Posted on

Monday Thoughts 4/8/2019

Monday Thoughts

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” ~~Maya Angelou

“Doubt yourself and you doubt everything you see. Judge yourself and you see judges everywhere. But if you listen to the sound of your own voice, you can rise about doubt and judgment. And you can see forever.” ~~Nancy Lopez

“Have you recently been through a challenge, disappointment, break up or disloyalty with somebody in your life? If so, it’s important after you’ve been hurt, to take some time to think like a lion tamer about your pain, so you can tame the possibility of more negativity coming back to bite you again!” ~~Karen Salmansohn


Statement #2
Negative thoughts destroy only myself.
My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.


Statement #2 can sound impossible to put into action when feelings of doubt, sorrow or emotional turmoil appear but the WFS New Life Program can help relinquish negativity, embrace balance and growth while laying a foundation for a sense of contentment.

Our WFS Program Booklet states “Our overcoming is in exact proportion to our becoming.” How this is achieved is different for every woman, since each of us have different life experiences but the outcome is the same; overcoming equals becoming.

Identifying negativity is the first action towards employing Statement #2. Being able to recognize how, where, when and why negativity appears provides an avenue to overcome it. Notice there is no “who” in the previous list. While there may be a “who” factoring in the negativity, (he/she said/did/didn’t) the responsibility belongs where?  My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.

What does negativity feel like in your life? Fear? Doubt? Anger? Guilt?

What small actions can you take today to reduce negativity?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Negativity usually appears as anger or frustration for me. When I experience or see an injustice, I am angry. When I feel invisible, I feel angry. The difference is I have learned to be as proactive as possible so rather than staying in negativity, I work on creating an action plan. I also feel a huge difference between the foundation of negativity that I previously built my life on and the awareness now that deep negativity hurts myself, damages what could be healthy relationships and changes nothing unless I change my response and attitude.

It’s important to note that the statement says to “reduce” negativity. It’s an ongoing process as we learn about ourselves, change and grow. I don’t know if any of you have watched the show, Hoarders, but the one thing I have learned from that show is that the only way to change our thinking or behavior is to work through it ourselves, to take responsibility. If someone else does it, we still have the same thinking and behavior and will need to be rescued again. I use the word rescue because that is how I viewed my “blame everyone else” life. As long as they were all responsible for my miserable lot in life, I just sat back and waited for them to take care of me. That belief left no space or opportunity to grow and take charge.  I am not talking about supporting, caring or helping others because we all that need at times. Goodness knows I have been blessed to have that kind of loving support. I am talking about being so negative that no life lesson has a chance to break down the wall of negativity.

I am grateful to have discovered that blaming others, which I became very good at doing, damaged me more than anything. This doesn’t mean that others don’t impact our lives, hurt us and cause pain. For me, it means I have to learn how to react differently and let go of toxic people. I just don’t want me to be one of those toxic people that others want to let go of! Thank goodness for this life-changing Statement. It certainly became one that has made the biggest change/impact on my thinking, attitude and behavior.

Bonded together in building a positive, healthy outlook on our 4C life,
A beautiful 4C woman

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 1/7/2019

Monday Thoughts

“There’s no prerequisites for worthiness. You are born worthy, and I think that’s a message that a lot of women need to hear.” ~~Viola Davis

“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”  ~~Louise Hay

“Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.” ~~Brene Brown


Statement #2
 Negative thoughts destroy only myself.
My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.


Alcohol or drug use disorders can easily remove feelings of self-worth or value. Repetitive thoughts and/or feelings of failure, much like when awareness of a substance use disorder is realized, can increase lacerate core feelings of self-worth and value. Trying to overcome these negative thoughts can feel like a never-ending swim against a strong current. Yet with Statement #2 put into practice, a portal for building a strong core is opened.

Learning to identify and name our thoughts and feelings can begin the process. For women in recovery, shame and guilt are two of the most common emotions felt early on in the journey. Shame states there is something wrong with me at my center, while guilt says I’ve done something wrong. Shame holds us down by not allowing ourselves to feel what is underneath, such as loneliness, grief or despair. The commitment to move through our negative feelings reduces the destructive effects.

For some of us, negativity was learned when we were young and we carried it into adulthood. Today we have a conscious choice and have the ability to challenge our thoughts. Moving through negative feelings reduces their impact on our core which makes room for self-worth to increase. No longer hiding behind negativity, we can name what we feel, move through our emotions and embrace our New Lives. After all, we are capable, and competent, caring and compassionate women.

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

This has certainly been a week of fighting negative thoughts! This is what I’ve learned so far. Before WFS and therapy, negative thoughts were all about shame and guilt. Now they are about the challenges that come along and how to “reduce” the negative thoughts in problem solving. This is the beauty of understanding that there will always be challenges – major and minor – and learning how to cope with them through seeking positive support, input and encouragement. If I did not have a strong support system, I could see negative thoughts taking over completely. There would be no reduction, just negativity clouding my thoughts and behavior. While negative thoughts do destroy my ability to cope in a healthy way, that air of negativity can hurt relationships as well. I always joked that I probably wasn’t much fun to be around before I started practicing the WFS Statements.

Nancy Cross once wrote not to make our thoughts our prison. For me, that spoke volumes. I am creating my own prison when I stay stuck in negativity. Again, it’s not having the negative thoughts in reaction to circumstances or people, it’s how we respond and especially stay stuck. I tend to start creating my personal gratitude list all the way to the basics and I found that really helps me.

Nancy also wrote about another coping tool and that is keeping an inventory of memories that can immediately make you smile. Occasions where you felt happy, appreciative, cheerful, at peace. Reminiscing those happy moments gives a balanced perspective to your situation. You realize that what appears negative today will change tomorrow. Nothing stays the same.

Each Statement is a guide for change and for me, this one is the one I needed. So grateful for both this Statement and the support of the women I am privileged to know through WFS.

Bonded in reducing negativity,
4C WFS Member

Posted on

Monday Thoughts 10/8/18

Monday Thoughts

“One day I looked at something in myself that I had been avoiding because it was too painful. Yet once I did, I had an unexpected surprise. Rather than self-hatred, I was flooded with compassion for myself because I realized the pain necessary to develop that coping mechanism to begin with.” ~~Marianne Williamson

“Failing well is a skill. Letting girls do it gives them critical practice coping with a negative experience. It also gives them the opportunity to develop a kind of confidence and resilience that can only be forged in times of challenge.” ~~Rachel Simmons

“I’m still coping with my trauma, but coping by trying to find different ways to heal it rather than hide it.” ~~Clementine Wamariya


Statement #2
Negative thoughts destroy only myself.
My first conscious sober act is to reduce negativity in my life.


Recently, many women have felt triggered from numerous social and political developments. From the #Me Too movement and past personal traumas to the uncertainty with LGBT and reproductive rights, there is an air of fury along with an increase of raw emotion. Across this wide range of feelings some women are flooded with fear and negativity. Thankfully, the WFS community is a safe and restorative landing place.

Oftentimes, women can feel that intense emotions are negative. Throughout my life, thoughts of rage have led to extreme emotion, which can still feel frightening.  Finding what resides under this anger has opened up healing, bringing understanding and action to light. A continued practice of Statement #2 enables a reduction in negativity.

Negative thoughts are often impulsive and can be reduced through identifying and processing. Instead of turning away from the raw feelings thoughts can bring, even slowly paced processing leads to increased feelings of ease. For instance, try logging negative thoughts into an impulse log. Here is a log with two examples:

Impulsive or Negative Thought: 

  1.  I can’t handle this, I need a drink!
  2.  I am mad at the whole world, I want to hit something!

What am I trying to express with this impulsive or negative thought?

  1.  I am afraid, I am in emotional pain, I feel useless and alone.
  2.  Issues important to me are being dismantled and I feel alone.

What will I do instead?

  1.  I can call another 4C woman, go on the WFS Forum, take a walk, or practice breathing.
  2.  I will call my Senator/public official, join a committee, learn how to run for public office

How do I feel after?

  1.  Instead of drinking, I now understand that I was feeling afraid and doubted myself and wanted to escape this intense emotion, so I called a 4C friend, we talked, laughed and I feel hopeful and very happy that I chose to call her, and she too was happy that I called. We are having lunch together next week. My mind is more at ease now.
  2.  Instead of lashing out or getting into road rage, I found a group, signed up for their emails and am looking into what I can do today. I might run for office in the future but right now I am supporting those running for office whose values echo my own and made friends with two individuals at the last gathering. I feel focused on solutions and am putting my energy into helping advance this cause.

How do you move through negative thoughts? Which way is the most effective for you?

Hugzzz
Karen


Hi 4C Women,

Love the exercise Karen has given us to process our negative thoughts. I related to her fear of experiencing rage as I have definitely felt that extreme feeling throughout my life. Understanding where that feeling originated was an eye opener. I realized that most of my rage came from feeling invisible, inadequate, rejected and powerless – feelings I carried from childhood into adulthood. And those are just a few that I have identified! I use to stay stuck in those negative feelings until I uncovered their origin.

Now when I feel those negative thoughts rushing in, I stop and focus on the core issue of where the thoughts are stemming from. I discovered that many times it is because I am not in control of the situation which means I am not in control of the outcome. Why this surprises me, surprises me! After all, I have learned a long time ago that I am only in control of myself, my actions, my decisions. So, it goes back to those initial feelings which tells me that if I were visible, heard, adequate and empowered enough, the people I love would follow my guidance and I would feel I had worth because they valued my input.

Now, just in case you’re wondering who those people are, it is my family.  I share this because while I have learned and gained insight over the years, I think my feelings are typical when it comes to family members (spouse, partner, sibling, children and extended family members).  Knowing this in advance, I am able to use positive self-talk, receive support from my friends and the WFS group, and even writing the Monday message helps me. No more running from my negative thoughts.

It’s amazing how my support system can bring me back to common sense, to what I already know deep down inside but for the moment, I lose track of it all. This is why I always emphasize that we are not alone. Reaching out, knowing there are people who relate to you, no explanations, no judgments, what a gift! And sometimes, we just want to be heard. I love being able to turn my negative thoughts around, knowing once again that I am in control of me, not anyone else and it’s my choice to set healthy boundaries as best I can. I am learning to challenge those negative thoughts rather than to be stuck in them. When I challenge, I see the core of “why” and it gives me a chance to create an action plan of how to cope, to create positive change that I am in control of and, as Karen said, focus on solutions and using my energy to advance a cause or find the path to keep creating my New Life.

Have you uncovered the origins of your negative thoughts? If so, how has this helped you turn those thoughts around?
Do you have a support system in place?

Bonded in support of each other,
4C WFS Member