Hello, all. This weekend, I was talking to my therapist about my struggles with letting go and moving forward, about focusing on the negative past rather than a possible positive future. I have some thoughts on this and I’m going to share them now in case they help you, too (either the reality of my struggle or the mantra that gets me through). Also, you should know about my doula.
For me, the most common example of how this negative talk manifests is when a couple days go by where I’m not productive with my writing when I absolutely need to be productive. I get obsessed with what I didn’t do and I turn it into only a single possibility: “I can’t write, look at my failures, they prove I can’t write.” Instead, this week, whenever I think this, I am replacing it with imagining the writing finished, a completed project, and a reminder of the many other times I have completed writing projects. A “yes, last week wasn’t what it should have been, but this week you are moving forward. Focus on the finish line” kind of thing.
In that session with my therapist, it reminded me of when I gave birth and the fact that you can replace negative thoughts with positive ones even in the hardest of moments. I didn’t use any drugs while giving birth (which isn’t an opinion of how one should do it, just the reality of my situation) and it hurt like hell, to say the least. I was in the shower, the water turned up so hot that my doula, Melia THE GREAT, was concerned about my skin, and I was on all fours rocking back and forth. I was crying a lot and I would say repeatedly, “I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this.” And every single time I said it (EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.), Melia would say to me, “you are doing it.”
For hours and hours we did this.
“I can’t do this.” “You are doing it.”
And each time she would get through to me, I would have a few seconds (maybe even just one) where I would think to myself, “I am doing this.” And that thought would sustain me for a bit.
In my worst moments over the last 9 years (my son is almost 9!), I have thought in a whole host of moments, “This is unbearable, I cannot do it.” And then I hear Melia in my head: “You are doing it.” And for a few seconds (maybe even just one), I regain some sense of being good enough.
So, this week, my mantra is a bit different. But I’m aiming to replace the negative thoughts of the past with positive imaginings about the future, and remind myself that I have power to do something about it. I will, sometimes, fail at this, too. But then I’ll remind myself to look forward and I’ll try again.
Also, Melia is a rockstar.