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“Don’t ever make decisions based on fear. Make decisions based on hope and possibility. Make decisions based on what should happen, not what shouldn’t. ~~Michelle Obama
“You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” ~~Indira Gandhi
“Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big, flashing signs that something needs to change.” ~~Gretchen Rubin
#2 Negative thoughts destroy only myself.
My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.
In our WFS Program booklet for Statement #2, it reads, “Our overcoming is in the exact proportion to our becoming. Negative thoughts can destroy us in so many ways. An important aspect of negative thoughts for us is that such thoughts often precede using or drinking. A state of ‘what’s the use?’ or ‘who cares?’ can initiate an attempt to escape reality.” Moving through uncomfortable thoughts or emotions can seem overwhelming yet as the quote says, ‘overcoming is in the exact proportion to our becoming.’
This was a new and different response to practice in my New Life. In the past, I often rallied complaints with others to try to get them “on my side” in order to validate how right I was or that I was a victim. This did nothing to process difficult emotions, it only intensified them. Drinking became a “faux-solution”; it numbed the mind while cementing painful emotions. This negativity became a way of life and I felt miserable, which created an unhealthy cycle.
The WFS New Life Program and Statement #2 paired with sobriety offer a way to move through difficult emotions while creating a balanced new way of living. While the process of moving through difficult thoughts and emotions can be different for every woman, the results of reducing this negativity can be the same. The end result is that we invest in ourselves and create a sense of well-being that was not present before our New Life. This week take time to visualize and carry out how you will move through challenging thoughts/emotions or feelings of imbalance.
Here are 4 tips to practice Statement #2
- Name and identify thoughts and emotions. Before tackling a difficulty, it has to be named. Guilt, shame, rage, disgust…this is the beginning of moving through them. (see attachment)
- Sit with your named thoughts and emotions. Take the time you need to process but set your intention to move through them. Understand that some things are quick, while others, take more time.
- Take necessary actions. Writing, journaling, talking with a 4C sister or practicing making boundaries can be a way to process difficult emotions.
- What does it look like on the other side of the challenging thought or emotion? Look for and embrace growth. Chances are while you go through the emotions, you will grow through the emotions.
Hi 4C Women,
A phrase Karen used stuck out for me – “cementing” painful thoughts/feelings. The image that came to my mind was breaking that cement with all my might, freeing myself to feel, to work through the pain and heal. It took me a while to be able to identify those deep-seated feelings. The feelings wheel is such a great tool and I encourage you to utilize it to help you identify and understand the core and origin (when possible) of your feelings.
I use to call the center feeling words “surface” feelings. They were easy to identify but digging deeper helped me to understand that my painful wounds were profoundly buried and needed to be set free. This is how my healing work began. Whenever I could identify the origin, I began to understand that some of these deep feelings were very old messages, sometimes from people who were no longer here or even in my life. I kept the negative thoughts and feelings prominent in my mind as though they were brand new. I began to question why I chose to continually hurt myself.
I may not be able to change harmful, hurtful words or actions from the past but I sure can set boundaries to protect my heart and squash those negative thoughts before they became cemented again! If was the keeper of negative thoughts, I also held the key to release them. As I looked at the feelings wheel, I realized that I lived in fear and sadness most of the time. My goal was to heal from that space and move onto Happy.
Thanks to WFS, I was able to do that. What kept me going is that my work was to “reduce” negativity in my life and that felt like a huge burden lifted off of me. I could and did work at my own pace. No pretending I had left negativity behind completely. Life doesn’t work that way. It’s a process and one I could handle a little bit at a time. This is why I have great dislike for the phrase, “Just get over it.” My response is “I’m working through it!” So, that is my guidance for you – work through it, heal as you work and have a goal of freedom, happy, contentment, peaceful – whatever word authentically describes what you want and need to reduce negativity in your life!
Bonded in reducing negativity and healing as we work through the process, Dee