I think every person struggles with negative thoughts and behaviors at one time or another, some more than others. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t. I actually have to work pretty hard at keeping negativity at bay and choosing to look at the positive in any given situation.
I have fallen victim to self-defeating habits in my life. I made a decision 3 years ago to stop drinking alcohol. I have just over 3 years of sobriety. It sure took me a long time to realize my coping tool wasn’t working for me the way I believed it was. I fooled myself for many years into thinking I was “managing” my stress when I drank! I wasn’t an everyday drinker, I didn’t have to become a rock bottom drunk to realize I needed to stop, but that didn’t mean my drinking wasn’t destructive.
The sad truth is, alcoholism runs in my family. EVERYONE in my family drank, so in growing up I learned that drinking is how you cope with life. If you’re stressed, DRINK! If you’re happy, DRINK! I used alcohol to cope. In doing so, I didn’t learn how to deal with my emotions very well. In a sense, I stopped growing emotionally once I started drinking. But, what I believe now, is that I was still learning, just learning what didn’t work in my life. I have learned to make peace with my past. It is work in progress. I MADE A CHOICE, I CHOSE POSITIVITY. Alcohol was my way of dealing with negative emotions, it may be different for you. Perhaps it’s gambling, shopping, food, sex or drugs. The truth is there are MANY ways to alter your perception and avoid negative feelings. The good news is, there is a different way to live! We can CHOOSE POSITIVITY, we can reframe those negative feelings and learn from the emotions that are meant to tell us something important.
Since I am relatively new at managing emotions, sometimes I let negativity creep in and I want to nurture it, let it fester. In the past, that would be an excuse to drink, so I would find something to be upset about and feel like I was entitled to a few drinks! And that helped me avoid coping with those wretched feelings. I liked to live in the victim mentality. NOT ANYMORE! I have learned to see that most of my miseries were a direct result of my actions. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been a victim at certain times in my life. Yes, I have been hurt by people I loved and trusted. I had no control over some things that happened to me as a child, it is what it is. As we know, we cannot change the past, but we can change the way we view it!
I am so grateful for the turn my life has taken. In the last few years, I have felt such a sense of peace about all the struggles of my past. Failed marriage, troubled children, losing my parents, abuse, neglect, etc. When I made a decision to face my fears and learn how to process them, it brought me to an amazing place of growth and acceptance! What a great training ground my life has been!
Sometimes though, I have negative thoughts, and I have to make a decision to acknowledge them, find out what the truth is about the present feelings and work through them. What do I have to learn from this? I may need to talk it out with someone, pray, meditate or just wait for those feelings to pass, they always do. I found that REFRAMING is a great way to turn that negative self-talk into positivity. I then release it. Those thoughts can look something like this;
- I am too old to start a new career.
- My health is going to make it impossible to do all I need to do to be successful.
- My Son (who is an addict) is going to die, and then my life will be ruined, I will die of a broken heart.
- My Autoimmune disorder is going to progress, I hate being in pain all the time, LIFE IS SUCH A STRUGGLE!
The negative thoughts could go on and on! They are usually exaggerated. With the power of reframing, I can see the reality, and that looks something like this;
- I am not old, I am experienced! You can get a restart at any time in your life, up until you leave this earthly existence (and then really, that is just another restart!)
- I am healing! I am learning to heal my body through Holistic Measures, and that is a gift, I am now able to help others to heal!
- My Son is alive, and I have no way to know what will happen. He may get sober! He may die. I have no control over what he does. I will survive this. I refuse to dwell on that. I will live in the NOW. I will not bury him in my mind one more time.
- My health is improving, yes I have some pain, but it could be worse, it is getting better, and everyone struggles with one thing or another.
When I am really struggling with my emotions, it is usually due to lack of sleep or lack of structure. My routines that have been put into place for my betterment may be out of balance. It is important to eat Healthy Foods, Sleep, Pray, Meditate, Exercise, Socialize and to get out of SELF, I reach out and help others.
Through my training as a Certified Life Coach and Hypnotherapist, I have developed some amazing tools to help me when it gets a little too heavy. I have found hypnotherapy to be an amazing tool! I can do self-hypnosis, it’s all about calming my mind, releasing my fears. My head can spin out of control if I let it. I am a (mild) type A personality, I like to be in control of things and when things get out of control, I get very uncomfortable.
It has taken me a long time to learn how to CHOOSE POSITIVITY, I am learning to Let go and Let God…It takes practice EVERY DAY! But it is worth it! I am so grateful to be where I am today. I am able to be happy most of the time because I choose to be. I choose to do the work that is necessary to be HAPPY, JOYOUS AND FREE!