I recently began seeing a therapist again. I’ve found that an outside perspective is important for my ongoing human growth. I have great people in my life. I’m not overwhelmed. I’m not in a place of great personal failure.
The opposite would be more true that false. The older I get, the more I realize that I have specific goals for my life. As I work and interact with people, I recognize flaws and failures that need fixing or changing. I want to be a great mom and wife. I want to be a good friend.
I’ve been chewing on a few things lately and thought perhaps someone else might like to chew on them too. If not, feel free to bybass this post and move on with your life!
My “ah ha” moment of recent sessions has been digging into why I’m a control freak. Okay, I’ve eased up a lot on this but dang it, I still sweep the floor at least 5 times/day. I do laundry every day. I get mad at myself if I go longer than 2 days without working out. I’m pretty set on what I eat and how my closet looks. I have a strong self talk game and a lot of the times, it’s not very flattering. I’m a Type A control freak. I know, that sounds insane for some of you and perfectly reasonable for others.
Do you know that how we behave was inscribed on our hearts/psyche before we were born? By age 5 it was firmly planted and try as we might, it takes a lot of work to make those inscriptions a bit less permanent.
When I come home from a trip, it’s usually been at least 20 hours of travel. I’m wiped. Emotionally I’ve poured myself into my team for at least a week. Physically I’ve been working from 5 am to midnight most days. My first response, when I walk through the door of my house, is to look at the house and notice the ONE THING that wasn’t done while I was gone. Do you think I do this on purpose? Do you really believe that I want to start my welcome back routine with criticism? OF COURSE NOT!
But I’m telling you, those inscribed messages are strong people! My brain tells me “they don’t care, see the floors are not swept” and my heart decides to just follow along.
In essence I’ve written story that simply says “They don’t care. You work all the time. You NEED to CONTROL to feel better.”
Now that I’ve actually put a name to this feeling, I am much better at telling that feeling to get lost. Seriously I tell myself these words “Control, leave me now.” I don’t say it out loud – but inside, sometimes on repeat.
After each therapy session, I send Matt about a 3 minute therapy wrap up video. I went through this morning and watched my videos. Do you know my first thought? Self criticism. Man Melody, that angle is horrible and you sound so rambling. Second thought quickly followed – You have too much work to do. You haven’t done anything Therapist K has told you to do.
I share that to say simply, “We all need to give ourselves grace.” When Matt listens to those videos, he doesn’t judge me. In fact, we’ve had some of the best conversations lately because I am exposed and vulnerable with him. He’s not looking at my three chins because of the angle of the cell phone. No, he’s seeing my heart and my deep desire for change.
Why don’t I look at myself the same way? Why do I continue to fight the self criticism and judgement? BECAUSE back to one of the first things Therapist K has shown me – those inscriptions are DEEP and in order to rewrite my heart and my self talk, I’ve got to get new talk.
So this morning, here’s a few phrases I’ve been saying on repeat. Maybe you need a few of these mantras in your life.
Control, leave me now
Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love. (Brene Brown)
Just take the step in front of you.
You are unique, one of a kind and wonderfully made. Revel in that!
Don’t give up what you want most for what you want now. (Andy Stanley)
Your crown has been bought and paid for. Put it on your head and wear it. (Mya Angelou)
Thanksgiving creates abundance. (Ann Voskamp)