Last Friday I drove by my neighborhood school and the marquee stated, “Beautification day is cancelled”. What? How could they do that? I was really amazed at my reaction.
Now I don’t have a clue what type of project was planned but it got “my dern thinker ah thinkin”. Why did it get cancelled? Why wasn’t beautification a priority?
One of the many gifts of “growing up and older” is that you realize self-beautification is the key to mastering a happy life. I am not talking about Botox and wearing fancy labels. That would be too easy! I am talking about making the commitment to do whatever you need to do in order to shine from within.
Beautification is shedding the clutter surrounding your heart that fertilizes negative thinking.
It is deciding to let go of what no longer fits, whether that be people, clothing, a job or a habit.
Beautification cannot be outsourced.
Recently I’ve been feeling so much sadness that frankly I worried I may be headed into a depression. But stop the presses! I came to realize that this sadness was different; very different than my time in the DARK PIT. When I was clinically depressed, my brain was mush and there was on ocean between my reality and the real world.
Today my active brain is acknowledging the sadness then reshaping or shedding the thought that creates the sadness. The sadness is in a loading zone—no long term parking allowed!
I’ve never had the courage to sit with uncomfortable feelings. Who wants to do that? Wade through disappointment, jealousy, doubt and fear? I would rather do just about anything else so I became quite comfortable over-scheduling myself or just stuffing those feelings for a later date. With the help of my support posse, I have developed a method I would like to share with you. If you really like it, please send cookies.
- Hello there [insert thought here]. Where do you come from? It is like meeting someone new and asking them where they live.
- [Thought speaks].
- How can I change this thought from a negative one into a positive one?
- Or is it such a useless thought that I can just let it go? (no re-gifting please)
For example, my “X” repeatedly called me the N-word; NEEDY. Sadly, I believed him. I told myself if I were smarter, stronger and worked harder, I could overcome my neediness. Well, thank goodness the cray cray fog has lifted!! I turn that negative thought to a positive one like this:
Although he says I am needy, I simply want to feel connected to that stupid Mother Fucker. It is a basic human need.
By the way, the thought doesn’t have to come from someone else. It could be your critical voice speaking to you. Same method applies! And don’t forget, if you like this, please send...
You can always tell how out of control my life feels by the number of organizing projects I complete in a week. For instance, there is something intensely satisfying after I clean my desk drawer, delete useless computer files or organize a closet. It is only Saturday night (yes, I chose to stay home and clean!) and I’ve run out of things to organize while chaotic worries jump around in my brain. Tomorrow I am going to move to my “creative projects” like the amazingly funky dresser I bought for $15. Once I clean it up and paint it, I’ll move it into my home office – then I can re-organize for another full day!
I joke with my therapist saying how good my silverware drawer looks after an emotional week. Organizing my silverware drawer is a technique I use when my emotions are spiraling out of control. I line up the forks, spoons and knives in pretty fashion and ten minutes later they lie there like little compliant soldiers. Whatever was bothering me seems long gone. You may call this crazy but I don’t care — it’s simple and it works.
I can’t control the people and situations in my life but I can control the heck out of my flatware!
I’ll never forget the time a doctor suggested I take advantage of a cognitive behavior therapy program for depression and anxiety at a local medical school. Yes, a class on depression – for depressed people. At first I resisted because I could think of nothing more depressing, than sitting around with other depressed people. After all, I can just organize something to feel better!
Sarcasm aside, this class turned out to be a pivotal learning experience and I am ever so grateful to have participated. Out of respect to the others in the group, I will not share any details from our discussions. I will however tell you that I have the highest respect and regard for my classmates and the courage they displayed over the six week period.
Getting by with a little help from my friends, the “FRIENDS” being a few techniques I learned in my class and continue to incorporate into my life. I have limited my list to 5 because frankly, I have a hard time remembering more than 5 things at a time!
1. Pleasure Principle (I bet that got your attention!) Think of a teeter totter with the end on the ground holding your negative thoughts, your problems, and anything that is difficult. On the side up in the air, start to fill the seat with “pleasure providing” activities which begin to balance out the heavy side.
For instance, if I need to have a discussion about our divorce with the X, I make sure I have several fun things planned around that discussion to help minimize the pain (and his toxicity). If it is time for those lovely monthly/quarterly reports, I write from my favorite place (the library) and I reward myself with something...