October started as a fantastic month!
I had a huge moment of clarity in my professional life, which I’ll share more about in another email. I finally felt on top of my game for the first time since my bout with grief that began in June. My creativity and energy were on a great high, and then BAM!
I got sick.
Just a regular cold (these still suck, just in case you’ve forgotten what they are like).
But geez, a fall after a big high sucks, doesn’t it?!
It’s so easy to get down on ourselves when we have setbacks.
Especially when we have physical pain or illness in addition to the loss of productivity, we can really start feeling terrible about ourselves.
When you’re in a struggle moment, you aren’t thinking the best of yourself. Pain and big emotions stir up our inner protectors and critics, and they’ll knock you right off your center. Once this cycle begins, negative feelings tend to build up, and eventually, you start feeling bad about who you ARE. You create a negative self-image of yourself and believe it.
This is what I want to point out to you — YOU create your own self-image.
You’re the one who tells stories to yourself about who you are and what your value (or lack of it) is. When you’re already feeling down, this self-image can easily be a crappy one.
But YOU MADE IT UP.
Stop the negative cycle before it starts
The key to not letting a setback become a downward spiral is to catch the critical self-talk right in the beginning, and to NOT invest in the negative self-image your mind creates when you’re feeling poorly.
While I’m sick, my mind generates all kinds of garbage ideas about how I’m not valuable and people don’t care about me — the greatest hits of my childhood insecurities. Because I know this, I choose to swipe away from those thoughts as soon as they appear.
We can’t control everything that comes out of our minds, but we CAN choose whether to turn the volume up and sing along, or whether to hit the skip button and move on to another thought.
Choose the good ones.