Addicted to Our Thoughts…

It has been awhile since I blogged…. I didn’t know what to write.  I didn’t know if anyone actually cared. Believe it or not it was part of my addiction.  Obsessed with “my image” and what people would think.

See, addiction isn’t just about drugs or alcohol.  It is about anything which consumes us – food, people, shopping, sex, love, thoughts and so much more.  I needed to take a break.  I needed to STOP and think about what was important to me.  I needed to decide what I really wanted to do with my life on disability.  Tough decisions but things I had to think about.  Do I have all of the answers?  NOPE!

We are addicted to our thoughts.  We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.

WOW!  I don’t know about you but this quote scares the hell out of me!  Changing my thinking has been the toughest thing at age 62 with 20 months in recovery.  It is a daily process which has affected all areas of my life.  My addition shows up in some of the strangest places….Here are just a few, any of these sound like you?

1.  Comparing ourselves to everyone else, and then competing with them.

It is this kind of thinking which  started my troubles during my relapse.  The grass was always greener on the other side.  I wanted to have what I thought others had.  It is a struggle for me to remember I  don’t have to always be and do what everyone else is being and doing.  I remember my mom saying “if they jumped off a bridge, would you?”  I know that is an extreme but it is the wanting to be liked and to be like everyone else which contributed to my crazy way of thinking.

Now, I try to not compete with others.  I try to compete to be a better version of me. For some, this sounds lame.  Through recovery I am learning to not compare my outside to their picture “perfect” life because you never know what they have been going through.  I mean who doesn’t want to look good on social media or when gathering with friends? I know I am not the only one who struggles with this, right?

2.  Secretly wishing for everyone’s stamp of approval.

This is one of the hardest things as a people pleaser I deal with.  The truth is “we don’t need anyone’s affection or approval in order to be good enough in your own eyes.”  I know, easier said than done sometimes, right?  When someone rejects or abandons or judges you, 99% of the time it isn’t actually about us  WHAT??? You mean I am not the root of all things?  Self-centeredness is for another day.  It’s about them and their own insecurities, limitations, and needs.  “Your worth isn’t contingent upon other people’s acceptance of you – it’s something inherent.   You’re allowed to think things and feel things.  You’re allowed to assert your needs and take up space.  You’re allowed to hold on to the truth who you are is worthy.  And you’re allowed to remove anyone from your life who insists on making you feel otherwise.”  These are the things I am working on every day.

3.  Being more loving to others than we are to ourselves.

Here comes the people pleaser in me.  I want everyone to be happy, so I will make myself miserable to see it happen.  I have been told I am self-centered because of my addiction.  Truth be told “I don’t always get it”.  The result of those words though has created the struggle of being able to love myself without thinking I am self-centered.  If this is you, you are not alone.  “There’s absolutely nothing selfish about self-care.  If you don’t take good care of yourself then you can’t take good care of anyone else.  Because we can’t give what we don’t have.  Treat yourself right and you’ll be life-giving to others.”  This is one of my BIGGEST struggles.

4.  Dreaming of what could have been, or should have been.

Letting go of the shoulda, coulda, woulda is tough for me.  The inner gremlins have a field day on bad days.  Letting go and turning things over is a daily (sometimes hourly process).  I have learned (most days) before you can truly LIVE today, a part of you has to die first.  I have to let go and bury the what could have been if I never relapsed.  I (neither can you) can’t change the past, or the outcomes from our choices.  The best thing we can go is: Let go.  Forgive.  Be present and free.  Just for Today.

Are you struggling with any of these things?   You are not alone!  Many of us are right there with you, working hard to feel better, and leave a life free of addiction (all types).  The bottom line is it’s never too late to take a step in the right direction.  It’s never too late to break free and become the person you are capable of being.  Addictions of all kinds CAN be beaten!

I’m not sure if anyone needed this but it was on my heart this morning…

Have a blessed day!

Thankful Thursday: Expectations

Expectations is defined in the dictionary as “a belief someone will or should achieve something“.  I actually like the NA definition better “Expectations are premeditated resentments”.

Do you have expectations of yourself or others?  I will admit, I have lots of them.  I am working on getting rid of them because they really are the stepping stone for resentment and anger.  So, why then would I be grateful for expectations, right?  Because having them allows me to learn and grow…

imagesLet’s start with the expectations we have for ourselves.  If you are like me, they are pretty high and as a result, I seldom reach the level of perfection I expect of myself.  I know, no one is perfect BUT don’t we set those milestones for ourselves.  Thinking we can handle everything, juggling all the balls in the air – motherhood, work, life, and whatever else comes our way.  The word “NO” seldom escapes from our lips because we “expect” we will be able to everything.  Self expectations allow my inner gremlins to have a field day in my head. Expectations  of others  leaves  me  feeling  frustrated,  angry  and disappointed.  Whether it is business or in love, setting expectations whether they be realistic or not is a setup for disaster.  If  the  words  would  of,  could  of  or  should  of  are  part  of  sentence,  I know I am  in  trouble.

Whether you grew up in a house with demanding parents or would strive every day to meet someone else’s expectations,  somewhere along the way, you lost what it was like to be kind to yourself.  You became a slave to expectations and now it is time to change and be kind to YOU!

#1: Change How You Treat Yourself

I know it is easier said then done.  I’ve been there and on some days am still there.  Can’t imagine being nice to yourself – why not begin by expressing kindness to someone or something you love such as a pet (or a someone special).  Easy right?  Don’t you deserve the same treatment? Try this mantra:

May I be filled with loving-kindness. May I be held in loving-kindness. May I realize loving-kindness as my essence.

OR write one of your own.  Then practice saying it.  Start by repeating it for thirty seconds. Embrace the feelings the words invoke.  The longer you can embrace these feelings, the quicker you’ll reap the benefits.  Start and end your day with these to see what a difference in makes in your life.

#2: What You Say Limits You

Maybe on the surface, you are being nicer to yourself, but deep down the inner gremlin is judging you.   It’s true – we judge, and we label, sometimes without even realizing it. What we do to other people is the same thing we do to ourselves.

So every time you have a negative label for someone, come up with at least six different reasons that would stop the label.  It isn’t easy.  The truth is if you can be less judgmental toward other people, you can do the same for yourself.

#3: What You Say Can Belittle You

When was the last time you said “How can I be so stupid? ” or, “OMG what a screw-up! Could I not make a bigger mess of things? ” or, “Why do I do this to myself? I’m such an idiot!”  This is all about not meeting your own personal expectations and how you react.

Despite my best efforts, my inner gremlins love beating me up for every mistake, failure, or setback, real or imagined. Then a little angel voice screams, “Not being very kind to yourself, are you?”

SMACK!  The reality hits nothing is a total failure. There is always something to be positive about.  Find it in whatever the situation is.  Replace those harsh words with positive thoughts.  By doing so,  you will change those demanding expectations.

These small changes are so powerful.  They help you stop being a victim of your own expectations and allow you to  treat yourself kinder.  You realize judging other people is so closely aligned with the labels and limitations we put on ourselves.  Seeing the positives in what may appear as a failure will allow you to cut yourself some slack.

Change is hard!  Changing behaviors are challenging.  The truth is,  if I can do this, you certainly can!

It all begins with a practice taking less than a minute, six times a day showering yourself with loving-kindness.

It’s easy to start. It’s easy to do. Just repeat after me:

“May I be filled with loving-kindness. May I be held in loving-kindness. May I realize loving-kindness as my essence.”

Have a blessed day!

10 Facts Every Woman Should Know

Thank you to a fellow Thirty One sister who shared these!  As many prepare for another night of celebrating, be sure to remember these things:

1. Everyone has rolls when they bend over.

2. When someone tells you you’re beautiful, believe them. They aren’t lying.3. Sometimes we all wake up with breath that could kill a goat.4. For every woman unhappy with her stretch marks is another woman who wishes she had them.

5. You should definitely have more confidence. And if you saw yourself the way others see you, you would.

6. Don’t look for a man to save you. Be able to save yourself.

7. It’s okay to not love every part of your body….but you should.

8. We all have one friend who seems to have it all together. The woman with the seemingly perfect life. Well, you might be THE woman to someone else.

9. You should be a priority. Not an option, a last resort, or a backup plan.

10. You’re a woman. It alone makes you pretty damn remarkable.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Don’t Worry – Be Happy

Did you start humming the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”?  I do every time I see or hear this line.  Have you ever wanted some of the “pink kool-aid” people who are alway happy take?  You must know someone who always seems to be happy, I have one or two people I know like that.

When I am not having a MS flare up (of the depression kind), I am pretty much a happy go lucky kind of gal.  Yes, I have times of sadness, anger, frustrate – don’t we all? I mean if we didn’t have a variety of emotions we would be “like a wet noodle” or a “block of stone”.

I will be the first to admit, on days when depression hits I enter a black hole where there sees to be no way out.  It can last for an hour, a day, a week and sadly there are times when it can last for longer.  You know those times when even the simplest word will make you cry.  Key the song “Cry Me a River”. LOL.  Thank you to “Modern Day Girl” for inspiring this post.

1. They don’t dwell on the past.

I know I do especially on a bad day.  The shoulda, coulda, woulda kick in and the path into the black hole gets deeper.  What happens when you start with the stinkin’ thinkin’? Things get worse instead of better, right?

So how do you stop yourself from dwelling on the past? Remember “It takes 21 days to make or break a habit”.  So you need to change your mindset.  Your mind is a powerful thing and you can control how you think, and it’s not hard either.  When you focus on the here and now, it becomes easier to get rid of the old bad habits.

FIRST, recognize you’re dwelling on past situations. I know, easier said then done.  When you spend time being more aware of your thoughts, it is easier to change your mindset. Like a new habit, once you start it becomes easier over time.  When you’re aware you are dwelling on thoughts of the past, you can work on ignoring them, or replacing them with focus on the here and now.

2. They focus on the here and now

When you get rid of the thoughts from your past, you can dwell more on the here and now.  I have been told meditation helps and will teach you how to focus on your breathing and what is around you.  I haven’t mastered this yet but I haven’t given up.    Here are some ways meditation and yoga (still need to try this) can help:

  • When you’re focusing on the past, you’re distracted.
  • We miss moments in our lives which may have been the happiest.
  • When we let our thoughts control us , we feel unbalanced
  • When we’re aware of our surroundings, we feel more empathetic towards others, have high self-esteem, and can reduce impulsivity (reducing mental health issues – Psychologytoday.com)

So, if meditation and yoga aren’t for you, find a way to focus on the here and now.  Journal your thoughts.  Take a few minutes to “zone” out.  I like to sit outside and watch the clouds float by, imagining it is all of my past floating away.  I guess my own form of meditation.

3. They recharge

Recharging is something we all need to do.  For happy people, it is part of the every day life.  Not sure what this means? Well, it means different things to different people. Think about what you like to do in your spare time? I know, what spare time, right?  I’ve been there.  The truth is having a chronic disease has helped to me identify when I need to recharge.  It is usually a SMACK but I am learning to stop and rest.  Maybe one of these will work for you:

  • A good book and a cup of coffee
  • A nap
  • Exercise of some kind
  • Drawing
  • Writing/scribbling
  • Painting
  • Spending time in a spa
  • Eating chocolate in front of the TV
  • Pretty much anything that makes you happy

The truth is, we live our lives in overdrive, always rushing to the next thing.  Our bodies need time to relax and recharge. How happy are you when your schedule is jammed full with no time for fun?  Probably not very, right?

If you feel like you don’t have time for yourself, make time. I know it’s hard, believe me I get it.  I was a single mom working full-time but you need to schedule time.  Maybe when the kids are napping, grab the book you’ve been meaning to read. Or on your lunch break at work – read your favourite magazine (whether online or paper).

Happy people value their time and know cultivating happiness is important.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Listen and Be Still

tulips

Listen, be still and wait,

You’ll hear all kinds of things:

A moth up on the windowpane,

Whir of birds on the wing.

Listen, be still and hear

The language of the wildflowers.

Be serene and patient; wait

For new sounds every hour.  – Mami Oaburn Odum

These are the words I needed to hear this morning because I forget to LISTEN and BE STILL.  My mind is always racing 100 miles ahead of where I am – letting moments pass by, letting frustration creep in, and worse of all letting Negative Nellie and Doubtful Debbie land for even a moment.  Patience has never really been a strong point for me.

The last few weeks have been a struggle, I have found myself undergoing a range of emotions or should I say reactions which are not always pleasant.  I can be down right mean sometimes – yes, it happens.

I have asked Hubby to point it out to me when it happens.  Okay, I didn’t say it was the best decision but with brain fog happening more and more – I need someone to help me remember.   Just the other day.  We were having a great morning when all of a sudden – this gray cloud came over me and I was “snappy”.  I know hard to believe, right?  LOL.  I actually found myself stopping for a moment , keeping QUIET and saying the Serenity Prayer.  Within an hour – gray cloud gone and sunshine prevailed for the rest of the day.  I so which I could understand why the gray could comes out of no where.  I don’t know where they come from BUT I do know what makes them go away – listening to and signing my favorite songs, asking God for help instead of demanding help; keeping quiet, appreciating my surroundings and being grateful for all of the many blessings God has given me.

I find myself having one sided conversations with God (or anyone else who will listen) and then when I need to BE STILL, I become impatient because I want an answer NOW!  My time, not God’s time.

So JUST FOR TODAY in a day filled with activity, I will make sure I take a few moments to BE SERENE, BE STILL and LISTEN.  I have a dream and goals but I need to know if they are the same as what God has in store for me.  The only way to know is to LISTEN.  Get off the computer. Avoid the IPAD.  Get away from the phone.  UNPLUG, communicate with people, LISTEN and watch for the doors that God is opening for me.

Will you unplug with me and PLUG into God’s beauty which surrounds us?  What are you thankful for today?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!