Better: Not Perfect
Soul Care Workbook
Chapter 2: First you dig, then you build: Laying the foundation that builds a girl into a woman
Lessons From My Heart To Yours
There were things that I experienced as a child that I was unable to understand and process. Left unaddressed, they stood as barriers to healing. I wish that I started therapy sooner because I would have healed sooner. by learning what those issues were and how to overcome them. That said, no regrets, because I am getting “Better” now, every day.
The same way that we invest money towards retirement, we should put emotional money in the bank to be there for when we need to make a withdrawal and give some of that love away to another, a partner, a child, a friend, a stranger. You can’t overdraw your emotional account and think that you will be able to meet your own emotional needs.
Unaddressed grief can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms. I learned later in life how to lean into the very feelings that I was too afraid to feel and face. Instead of stuffing them, I had to learn to sit with them and just be. In other words, let the feelings rise without trying to stuff them down. I reminded myself that like a labor contraction, this will have a slow onset, peak in pain/fear/anxiety and then begin to decline. On the back end I will realize that I went through it and survived. The pragmatic optimist in me now appreciates the statement "the only way out is through" because through, let's me know that I am on a progressive journey out of these tough emotions and will at some point, feel "Better"
A Look Inside Your Heart: A Journal Activity
The next time that you feel anxious, fearful, sad, lean into it if you can to get clear on drawing associations to these negative feelings. This may help you find out what is at the core of your emotions. Here's a low stakes example, once when my son was younger I was at one of his basketball games. He wasn't getting play time and was sitting the bench. The longer he sat the more anxious I became till my stomach was in a knot, my palms were sweaty, and I felt sick. I began to ignore and stuff my feelings then I recalled the words of my counselor to "lean in", instead and "play them out" instead to see what I was actually afraid of. I then asked myself a series of "what" questions like, what will happen if he doesn't play today? Then I asked myself a series of "why" questions like "why is that important?" At the end of this process, I realized what my fears were about, him feeling inadequate, him being teased, me failing as a mom because there was something that I am sure I could have done differently to avoid his embarrassment. Once I was able to follow my thought process, and name my emotions, I was able to engage in positive self-talk and identify the upsides of the situation and see how 1) his disappointment could build resilience, 2) how waiting would build patience, 3) how organized sports were teaching him important life lessons and 4) I had to get comfortable with the notion that there were things in his life that I would not be able to control. I began to settle down. Now you try the "What, Why, Play It Out, Find an Upside Approach" when you are in a stressful situation. It took practice but eventually worked for me. Write down your experience and revisit it when needed as a reminder.
A Look Inside Your Head: Getting Clear Exercise:
Scaffolding is an important feature on a construction site. Who holds you up during your building process. Create a list of your supports, personal and professional. Do you have mentors, a therapist, a friend you can talk to about anything, a close family confidant? Plan in advance for a meltdown. They come to all of us. If you don’t have a therapist, spiritual advisor, or mentor, start the research now. Friends are good for general advice but when the real storms of life come you need a professional. Storms at work call for a good mentor. Mental and emotional storms require a trained professional so put together a “Break glass in case of emergency “list of 5 Therapists whose offices you have called to verify that they are taking new patients and take your insurance. That’s it, no commitment beyond that. Each day, for 5 days just search one clinician and write down at least 5 names and contact information. On day 5 or later, if you are feeling like you want to do some prevention work and do a mental health wellness checkup, make the call now. If not ready for that yet, put the list in an easy to find location so that when the storm comes (and it will) you will have a ready-made list of places to call to try to get a first available appointment.