As I walked down the stairs, my eyes went directly to it. It had freakin’ happened again.
By itself, it wasn’t a huge deal, something had been left out, left on or left open. But it was the culmination of all the other times. It felt like the hundredth, millionth time. Again? Really, again?
My heart was pounding. The muscles in my back and shoulders tightened. My breathing became shallow.
They don’t listen to me. I tell them over and over and over again and it is like I don’t exist. I was just the automaton that cooked, cleaned, shopped, drove and cheered at the appropriate times. If they didn’t need me for something specific, I became invisible.
And then my brain was off and running, triggering the same track that had been playing for years–everything that I had given up, everything that I had sacrificed. I adopted these kids, left my career and this was the thanks I got? Was this what raising kids was all about? Boy, what a racket.
I was so angry inside. So resentful. It could rear its ugly head at the smallest infraction. And how did I let it out? By trying to control everyone and everything around me even more.
As you might guess, being more controlling was certainly not the answer. All it did was cause my problems to grow roots. I was in a serious negative spiral. Life felt heavy and difficult and I couldn’t even begin to see my way out of it. I was wearing rage colored glasses.
If you had told me during that time to “just be happy”, I think I would have punched you in the face.
I could see nothing to be happy about. I felt like an island. My kids didn’t listen, my husband didn’t understand, I felt like the world was conspiring against me and to top it all off, I had to pretend to everyone around me that life was peachy.
How did I get out of it? It was a journey. And I want to be clear that the beginning of that journey was not about being mindful or meditating or doing yoga. It wasn’t looking on the bright side or seeing the glass half full. It wasn’t just pretending to be happy.
Before I got to any of those things (and please don’t get me wrong– they all have their place) I had to dive deep into my own situation. I had to really face up to where I was in my life, the choices I had made to get myself there and the fact that I needed to be 100% responsible for my own happiness.
Up until that time I had depended upon the world and especially those close to me to validate my worth. To feel good, I needed to be loved, appreciated and acknowledged.
As any mother knows, those accolades can be in very short supply during the 24/7 years of child rearing. Time, money and sleep are all very hard to come by. If you and your spouse have any time together it is usually centered around the kids or logistical conversations about family plans.
We were lucky to get a shower in at all, no less showering each other with love. But since I had been so conditioned to need and expect that kind of attention, life became a challenge.
I think it is really important for you to know that when you are at a low point like I was, positive thinking is like putting a band aid on a gushing wound. It does little to nothing and is not addressing the real issue.
Once you make some progress; once you get a handle on your real issues and how they are showing up in your life; once you have some strategies in place and you are starting to see a difference–THAT is when gratitude and mindfulness can start to help.
There is true positivity and then there is pretending to be happy while suppressing all the real stuff going on inside of you.
And it’s not hard to tell if you are in the pretending zone. Are you angry a lot? Depressed? Anxious? Constantly worried? Do you have road rage? Do you sometimes lose it over the smallest thing and then wonder where the heck that outburst came from? Do you take everything personally? Do you sometimes feel like you hate the world?
These are all indicators that you have unresolved hurts and disappointments. That you have unmet needs and that you are not feeling as good about your life as you could.
My journey has been about dealing with that control issue I mentioned. In almost every area of my life I have had to examine what I could and couldn’t control. By letting go of the need to be in charge of everyone and everything, I have gained a tremendous amount of peace and happiness. And I no longer look to others to make me happy–that is my job.
What is the thing that is holding you back?
Whatever it is, please don’t cover it up with a plastic smile and words that may sound good, but don’t feel at all authentic. Please don’t think that faking it ’til you make it is going to be a long term answer.
Dive deep. Look at the things that are keeping you stuck and unhappy.
Face your issues head on–they are not as scary as you think and the only way out is through.
And the other side? It is true magic. And when you get there, positivity is easy peasy.
You know that I am here to help you with this. I’ve done it myself and have helped dozens of women just like you. Hit contact in the upper right hand corner for your complimentary Discovery Call if you are ready for things to finally be different.
In order to change your life, you must first change your mind