Pick your poison: anxiety, anger, boredom, doing the same self-sabotaging things over and over again. You log out of Facebook because you’re bored. Five minutes later, you log back in because…you’re bored. Speaking of which…Do you want to make money from Facebook? It’s easy. Just go to your Account setting, deactivate your account, and go to work. Lol. But seriously, how can we ever heal from those unwanted compulsions or obsessions? Believe it or not, you become less sad or anxious by deciding you wish to be a person who is less sad and anxious. Where, oh where, do we begin?
How about we start with being a calmer, less critical, egotistic, or self-abusive person? I know what you’re thinking: Sure, easier said than done; and by the way how is it even done? The secret is with our minds, sweet friends. Nothing can cause more emotional trouble, even torture, than our precious minds. Would you serve yourself a hot slice of pizza with every imaginable topping that you hate? I didn’t think so. So why are you allowing yourself to wallow in thoughts that do not serve you in any way?
Instead of taking a helping of that self-pity casserole you made, top off that slice with some onions, extra cheese, or mushrooms, if you please. Slap on some olives or even pineapple, or heck – just go for that plain, melted cheese, gooey, hot slice. I mean is there a better feeling in the world than a warm pizza box on your lap? Or use my cooking rule: If at first you don’t succeed, order pizza. Heh. I know, you want to start juicing; but you don’t know how to juice pizza.
Well, while you’re at it, don’t play along with the very human tendency to wallow in self-pity or fear. Think positive, strengthening thoughts. Choose one aspect of your personality you wish to work on and ask yourself: What thoughts and which actions will help make this happen?
In this life, you can try to dodge heartache, but sometimes it simply finds you – ready or not. We need to learn to honor our pain, instead of trying to “get over it” before we even process it. Instead of waiting around for a miracle, we may have to create one ourselves. Seek comfort in your loved ones, in prayer, or meditation if that soothes your soul. Please do not allow your pain or suffering to define you or shape your world. Sometimes it comes down to what you do with what’s been done to you.
Most of us process our external lives with our minds. We seek meaning and attach stories to happenings. These are, of course, influenced by past experiences and perceptions. But can you try to listen with your heart at times? When the answers aren’t wrapped in logic and details, you may just be tuning in to your heart. The voice you hear is not only kind to you, but to those around you, as well.
And don’t forget when listening to your friends or loved ones, give them the emotional right-of-way sometimes. Let them share, and please try not to defend yourself or justify your actions. Remember, your mouth does not come equipped with a backspace key. So listen generously, without advice at times. Nothing feels as good as actually feeling heard. Be mindful when referring to people as “better or worse” or “right or wrong.” We cannot always judge impartially.
Can’t heal from bad memories? Remember, sweet friends: A thought or someone else’s opinion has no power unless you give it some. You may not be able to forget, and you certainly don’t want to ignore your emotions. But indulging them for all eternity doesn’t seem like the remedy, now does it? Please stop recycling bad memories over and over again in your mind. Why keep poking at those bruised and tender places inside of you? And you know what they say: If you really want your friends to remember you, give them something cheap. Heh.
Defining yourself by things that embitter you is like wearing clothes that just do not fit. Take them off, for mercy sake. Speaking of which: Never underestimate the power of a good outfit or great suit on a bad day.
Bear this in mind, my friends: When you heal a part of yourself; you are healing a part of the world.
Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens. She works with individuals, couples, and families. Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends. She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at Safehavenhealing@gmail.com or at facebook.com/pages/Safe-Haven-Healing.