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“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.” ~~C. Joybell C.
“Being a positive person doesn’t mean you don’t feel negative emotions. It means you have faith in your ability to get through tough situations, hope for better days and the willingness to see beyond the drama.” ~~Leticia Rae
“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.” ~~Rainer Maria Rilke
#2 Negative thoughts destroy only myself.
My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.
In the past, sobriety and recovery terrified me. The thought of giving up alcohol felt like the end of the world; it was that powerful and kept me from taking any action. Yet today, I would not trade my recovery for anything. Statement #2 in action assists in preventing relapse and lays a foundation for balance. Recovery has given me this New Life and I continue to connect, learn, and feel fulfilled, something that was desperately missing while drinking.
The WFS New Life Program encourages self-exploration and Statement #2 leads the way. Sometimes negativity can feel paralyzing at first, then the flight or fight response can kick in but the 4C women on the WFS Forum taught me to sit and examine these thoughts. It felt so uncomfortable at first, and the desire to lash out was strong. But after reflecting on the negative thoughts, they lost their strength and my fears diminished. This was a brand-new way of experiencing life Instead of being tightly attached and wallowing in negativity, I was learning to move through it.
Here is a simple practice from J. Korda that can aid in movement through difficult thoughts or emotions:
1. Bring to mind a frustrating interpersonal event. It can be anything that you found irritating, such as a small interaction or hearing unpleasant news. It should be something that, when you think about it, fills your mind with thoughts of how unfair or difficult life can be or how unhelpful others can be.
2. Instead of retelling the entire story in your mind, just hold a single image that best evokes the irritating nature of this experience. What you are doing here is inviting the emotion of frustration or disappointment to arise. At the same time, keep yourself comfortable, with your arms and legs relaxed.
3. Hold the provocative image in your mind and patiently activate your feelings of irritation, frustration, or disappointment until you can feel them stirring somewhere in the front of your body—in the belly, chest, throat or face. Try to create a welcoming environment for these feelings. Resistance only makes the anger stronger and more painful, and it will stimulate the ‘unfairness of it all’ thought that got us nowhere. Create a space where the emotion can play out, without trying to get rid of anything.
4. Every time your mind tries to intervene and retell the story, or launches into criticisms or ideas about the way the world should be, bring it back again to the body. If you can locate feelings of frustration or disappointment in your body, you can send soothing, nurturing messages from the mind to the feeling itself: ‘It’s okay. You’re allowed to feel that way. You’re safe now.’ Connect with the anger the way you would talk to a child you love and who is upset. It’s not the words that matter here. It’s the caring voice and calming awareness with which you greet your feeling that matters.”
This week invite at least one negative thought to move through and examine the process. Share your experience with other 4C women from the WFS Forum or your Face to Face group or journal your experience. Set a goal to move through something each week and chart your journey.
Hi 4C Women,
When I think of negative thoughts destroying only myself, I think of the negative words I would use in the past to define myself before WFS and recovery. They certainly shattered any possibility of building up my self-esteem or worthiness. They only added to my using alcohol to turn off the loud negative words shouting in my ear – you are unworthy, unlovable, inadequate. I love the exercise Karen shared, especially point 4. I truly believe that denying our feelings, which is very different than staying stuck in them, can lead to them growing larger, leaving the opportunity for healing, understanding or personal growth at a standstill. The use of alcohol or drugs simply and temporarily covers up the pain without any forward growth toward self-love. I have found that acknowledging, rather than numbing my feelings, has helped tremendously in accepting my self-worth. Also, learning to talk to myself as I would a friend or loved one, with compassion and gentleness, has taught me awareness of my negative thoughts/self-talk. For me, awareness of my daily self-talk was the key to creating lasting change.
I was asked in a book group to reflect on the challenges/struggles I have overcome and how they defined me. My first immediate thought was recognizing how much I have grown and changed from the days of not liking myself, to seeing only the negative of who I believed I was for so long. In fact, I was so accustomed to automatically going to the negative that I actually didn’t realize how much I was blocking the process of change and growth. My second thought was extreme gratitude for WFS and the tools that taught me to change my definition of me from the negative ones to the positive ones I have today. And I know I have grown because I have that positive mental list in my head that answered the questions easily. This is a big change from the list of years past. WFS taught me awareness and how to practice positive self-talk. How would you answer the questions? Are you aware of the words you use to describe/define yourself? How have they changed? If you feel that there hasn’t been much change, perhaps doing the exercise Karen has shared will work towards silencing the negative definition of you and changing each word with who you are today and not someone else’s old, untruthful definition of you? It’s worth a try!
Bonded in reducing negativity, Dee