Have you ever had some of these thoughts?
I've ruined my kids.
I've ruined my marriage.
I can't help my child feel better.
He doesn't know I love him.
She has no idea how much I care.
These are thoughts that can run amok in our minds and keep us spinning in confusion, guilt, resentment, regret.
They serve to keep us stuck.
And they literally cause inflammation in the body and stunt health and growth.
If you struggle with autoimmune disease this is exactly opposite of what you're going for.
If you struggle in life...welcome.
I want to tell you about a client of mine that is a rock star. (Honestly, every single one of my clients are rock stars. I grow so much love and respect for the fortitude and determination they have that they just become part of my heart forever), but this one had a breakthrough about thoughts that I would like to share because it is so common and so much easier to work though than we think.
She has been carrying around the guilt and pain of a child making a decision that created the thought that she was a bad mother.
She had failed.
It was all her fault.
And every time someone gets near that thought she experiences pain, defensiveness, and agony.
She has been beating herself up for years and it has affected so many areas of her life.
This is a really heavy burden to be carrying while still trying to manage working, interacting with others, being an active part of a community.
It's like a thorn that causes pain every time it is bumped and just going through life, people jostle into those thorns and it creates pain.
We want to shout to "Stop touching this thorn!"
In essence, "Stop triggering me", not realizing that we have the power to remove that thorn, that triggering thought, so that it just doesn't matter what others say or bump into.
This client realized this week that she can change her thought.
Here is the process she used:
1. She identified the circumstance that was causing her pain. This was the plain and simple fact with no emotion attached. It was an action that the child did.
2. Then she identified what she was thinking about this circumstance. Usually I get to this thought by saying, "So what?" or "What's wrong with that?" referring to the circumstance. When we asked this question the phrase "I don't know" came up for her.
When our brain responds, "I don't know", it is actually saying, "I don't want to think in a new direction, thank you very much, move along, please", and we usually stop there. So I asked, "But if you did know, what would you say?".
The first thought that came to her head right then was basically, "I'm a bad mom. I failed her."
This is an amazingly huge step.
As vulnerable as this sounds, self-awareness is so important here.
The brain would be so invested in keeping this thought hidden. It is raw and exposing. The brain seeks pleasure and avoids pain. This is painful to identify, but so important to healing.
3. Now that she could see what thought was at play, she identified how she was feeling.
4. Next she identified how she was acting when she felt that way.
5. The result was a lack of progress in many areas that she could identify in her life.
This is what Brooke Castillo calls an unintentional model.
This is the structure that we use to identify the pattern of our thoughts and how they lead to results. When we are not intentional with our thoughts we are often creating and attracting results that are the opposite of what we want from life and our relationships.
This superstar client then worked through the process to come up with a thought that focused on the child and created a feeling of compassion and love and concern for the child, and created action that was consistent with an attentive, focused, and free mother. I've already seen the result in the way she talks and the way her friends are talking about her.
She is free.
And is discovering the power she has over her pain.
You have that same power.
It is in every single one of us.
We have the power and ability to change the pain in our lives. The guilt, the shame. Our past, our mistakes. It's all up for remodeling.
Are you ready for that change in your life?
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