It arrives like huge waves charging at me at times.
It’s been even more insistent since I have become kinder and more gentle and loving towards myself over the last few years.
Like some kind of regressive urge trying to regain lost ground, ‘no you are not lovable and you don’t deserve much’ it yells at me.
As I drive along, walk in the park, pick out shopping, the thoughts of self doubt and worry thoughts harangue me one by one.
Untrue thoughts that try and pass themselves off as facts for me to believe and cause a lot of stress if I don’t notice them fast enough. They can then propagate into further similar thoughts.
- People don’t like me and that’s because I’m unlovable
- I’m in trouble financially
- I’m bored and tired all the time
- I don’t know where I’m going in life
- I have nothing to do
- All these aches and pains, I’m getting old and it is just going to get worse
- There’s something fundamentally flawed and wrong with me
- Something is wrong
There are more variations on these themes.
What I do when I manage to notice the thought is say, ‘spot the scary thought’, and then let it go gently and promptly. ‘Here’s the inner critic’ and say ‘not now thanks’. Naming it seems to help. ‘Thanks for visiting and now here’s the back door’. Not inviting the thought to stay for tea.
It’s hard going though, very testing. This liking and loving and being a friend to myself is so at odds with everything I thought true. And inside that deep conditioning of being unlovable and unworthy or not enough is triggered easily. I wonder if it ever goes away fully. I’m finding I just have to manage it, be aware and let go.
And it is well backed up in this society with its constant bombardment of advertising telling us we are not good enough. Messages we need to be rich or beautiful to be happy. Constant threatening bad news stories in the news on all kinds of subjects keeps the threat detection system in our brains on high alert.
It’s almost an act of rebellion to be happy! I have a host of resilience building activities that keep me relatively buoyant, but it doesn’t always work.
I struggle to keep my resilience from crumbling. And it does at times when once too many adverse experiences pile up before I have had a chance to recover from the last one.
But the dog still needs walks in the woods twice a day, fed, stroked, played with. A business that I need to keep going. A mortgage to pay. Therapy clients who look to me for help. These obligations are so helpful, they have to be done whether I like it or not.
I’ve been talking about it more openly and it’s interesting to discover that so many many other people are struggling too. We can help and support each other and ourselves at the same time 🙂