You can't heal a Hidden Wound
I love spring in my garden. There is nothing like seeing your plants grow from little seedlings, into huge plants that can feed my family.
But there is one plant that I have decided to give up on forever because I've tried for 5 years to grow it and I can't get it right. Watermelon is so tricky because you literally have no idea what the inside is going to look like until you plunge a knife into it. I know other people get it right, but for me, it was always a gamble if it was ripe or not (99% of the time we got it wrong).
One time we had a watermelon that looked so amazing, and the vine had grown up off the ground onto a small fence. So it was perched there, nestled into a dent it had created, and the vine had grown up around it to secure it there. We figured if it made it to it's full size, it was going to be a great one. It was the perfect color, untouched by pests, and was growing to be huge. After looking at it one evening, I decided that I was going to pull it off the next day.
I bet you can guess what happened. We are not even sure how it fell down that evening, but it did, and after sitting open in the warm air, it was ruined by the stupid bugs. It was the saddest thing ever.
When we go through life never dealing with seriously formative negative stuff in our lives, we are like my precariously perched watermelon. Many of us go through some sort of childhood or life trauma, and we cope in our own ways and then move on. That trauma can be severe enough that it changes our personality, or it changes the way we look at the world.
This isn't always a bad thing. Pro-Athletes, CEOs, and Movers and Shakers are notorious for being driven to succeed by a crappy childhood.
What becomes harmful is the constant self deprecation that occurs because of it. Can you see the possible consequences of the following:
Your mom constantly commented on your weight or appearance and instilled in you that you need to be skinny and beautiful to have value.
You were sexually/verbally/ and emotionally abused and you feel like know one could possibly like the real you.
You were taught that success was the most important thing to pursue, and that second place was never good enough.
You were betrayed and now feel like there is something wrong with you.
You were constantly getting saved from consequences growing up, and now you feel like you don't know how to get what you want.
You experienced death or an unexpected loss and you become scared of this happening again and live in fear.
These feelings don't exactly leave. They burrow inside our subconscious and send out daily reminders to assure that we remember them. And how do you think our body reacts to this? This is seen as form of stress, and we don't need to rehash what stress does to us. We become that watermelon on the fence.
We live in an extremely demanding world that expects us to be fit, successful, beautiful, funny, intelligent, etc. We are told that we have to be these to have value. Our lifestyles, illnesses, and food also add to this stress and all of it becomes a huge load for even the average person. When that load becomes too much for the watermelon people, we are pushed over the edge.
But, we are not lost at this point. Our bodies are remarkable and strong, and want to heal. When we believe that we can change, we can heal. We may not become that same watermelon, but we can plant a new seed and grow to something even better. We need to reprogram what how our body feels and reacts to these things memories, and the methods I will recommend are simple and effective. We will get to those!
But first we need to have a solid list to understand what you are dealing with on a daily basis.
In your journal you are going to make 2 columns.
Column #1 - Daily Stress
Column #2 - How I feel and react
Here is your project of the week. You are going to take 1 day, and notice how you feel throughout the day. Take note of certain times that you feel anxious, stressed, angry, scared, overwhelmed, overly tired, etc. You don't have to write a novel, just write a couple of words to help you remember what situations occurred that made you feel this way.
You can do this for more than one day - My goal is just to create projects that are absolutely obtainable. You can do this for one day!
Now after the 1 day, you are going to choose just one of those situations that you wrote down, and write 3 possible ways we can adjust our reaction to it. If your kids drive you crazy when they are fighting, you could possibly leave the situation and let them handle it, offer quiet and calm consequences, or whatever else you come up with. I am not a psychologist or a family therapist and I don't want to go outside of my scope of expertise here. But I do know that when I go to a therapist, it often involves a lot of questions directed back to me and a lot of self reflection. We often have to come up with our own solutions because we know ourselves best.
I will say that I took a parenting course that was based on the book, "Parenting with Love and Logic" by Foster Cline MD, and Jim Fay, and one of the ideas here is to ignore 97% of the things that your kids do that drive you bonkers. Don't try to over-parent, let them suffer natural consequences, and let them work stuff our between themselves. I do love this concept, but still have a REALLY hard time implementing it in our family. But you are supposed to just work on your reaction (or lack of reaction). Hey baby steps - right?!
PLEASE ONLY CHOOSE ONE. The goal of this program is to take away the crap, and replace it with positive programing. It won't do you any good to overwhelm yourself with a huge list of things to do. And I'm also not expecting perfection. Any effort to improve and calm is going to help your stress levels. Even if you can remember to breathe through it, that will be huge!
This part of the program is extremely important because we cannot possibly tackle the following sections of the program without reducing stress, especially unconscious stress in our bodies. Being aware of why you act the way you act can promote change over time.