Have you ever had someone so much in your head that you can’t think? Only, they have been in your head so long you didn’t realize it wasn’t your voice anymore, but you didn’t realize it?
This year I have done a lot of reflecting and I’m realizing the messages that I have lived by in my life… if you have ever said, “they are the voice in my head” because you remembered advice, words, wisdom or criticism that plays over and over in your mind throughout the course of your life then you know what I’m talking about.
Well, this year I started challenging the things that have kept me hostage. We all do it – we have those limiting beliefs that hold you back, or those words of wisdom that pull you forward.
But over time, they become rote in your brain so you don’t challenge the ones that are doing you harm. Welp…I’m here to make you take pause and think about it all.
Years ago, when I was a kid, I was trying to muddle my way through math. It’s just something my brain does not handle well AT ALL and when you start talking apples and oranges in what should be a numbers problem, you can see where I struggled. One day (in about 10th grade) I was really struggling with math. My dad decided to help me and he was super smart so I accepted… (this was the beginning of the end for me)… I could not for the life of me understand what he was trying to tell me and he was so confused at why I wasn’t getting it. In utter frustration (and me sitting there with tears) he said, “Are you stupid or something?” My whole world stopped in that moment and I realized that if my dad can’t even help me figure this out, then yes… I must be stupid. I never asked him to help me again, I got a shitty grade in math and started working backward from that point. The next year to finish my math requirements, I took remedial math and still didn’t get the best grade. And I didn’t care. I was stupid.
I carried that with me for a long time and years later when I was working at Chapman University where I could take classes for free (back in the ’90s), I decided to challenge myself with an algebra class. At that time I was living with Chris and a Roomate, Phil who was classic ADHD brain, but for some reason he was really good at trying to help me through this class. I told him if he didn’t become a teacher, that would be a shame… He sat with me as I tried to figure this shit out and I literally cried because it still wasn’t making sense to me. He wasn’t good with me crying, but his patience never waned….
I think I gave up on the class and realized that math wasn’t for me. And as I was years older I realized that my dad wasn’t trying to criticize me – he was just SOOO fucking smart (patent Engineer) that he had no concept of me not getting math when it came so easy to him. But for years, he was the voice in my head telling me that I was less than… BTW, my dad was an amazing guy. Flawed yes, but always full of love and always putting his family first. He had 5 kids with my mom, all different, but they ALL have way better brains than me when it comes to learning. What I got from my dad is his heart and his ability to write (thank you Dad).
It took me years to dissect my dads hurtful words and when I came to the realization that it wasn’t me and that I AM okay as I am, I will just never be mathlete and was never meant to be. BUT… I’m probably the peopleyest person in my family; second to none. No idea where I got that from, but here I am…
There have been other messages in my life…one that keeps me going is also from my dad…I know I have shared this in the past, but it’s a constant in my life and this year I have had to use it a lot…I was feeling really shitty (emotionally) one day and called my dad and he said, why don’t you do something like clean the house, you will feel better. I said, that makes no sense… He said, It does! “When you are feeling destructive, do something constructive”. Try it and let me know… Sure enough, I threw my anger and sadness into focused tasks and cleaned. And when I was done, I’ll be damned if I didn’t feel better. HOWEVER…if I am furiously cleaning my house, just back away slowly and quietly and leave me alone… (IYKYK). 😉
My point is this…Some of us tend to stay stuck in the bad messages without challenging them. But the worst is when you have the same person constantly in your head sending you messages of destruction that tear at the fiber of your being. You get so immersed in it, you literally can’t tell their thoughts from your own…
I recently ended a friendship that I didn’t realize how toxic it became. It has been a few months of reflection, tears and doubt, but I can honestly say as I sit here now … it was the best decision I could have made. This is someone I loved dearly, but they were literally draining my soul. Chris had to pick up the pieces so many times and until recently, I didn’t realize how much it bled in to my everyday life. Within a few weeks of cutting this person off, the fog lifted and I felt my brain clear. My nervous system literally calmed and my sleep improved immensely… I wish I had done it sooner, but my guilt (that was placed there by them) kept me prisoner that I couldn’t pull the trigger… Then one day, it just felt like it was time. I couldn’t take it anymore. I cried too often…and I was over it. A person shouldn’t have to live that way.
The first few days I kept checking my phone and it was eerily quiet. I was almost bored that I had no drama to be sucked into. Within a week I was putting my phone down more and attending to tasks with 100% effort. And now that it has been a few months, I feel like I have my brain back and can start planning my life again.
There are times in our lives we will get sucked into these moments. But I cannot stress upon you enough to check in with yourself and do a checks and balance sheet for self preservation.
This person has grabbed on to others and I am literally watching the toxicity pool start swirling again… only I’m not in the water anymore, so I’m just enjoying my popcorn watching the shitshow unravel. When I was in it, I couldn’t see it. Now that I am out, I’m appalled at what I put up with.
Here is the clencher… this person is not a bad person. They are a product of their environment and haven’t taken the time to do their checks and balances. It’s SO HARD to stop and take stock in your own life. It’s easier to become distracted with those around us. It’s easier to grab another and pull them into your conundrum. And after a while, you learn to see who will buy into your stories … look for the weak…look for the empty….look for the lost…those are the easiest to pull in. Don’t be that person!
I’m here to tell you…being weak is hard, finding your strength is hard… choose your hard.