I have always rejected therapy (this from a Psych major lol) because I believe that there is no one more self-aware than I. To my credit, my Social Worker at the Transplant Clinic supports that notion as well. Why do I need therapy? I am blessed with a circle of friends that I can always talk to and I can count on them to tell me the truth. Yet, with all of the resources available to me, and despite my manifest blessings, I was continuously spinning down a Rabbithole of negative thought. It is my understanding that I have a fairly significant case of General Anxiety, this revelation can be neatly filed in the “No Shit Sherlock” column. One of the symptoms impacting me is called Rumination, in which I constantly dwell on negative associations. Even the happiness of memories, camping, for example, would immediately trigger the most negative experience I ever had while camping. Such a thought will send me down the drain of feelings of inadequacy and doubting my self-worth. This had become a constant behavior and I can’t believe that it took as long as it did to recognize how bad it was holding me back.
One event that I had been ruminating about is my recent breakup. Months after the end of an intense, yet brief relationship I had been unable to move on. I was hurt, I felt rejected, and I had so many questions because to this day, I really don’t know what happened as it went from great to nothing quickly and in a way that I can’t make sense of. It should be mentioned that I very characteristically assumed that it was my own fault. Because when you are insecure everything is your fault.
Talking to friends wasn’t working. I continued to dwell in despair despite so many good things happening in other areas of my life. So I tried something I had yet to venture into, Podcasts. I searched out Ted talks on grieving, moving on, sadness, rejection, you name it. What I stumbled upon was Mr. Big feet and hands himself…Tony Robbins. He did a series of podcasts dedicated to changing your thinking. I listened to hours of it. I know, to any reader I may have left out there this may be comical because a lot of people think that he is pop fluff. I did as well but the man makes sense.
The takeaways are many but the overall theme is so simple and I can’t believe that I couldn’t do this before. When you experience an emotion, find out where it is coming from and put it into a category in which you can work on it. Find a solution, a new approach, look at it in a different way. Consequently, I took the break-up and asked myself what was really bothering me.
Do I miss her? Not really.
Do I miss the feelings I had when I was with her? Definitely.
Would I take her back if she called tomorrow (unlikely)? Absolutely not, I’m better off without her.
So what is it? I want to know what happened! what did I do?
I realized that I hate not knowing and the harsh reality is that I probably never will. The category to shift that whole series of events to is the category of CONTROL. I am frustrated that I have no control over this. But in a new context, I am able to do just that. I accepted that I cannot control it and told myself to move on.
Because it doesn’t matter. It’s done and can’t be changed.
I then took this mindset and applied it to many other areas of my life in which I have been struggling and it’s always the same thing. By changing my thinking, by diagnosing from where it was coming, and by asking what can actually be done about it I had a further and significantly more powerful revelation; that I am spending way too much energy, at the risk of my own emotional health, on things that I can’t control. Isolating those things that are within my control became easier and I now have sufficient energy to do so.
This happened about 30 years too late but I am excited to see where this takes me.