Approximately one million* times a day, I start a sentence to myself with, "You should've ____! Everything will be terrible!"
*okay fine it's closer to 20...but it feels like a million 🙂
Fill in the blank:
- woken up earlier
- exercised immediately upon waking up
- eaten the healthier option
- lost 30 lbs
- written 20+ blog posts
- deep cleaned my office
- made my website perfect
- written an entire novel
- won a Grammy
- been born perfect and had a perfect life
Ugh. You name it, I have beaten myself up about it. Talk about frustrating. I mean, really?--THAT'S the way I'm going to talk to myself all freaking day? No wonder I don't get anything done and sit frozen in anxiety and indecision. My boss (me) is a serious you-know-what.
Something I work on frequently with my therapist is reframing my nervous, anxious, regretful, or angry thoughts. I frequently tell her, "Dianne [her name's Dianne], tomorrow is going to be terrible."
She simply replies, "Okay. But: what if it's not?"
"Okay. But: what if it's not?"
Wait a minute.
So you're telling me that instead of a constant barrage of "You should've done this thing! You are terrible and will never be good enough!" I could actually look that voice square in the face and say, "Okay. But what if I'm not terrible? What if I am good enough?"
Okay, I can see you getting ready to run out of here, so I'm going to have you try it right now, silly goose. Guess what, I'm serious! You don't even have to say anything out loud.
What is one thing your brain is yelling at you about right now? Maybe it's: "I should get off the computer! I never do the right thing. I'll never organize my closet. I'm a failure."
Okay brain, fine. But what if: I do? What if: I will? What if: I'm NOT a failure?
The moment you take to reframe the ugly mean thought, the 5 seconds it takes to say this to yourself, your whole body may instantly feels lighter. You might imagine yourself with the task done, enjoying your progress, feeling like you're right where you're supposed to be. You might remember how constantly beating yourself up is only a bad habit, one that can be curbed. And since we're retraining ourselves, your brain may quickly take you back to the ugly place--but the good news is, you don't have to stay there. You can reframe as often as you need.
Example: I'm terrified as I type, thinking "This blog post is garbage. I am a terrible failure. What I say is not important."
But what if it's not garbage?
What if I'm not terrible failure?
What if what I say helps someone?
We feel called to do the things we love, right? We are not garbage. Maybe we've had setbacks, but they don't make us complete failures. What we do helps each other, and ourselves. I hear your inner voice telling you RIGHT NOW, "She's a liar."
But. What if I'm not?
Let me know in the comments!
What are you struggling with? What untrue but impossible-to-stop thoughts are running through your brain? Let's get them out where they can't hide (muahahaha)! Comment below!
More About Katie and Calming Creative
Hi, I’m Katie, and it’s my mission to help anxious creative souls practice with joy and encouragement, because I believe creativity is not “one size fits all”. You deserve to be nurtured in a way that's authentic to you and exactly where you are in your life.
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