acquainted with each other. There went my hopes of arriving with a comfortably low profile.
After introductions, we did a 5-minute writing prompt. My brain often freezes under time crunches, leaving me with even less time than originally given. Fortunately, my embarrassment at the prospect of writing nothing was greater than that for writing something imperfectly, and for once, I let go of perfection and just wrote the first thing that came to mind. At the end of 5-minutes, it was still an incomplete thought, but so was everyone else’s.
I then surprised myself further by sharing my very rough, incomplete draft even though I wasn’t under any real pressure to share. Everyone was really nice, encouraging, and nonjudgmental. I left the workshop feeling proud and like I had reconnected with a long lost piece of myself. I’m so grateful to have found this workshop and that it meets regularly once a month, a commitment that feels feasible to this busy mama of two very young children.
I often feel hesitant to allow myself to use this label. I’ll think, I shouldn’t call myself a “writer” because I haven’t written anything worthy of that title. But why? I wouldn’t think a person couldn’t claim to be an “artist” if they haven’t sold any work, don’t have anything hanging in a museum, haven’t received any accolades, have left some work unfinished, or their preferred medium is crayon. If they at least somewhat routinely put effort into artistic endeavors, they are an artist.
Writers are people who write. It’s not more complicated than that.
I enjoy writing, I express myself best in writing, I even take pride in some of the things I have written.
I am a writer.
Allowing myself to wear this label has been freeing. When I believe I’m not a writer I also start to believe that I can’t write. When I think I can’t write, I don’t. And it probably goes without saying, but for the sake of completing the circle — when I don’t write, I’m not a writer.
Sure, it would be nice if one day my words were published or recognized in some way, but if not, it doesn’t mean my writing isn’t worthwhile. At a bare minimum, writing provides an outlet for my personal expression, a means of organizing my thoughts, and something I can get excited about creating. I write on a blog because I hope that my words will resonate with or move even just one of the billions of people out here, but if my writing ends up only ever serving myself, that’s ok. That’s still enough.
10:00PM I should go to bed now. A responsible person who prioritizes sleep would go to bed right now. Ok, I will do that… after just one quick episode of this old sitcom I’ve been watching.
12:00AM Ugh. I should really go to bed now.
12:10AMWAAAAAAAAH! Can my one-year-old hear my eyes close?
2:00AM Chhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Huh? Oh, my husband’s in the bathroom. He must be getting ready for bed.
2:20AMTHUD. Thump thump thump thump. “Mommy? I had a bad dream…”
2:55AM Must have been quite the nightmare. My three-year-old wouldn’t let me leave the room until he fell asleep. Hello, there, pillow. It’s lovely to feel you again…..
3:00AMWAAAAAAAAH! Ugh. Do you have to wait until I get all comfy?
3:15AM Thumpthump. Thumpitythumpthumpthump. Scratch scratch scratch. Really cat? You have the friskies now?!
3:20AMGhnnnn….Ghnnnn…Ghnnnn. How does my husband sleep through all this? It’s fair game to poke him so he wakes just enough to stop the snoring right? Poke
3:22AMGhnnnn….Ghnnnn…Ghnnnn. Well, that was short-lived.
3:25AM Oh shoot aren’t those library books due soon? I’ll have to go today. But when will I have time? Maybe I can run over after dropping the kids off at daycare. Yeah. No wait… they don’t open until 9. What day is tomorrow? Thursday? I have that morning meeting tomorrow; I don’t know if I can get back in time. I guess I could go during lunch time. Ugh, but then I’ll have to figure out another time to pump. And I wanted to squeeze in a shower tomorrow too. I need a shower. It’s been too long. I feel gross. Did I remember to switch over the laundry before bed? I don’t have any clean underwear, I hope I remembered to switch the laundry. I’m hungry…
4:30AM Chirrup! Chirp chirp! It’s still dark out. Why on Earth are there birds that sing this early?
5:00AMTHUD. Thump thump thump thump. My three-year-old. “Mommy… I have to pee!”
5:45AMWAAAAAAAH! My one-year-old. If I’m lucky, I can get her back to sleep
6:30AM Well, it’s too late to get more sleep. I’ll just zone out on my phone, I guess.
6:58AMTHUD Thump thump thump thump. “Mommy! It’s time to get up!”
7:00AMBeep beep beep. Why do I even set a wake-up alarm?
Thankfully, the vast majority of my nights are not like this. But every now and again, there’s a doozy. Most nights I can expect 2-3 of these disrupters. Be kind to the parents in your life, everyone, the restless nights can happen well beyond the newborn stage.
I find it both interesting and encouraging that my most popular posts from last year were my November lists of things I am personally grateful for. Even throughout this year, I continued to get notifications that another person liked one of those posts. I didn’t prepare four posts with four different focuses for each week of November this time. I didn’t even successfully get this one post up before November was over. So it goes.
Without further ado, here I go again listing the things I am grateful for (and I tried to think a little outside the box of what I listed last year).
I completed a full year of nursing/pumping my baby. It’s been a difficult milestone to reach and I feel blessed to have been able to make it. I plan to continue breastfeeding as long as I can, but now I can at least feel like the pressure is off.
This moment to myself. As I type, it’s one of few times in the past… gosh 3.5 years that I’ve had some time at home alone. It’s so beautifully refreshing to exist without threat of interruption or the pull to meet anyone’s needs outside my own.
My 1-year-old got the chicken pox vaccine four weeks ago, giving her immune system enough time to build those antibodies before last week when I got a rash that was later diagnosed as shingles. Gah, what timing!
The library. Free access to books, movies, board games, internet and printing, notary, passport services, activities and lectures by local experts. The library is pretty amazing and it’s ability to remain relevant during modern times has been impressive.
That I may continue to work from home for the foreseeable future. I can also go into the office any time I feel the pull (which hasn’t happened yet).
The privilege to watch my children continue to grow and discover themselves and their interests. While part of me grieves the leaving the parenting stage of having little babies (as my youngest is now a toddler on the go and my husband and I don’t plan to have any more children), I’m so grateful to be able to watch my kids grow into these young people and I love learning more each day about who they are.
I found time to take two peaceful baths this week. Major self-care win for myself. Good job, Self.
My husband and I are now splitting bedtime duty with the kids more evenly across the week.
I successfully rehomed two big baby activity items to another local family, thus opening up some of the floor space in our house and hopefully give some joy to that other family.
The “Do Not Disturb” feature on my phone with the ability to customize what is important enough to break the silence so that only the important things will disrupt me (… most of the time)
Getting some Moms’ Night Out time with some of my in-laws. We’ve done it once and I’m hoping we’ll be able to make it a regular thing.
That daycare provides breakfast, lunch, and snack to my kids. I will definitely miss this when they need their lunches prepped for school.
Singing with my kids to the car radio
One of my friends from college (who has a kid less than a year younger than my first) moved to within a 90-minute drive of me. So much better than the 4 hours it would take before! We’ve already seen each other several times since the move and I’m excited to plan kidless day dates after the holidays settle.
My husband and I are on the same page when it comes to gift giving — which is that we don’t like to give gifts for the sake of giving gifts. It makes it just a tad easier to keep a crazy influx of things coming into our house this time of year.
My husband and I have found some sweet spot timing for avoiding crowds at the grocery store.. before 2pm (when schools let out) and around 4pm (in between when school staff are done shopping and before work gets out). Thank goodness again for working from home so we can take advantage of this.
Both my kids love books and reading. This is one of my favorite bonding times with them. I don’t even mind reading the same book over and over and over. No really, I don’t!
When my 1-year-old grabs my face and presses her open mouth to my cheek. Gotta love toddler kisses!
When my 3-year-old says “I love you and there’s nothing you can do about it!” This is what I say to him, and hearing him say it back gives me hope that he is receiving the message that my love is unconditional.
Comfort fashion is more acceptable in this post-pandemic era.
Isn’t it funny how we can understand the logic of an argument, find no flaw in the argument, and even agree with it, and yet some part of us will not allow us to believe it?
A conflict of brain and heart, one might say. However, contrary to popular depiction, the heart doesn’t have any jurisdiction over our thoughts or emotions. What’s happening is an internal conflict. Brain vs. itself*. We may follow the logic and desperately want to believe in it and yet… there’s something in our past experience holding us back from completely buying in to the argument.
It would be nice if we could readily recall what planted this very well rooted seed of doubt so then we could say, “Oh, oppositional part of my brain, that was an entirely different situation that does not disprove the statement. Allow me to explain why…” Then, the parts of the brain would harmonize and we could continue peacefully on with our life. The End.
Who am I kidding? Even when I can readily list off experience after experience that feeds my beliefs, I can’t reason away this unshakable connection. If anything, the resistant part of my brain presents a cogent counter argument using all of these experiences as evidence. “The original claim must be for a romanticized version of reality, not the one in which I have lived.”
I see you, hesitant brain. I know you have my best interest at heart. We’ve been hurt before. You see some parallels and have suited up to protect us from being hurt again. Thank you for sharing your concerns — I wish you would be more direct instead of speaking in coded riddles, but nevertheless, thank you for sharing them. Thank you for making our safety and survival a priority. So far, so good.
And also…. I think we could live a much more enjoyable life if we could fully buy into the ideas that…
We’re not going to be liked by everyone whose path’s we cross and that’s okay.
Making mistakes is necessary for learning and growth and does not make us a failure.
It’s not lazy to rest. Resting is important for our mental and physical health.
All feelings are okay and valid. We’re allowed to feel however we feel about our experiences without shame regardless of how much worse other people have experienced.
*Note: I wanted to use more precise terms for the reasoning part of the brain and the reactive part of the brain but fell down a deep hole of psychology as defined by the Internet and surfaced without enough confidence or clarity to define these. Frontal vs temporal lobes? Prefrontal cortex vs limbic system? My psychology expert followers, please enlighten me! What terms am I looking for?