I am currently reading a book called Emotional Gravity by Angela de Souza. It is an excellent book, and although I have only just started the book, I can sense that I am already benefiting from the book. In it, she speaks about (well, what I have read thus far) how to train your mind, your emotions and your thoughts to be positive and not to focus on the negative. She speaks about how you need to look at the reasons for why you feel the way you do – forgive who you need to forgive and move on. And in moving on, you will sometimes have the old negative feelings and thoughts creeping through, you need to distract yourself and continually train your mind on what is positive and good.
She uses the example of a woman who grew up in a household where her father abused her mother, and totally belittled her. Her father would have numerous “girlfriends” and as a result, this woman grew up very insecure concerning her relationships with men. And even though she now has a husband who loves and adores her and is faithful to her, her insecurities rise up and mess in her marriage. She is suspicious of her husband, and constantly fights with him about his “flirting” with other women. She needs to realise where her insecurity comes from, and start training her mind to see her husband as he really is – someone who loves her and is faithful to her. It is this training of the mind that is so difficult, because all the negative and old insecurities can come creeping though at any moment. It is almost like being an alcoholic, in that you always have to be constantly aware of what can creep through to your conscious mind and you need to squash it out immediately. If you’re not attending to the roses in your garden, weeds will creep through without you even seeing them. You have to be vigilant.
I have been teased and ridiculed for being skinny my whole life and my parents would take me to a psychologist for being anorexic, and then moan at me the very next day for eating some cake because I’d get fat. My issues now with weight loss and being scared to lose weight stems directly from my childhood. However, I need to realise where my insecurity comes from, and then forgive my parents and all those who teased me and then comes the difficult part – train my thoughts, emotions and feelings to react positively. So, when someone compliments me and tells me I have lost weight, instead of reacting with fear and anxiety, I react positively and graciously and simply say, “Thank you.” That is what I need to train my mind, heart and thoughts to do. If I’m going to constantly think I’m going to have a meltdown when someone tells me I’ve lost weight, well then, that is exactly what I can expect to happen. However, if I train my mind and my emotions to be positive – even roll playing here could help – and to react graciously, then when someone tells me I have lost weight, I can actually take that as a compliment. Make sense?
Well, and now we get to my epiphany…
I was wondering where all my anxiety and fear came from, especially concerning my marriage. Well, the home environment that I grew up in was stressful and full of anxiety and if I had $ 1 for every time my parents threatened divorce or I heard that they’re only staying because of me (not my brothers, just me) I’d be a pretty wealth woman today. That is a lot of pressure for a young child – especially a shy and insecure child as is – to handle. So, all I knew growing up was this anxiety and stress (do not get me wrong, there were some good times, but they were totally overshadowed by this constant stress and anxiety). And that is all I know now. Now, I need to forgive my parents, and myself, and move forward. And start training my mind to think positively and manage all those “weeds” in my rose garden – I am not my mother. Nor is my husband my father. And we live in a relatively peaceful home – this is not the home of my childhood. And I need to keep training my mind; my thoughts and my emotions to think along those lines, until the anxiety of the past and the stress of my childhood no longer have any effect on me.
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body…
It is too intriguing and thrilling to look at the poster on the left – the force of the negative emotions keeps drawing you back. Looking at the poster on the right, gives me freedom that I cannot yet fathom, nor understand. And negative emotions are so powerful, that I am instinctually drawn to the poster on the left. The one filled with anxiety, panic and negativity. Oh, how I long for the freedom to just walk to the poster on the right and be filled with peace, love, calmness, power and a sound mind.
Today is a bit of battle. You see, I have two anxiety triggers, there are other minor ones but these two can set me off at any time. The first is my marriage – you see, I grew up in a home that had lots of fighting and ugliness, with both my parents threatening divorce as early as I can remember. I lived in that environment for 30 years before they finally did split up (just after I got married). And ever since our daughter was born, the anxiety regarding my marriage has increased ten-fold. You see, I love this man, but I play these mind games – what if I don’t love him, what if he doesn’t love me, what if, what if, what if… When I know – in my heart of hearts, I know that I love him and will never leave him, and want to spend the rest of my life with him. And yet, I still play these games with myself. And you know the result? Well, anxiety and panic. You see, it is much easier to keep looking at the poster on the left. It’s what I’ve inadvertently trained myself to do my whole life. When I can and am able to draw away and look at the poster on the right, I feel great, our relationship goes well, I eat well but then, lurking in the back of my mind are these thoughts that explode into my consciousness, and before I am even aware of it, I find myself gazing longingly at the poster on the left.
My other trigger is eating. When you come from such a stressed filled background, drowned in anxiety and stress, I grew up not eating a lot. Meal times were never pleasant and I am not the type of person to eat under stress – and we were always under stress. We always had this burden of a strained marriage and the pressure of trying to keep things normal (even though we could not articulate that in words when so young). The result was that I was terribly skinny and was teased so much for being skinny, and then your mother taking you to a doctor for anorexia when you have never been on a diet on your life, kind of makes your relationship to food and weight not a healthy one. You see, I had anxiety back then due to the background I grew up in but everyone – even the doctors – looked at the outward appearance and treated me for an eating disorder that I never had. I grew up in a shitty home, with a shitty home life – that was what needed to be looked at. I needed coping skills to cope with the stress and anxiety of what I grew up with. However, now, the whole concept is so messed up in my head, I can’t tell it apart – the anxiety automatically goes with eating/not eating and not eating/eating goes with anxiety. All goes so nicely hand-in-hand…
And these two triggers are so inexplicably linked now. I need to disassociate the two.
I suppose it’s like training for the Iron Man when you’ve never run, walked or cycled in your life. If I have trained my whole life to be focus on the negativity and anxiety, and I’m only now learning HOW to give a voice to these feelings, then I’m not suddenly going to wake up tomorrow and be all positive. I need to train my mind, thoughts, emotions, spirit, subconscious mind, etc to do this – and soon all I will be able to look at is the poster on the right. But, it takes about a year to start from nothing and to train to do a full Iron Man – that is a 3.8 kilometre swim, a 180-kilometre cycle, followed by a 42-kilometre run. Actually, I would say it would take about 18 months if you have never done exercise in your life before – hubby took about a year to train, and he is a seasoned athlete who had been cycling and running quite extensively, (he had to start swimming from scratch).
So, I am estimating now, but I would guess it would take even longer to train your mind. Reading the right books and constantly being aware of focusing on the positive are tools you can use to help you train your mind. Prayer also helps, and reading and watching feel-good movies (as opposed to scary thrillers that get the adrenaline flowing), and watching what and how you speak.
So, I guess I can’t be too hard on myself just yet. I just find it odd, on Tuesday I was praying and thanking God that I’ve finally reach the point in my life when I can wake up in the morning and feel so grateful for the life I’ve got, for my hubby and daughter, and ever since then I’ve been battling now to do just that. Odd.
And perhaps all this is coming out now because of all the stress and pressure surrounding our daughter’s birth – which is for another post.
And perhaps I should’ve called this blog, “Peaceful Motherhood” – just perhaps…
Definition: Stress is the body’s reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental or emotional adjustment or response.
Stress can come from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, nervous, or anxious.
Stress is caused by an existing stress-causing factor or “stressor.”
Dealing with a serious illness or caring for someone who is can cause a great deal of stress.Also Known As: distress