Out Of (My) Control

I sat in my therapist’s office, legs and arms crossed, ready to get down to the business of ‘my life’. For some reason, I felt very irritable and almost argumentative on this day. . . restless. We spent most of the session following up from last week on the topic of selfish versus self awareness. Toward the end of our time, I was finding it really difficult to understand what she was asking me or to connect to what she was suggesting.

I was continuing to get stuck on the point of “that is mean and selfish”. She would ask me something and I would say, “that is mean and selfish”. She said,  “something is pulling you away from the truth and telling you that you are being ‘mean and selfish'”.

Really, all I could do was to cry. There is a very real inner voice that tends to be critical and negative and mean. It was not until the minute that she asked me about my critical voice that I realized many things in my life are out of control right now. I was able to discern in that moment that my inner voice is loudest when things in my life feel out of control.

When my life gets chaotic, I have running-thank God. In addition, (when life gets chaotic) I also have a critical inner voice. Is my inner critic loudest when several things in my life are out of my control? Why? Do I tend to overeat/eat poorly when things are out of control and then, my inner critic becomes loud? Does my inner critic encourage me to eat whatever I want because I ‘deserve it’ or because it will ‘make me feel better’, THEN, turn on me and call me fat and ugly for eating too much?

I’m very good at putting on a brave face. My internal struggle is just that, internal. There are many times as a coach, mother, wife, daughter, neighbor, friend that I put my thoughts/feelings to the side. It can be like I step into a different skin.

I did not realize, until this particular therapy appointment how my inner critic has turned the bull horn up in my head. I did not realize how many things I am juggling, with the assumption that I am controlling my life well. I did not realize how truly out of control so many different parts of my life were/are at the moment. The simple act of acknowledging that I have no control of several things in my life, muffled the bull horn.

After my appointment, I sat down and made a list of very specific things that I have absolutely no control over right now. Once I made the list and read it a few times, it helped to make sense of my behavior. It brought to light the places where my inner critic was encouraging me to ignore the realities, and it helped me to see where my inner critic was driving me to destructive behavior that it would shame me for in the end. Writing this list brought me out of my head.

  BECAUSE I care about people. BECAUSE being kind and unselfish is something I value. BECAUSE I have much to be thankful for. BECAUSE I am blessed with freedom and joy.  My Critical Inner voice chooses to attack me saying, “you are being mean and selfish”. “Mean and selfish” is new. “Mean and selfish” has become louder and louder and louder, as I have decided to speak up for myself and be brave for myself.

It takes courage to speak up for myself, courage to stand up for myself, courage to stop putting myself second.  There is a real fear of what might happen IF I DO stand up for myself, so I choose to accept behaviors from people rather than confronting those behaviors. I have no control over another person’s reaction.

Our deep desire to belong coupled with our fear of rejection can trigger our vulnerability and override our better judgement. Sometimes it may simply be that we let an issue fester with a colleague at work rather than addressing it. But the closer the relationship, the higher the stakes and the steeper the toll on our happiness. . . Not believing in your innate worthiness can cause you to settle for less than you want or deserve. –Margie Warrell, “Stand Up For Yourself: You Teach People How To Treat You”. Forbes.com





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