Last night, amidst my rum and diet coke, my husband and I talked about my ego. I need to check my attitude and watch my tongue when I’m frustrated. Whether it’s work, gym, church (my previous life), family, friends or my husband, sometimes I run my mouth more than I should and honestly, more than I want to worry about later. So I’m on a quest to figure out how to tame mine.
Maybe first I need to describe what that devil on the shoulder actually looks like. For me, it is laced a lot with codependency. Here are a few examples:
*It’s when I overreact emotionally and get overwhelmed by the anxiety in my head when my boss sends an email that feels like he’s questioning my ability.
*I don’t trust motives of people and concoct in my head what they are really saying. My therapist calls it mind-reading (and I’m terrible at it.)
*My good friends aren’t talking much to me and it feels they aren’t there for me, so I push them back in my head emotionally and make myself unavailable.
*I want to control everything – including your reaction to whatever I need to say.
*There are sooooo many more….
Back to my before question: how does one tackle the unreasonable thought logic at the time of the thought? Through time, my husband and therapists have given me some tips. Here are 4 tips that work most of the time for me, but I have to be constantly self aware and that is not always easy.
1) Rescue Cards
My husband taught me these. They are little notes to myself to remind me of logical thought patterns. Sometimes they are note cards placed in strategic locations that I will see at the right time and other times, they are notifications on my calendar. Do what you think makes sense for you. What to put on them is also specific to you. For me, I write stuff like: “We didn’t get into debt over night, so we won’t get out of debt over night either.” or on my calendar when I know my hormones are going to be flared up, “Treat yourself today.” or “You are enough.” It varies by circumstances, but it’s good to have the reminders whatever the format.
2) Relaxation Techniques
These are techniques to calm the central nervous system: deep breaths, meditation, prayer, yoga, rest, progressive muscle relaxation, calming music, peaceful scenery and noises, etc. There are so many things you can do. I tend to do a variety of things, but what seems to work the best for me is yin yoga and to set intentions. I often focus on a personal behavior that I need to keep in check and try to balance that chakra if it’s related to a specific area of my body. Recently I downloaded the app called “happify” and they have a relaxing beach scene that plays a rolling video of waves crashing into a private beach. I can hear that in my imagination without even opening the app.
3) Focus On Positives
This is the latest assignment that my therapist gave me. It is really helping me focus more on positives things that happen throughout my work week instead of just negatives. My husband and I are now making a habit of asking what positives happened in the day, so we can both do this together. I blame my codependency on this, but I often struggle taking on other people’s negative opinions of others and then struggle knowing what I believe. Some of it might be normal though because people have a natural tendency to vent about things and paint negative pictures. By having my husband tell me the positives in his day, I see our life and situation less grim and that is good.
4) “Frothy Fran” Accountability
My husband introduced me to this term. I don’t think it’s caught on as a new catch phrase, but he’s trying. Maybe this blog will help. A “Frothy Fran” is someone who can turn bitchy at the drop off a hat and tear down the character of another person while complaining about them. We all have a natural tendency to do this when we gossip, and no one is really above it. For me, it is very related to trying to be positive about things, except it’s specific to my opinion of people and running my mouth. I tend to adopt other peoples’ negative points of view of someone and compile to the negative feelings I have of that person. I’m just now receptive enough mentally to ask my husband and a couple of other friends to hold me accountable and call me out when I’m negative. It’s hard to hear that type of confrontation. But it is very needed!
Again, these things work for me most of the time. On the occasion that they don’t, I typically make my husband crazy. 😝