Friday, May 22, 2015

Keeping up with the words in my head

If you've been around me at all, you've heard me talk about how much I love Brene' Brown's book Daring Greatly. It's been so personally meaningful to me, which is an articulate way of saying that Brown calls out my crazy and gives some suggestions on what to do about it.

A little back story. My dad has often used the saying "borrowing trouble" referring to worry. When Trey and I first got married, I borrowed trouble as a hobby. I planned for every single thing in my life to go terribly wrong, mentally prepared myself for the aftermath, and created a step by step process for picking up the pieces. Trey used to remind me over and over again that I was making stuff up to worry about, and he was right.

Recognizing that borrowing trouble was one of my brands of crazy helped me train myself not to do it as often. Through a lot of practice and prayer, I gradually figured out that I absolutely shouldn't worry about things I can't control. I also trained myself to take my mental obsession over something awful and pray constantly about it. I'm not perfect now, but I'd like to think I  mostly kicked the habit.

Nowadays when I worry it's about something I've said or done that may have hurt someone else or caused an unnecessary conflict or just sounded or seemed dumb. I can obsess and second guess my own actions like a pro. For reals.

Enter Daring Greatly. One of the points in the book is that we shouldn't treat ourselves more harshly than we treat others. We shouldn't say things to ourselves that we would never in a million years say to another person. For example, I would never say to someone "Huh. That shirt kind of makes you look like a sausage." I don't remember ever thinking that about another person. But I look in the mirror and hear those words in my head sometimes. (Sorry for the mental image of me as a sausage, but I've got to be real here.)

And so tonight I realized that my adventures in running have been great training for my self-talk. Sometimes this is what happens in my brain: "My legs hurt. This is awful. I can't run. I shouldn't have had that diet coke today. Whatever made me think I can do this."

But I would never, never, never say those things to someone else. I would cheer, high five, and whoop and holler like a wild woman.

What I'm really working on hearing in my brain is more like this: "I have SO got this! I feel great!  Look how far I've come! I bet today is a new distance personal best for me."

Let me tell you what a difference it makes!  Now I catch myself whining in my head and instead sing along to my music (today was "Rockin' the Suburbs" which was hilariously appropriate for my idyllic little neighborhood run on well manicured sidewalks). I imagine that the texts I hear beeping on my phone are friends telling me I'm a great runner. I wave at cars passing by and smile at kids on bikes. I start having fun.

I am 38 years old, and I truly think I'm just now figuring this out. So, of course, my very next thought is "We have to teach the children!" Forgive yourself. Say nice things to yourself. Give yourself a break often...a lot...all the time.

So do it. This week, think about the things you say to yourself. If it's not something you'd say face to face to someone else, then cut it out!  Say something nice instead. It will make a difference in your day. I promise!

By the way, tonight I ran 2.5 miles. That's my longest EVER. And I can't wait to run tomorrow.