Where do we start? Let’s start in the deep end…
Disclaimer, I don’t claim to be a psychologist, although, I do feel like I missed a calling. I just know that I have been through hell and I’ve thought my way back. There have been many different circumstances that have taught me the many lessons I have learned, I never gave up, evidence, I am still here. When life threw me into the deep end I always managed to rise up, again.
To get back to the place where life feels joyful from a place where darkness was all that could be seen, is not going to be easy. Let me be the first to tell you, this will not be comfortable. You are going to have to dig deep and face the turmoil head on! I can make you one promise-if you do so, you will rise, too.
It is also important to know that you may even have to prepare yourself for loss. Loss of the person you are today, and the person you have known yourself to be. You may lose “friends” and maybe even family members. You are going to have to set boundaries that some may not like, and for no other reason than you are no longer doing what THEY want you to do. You are going to have to choose to feel good. It may take practice, but it is a choice to choose an uplifting thought over a dreadful thought.
To rise up you are going to have to treat yourself with love and grace. It won’t happen over night, after all you didn’t get to these depths over night. You slowly, gradually fell further and further, and before you knew it, you had lost yourself.
There is going to have to be a shift in the way you think and a shift in perspective.
You are going to have to forgive those who may have contributed to your pain. YES, forgive. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you are saying you accept what that person did to you. Forgiveness is saying you are no longer going to continue to let that person have control over you. Trust me, in my experience, the person that caused you so much pain, isn’t thinking of the pain they caused you. Probably never has. So, the only person you are hurting, holding on to the anger and resentment, is YOU! There is no need for some big announcement to be made to anyone about the forgiveness, it’s just for you. Know this, forgiving someone doesn’t mean you have to invite them back into your life or even hug them at family gatherings. Nothing has to change with how you interact. The change will be inside of you. You will know it’s true if you have to be in the presence of the person whom hurt you, you will not feel anxious, you will feel a complete disconnection. You may even feel empowered!
RISING UP is not something that can be moved into slowly, you have to make the decision and just do it. Work the fear, the pain, whatever it is, over in your mind. Talk yourself into facing it, nothing more can happen to you, it has already happened. To come to terms with it, you have to feel it. You have to sit in it and let it move through your body. Feel it as it moves from your head, to your chest, to your gut, and out your toes. Cry, sob, cuss, scream into a pillow, but don’t try to stop feeling it. (I told you this wasn’t going to be easy). When the process is done, the feelings have moved all through your body and have left you, as if really coming out through your toes. You will feel exhausted and a real sense of lightness. It’s truly AMAZING!
You will have to follow that process for every piece of pain you have. It’s excruciating, I know, but you have to feel your way through it to conquer it. You MUST learn to stop bringing your past into your present. It has already happened, there is nothing you can do to change it. Do what I did, I even learned to feel thankful for the pain that was caused. I am now stronger and more resilient because of it. (Insert Christina Aguilera’s voice, “…thanks for making me a fighter!”) https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/christinaaguilera/fighter.html
I want to teach you to rise up by listening to your internal compass, that feeling in your gut that you may have been pushing down for reasons so many (there is not enough space to list them here). For what ever reason, it is time to hone in on that feeling. It is like a muscle, it may be weak at first, but the more you use it the stronger it will get. This is what is going to guide you as you learn to follow your path, the path to happiness.
Fine, you say, but how do you strengthen it?
In the beginning you are going to question it, maybe you have never really listened to it before. You will need to quiet your thoughts and focus on what your body is feeling. You can practice it with just simple thoughts. Try this, sit still for a few moments, no you don’t have to get into any sort of Buddha pose, just sit quietly in the car as you wait or as you wait for an appointment, and pick two thoughts, a fearful thought and a joyful thought. First, think of the fearful thought, take note of how you feel in your gut, possibly heavy, maybe even a tightening feeling. Then, think of the joyful thought, feel the lightness it brings and notice how your body reacts, you may even notice you sit up taller, or shift in your seat because when you were thinking of the fearful thought you may have subconsciously slumped down or bent over at the shoulders in an attempt to shelter yourself.
When you have a grasp of what it feels like start using it when you are talking to yourself. Yep, all those thoughts you have about how you wish you would stop _______________. (Fill in the blank) Or those thoughts about how much you hate your _________________. EVERYTIME you have one of those thoughts pay attention to how your body feels and what your gut is saying to you, and for every bad thought think of two good thoughts. Even if the only thing you can think of that brings a little lightness to the feeling is that you woke up today. Maybe, you could say, “I have the use of my legs.” Maybe, “I am mostly healthy”, or “I love my pet”. I’m not asking you to go from 0 to 100, I’m just asking you to reach for the next best thought.
From this point on, you are not allowed to think poorly of yourself, replace every poor thought with a better thought. Growth starts with you, it starts in the mind. You create your own reality. To put it simply, what you focus on you get more of. You want to be happier, stop focusing on the sadness, and focus on the joy, and literally, you will be happier.