After a long hiatus, you get back into dating. You go on many dates, but before, during, after you keep thinking about all of the mistakes you previously made. You are hyper-aware of everything. He does not call you beautiful, red flag. He does not ask you about your five-year plan, red flag. You spot the red flag at every moment. By the second date, you fall back because who doesn’t ask you about your future if they aren’t TRULY trying to get to know you. You don’t like your job and you decide to find another one. You get another job and quit the other, but you feel guilty. Any slight thing that happens at work, you think, "Is this the right choice?” You make a mistake, you think, “Oh I am going to get fired.” Any tension that happens at work you take it as a sign from God that you chose wrong. All night you create scenarios, feel bad, hyper-focus on the negative, look for signs because you don't want to experience the pain of losing again. That pain was unbearable and every day you tell yourself you can't fall that hard again because deep down you are unsure if you have the strength to get back up. That feeling is understandable. That feeling is anxiety. That feeling is self- worth issues. That feeling is depression. You want to understand this feeling. You want to conquer it. You want to get over it, but you don’t know how to. Below I’ve developed some steps to help you check-in with yourself, trust yourself, believe in yourself, and release yourself.
Know your triggers. When are the times you start to spiral? Are you in the house? at work? with friends? Is it when you are bored? When you are exhausted? When you are sad? Know what sets you off in this frenzy because it often has a pattern.
You don’t have to be constantly aware. Before you met that person, that job, or that place you did not have the knowledge you have now. Your experience taught you what to look for. Your experience taught you the signs. Even though that experience sucks, and I will not say it is a lesson. It is, however, a handbook.
If you get too overwhelmed, review your mistakes, and write out your personal handbook. Think of instances when you failed or were triggered, and write out steps for you to refer to when your mind is wandering or racing.
Example: In instances when I do not feel trust with my partner, I will:
Turn my feelings inward
Understand that because your partner demonstrated trust, you will trust his actions and believe him. If you don’t like being optimistic, you can choose the pessimistic approach. Understand that any lie will reveal itself, and you have the tools to deal with it
Remove yourself from the thought and focus on something else like a project or a movie.
Be present. I truly mean it. Make sure you are focusing on what you are doing now. How can you think about your mistakes, red flags, or what your bosses are thinking if you are putting all of your attention into what you are doing right now? You can’t wonder about possibilities that often do not happen.
Build trust with yourself. On small low-risk choices listen to your first thought and let that be your choice. You have to start rebuilding your trust muscle. You have to believe that even if you choose something that gives you an undesired choice, you are smart, creative, and resilient enough to find a solution. You’ve already done it and conquered it before with no knowledge, so you can do it again but with knowledge. You are also savvy enough to recover or catch it.
Let it go. Is your identity trauma and mistrust? I know it hurts. I know it slows you down. I know It makes you worry, but is trauma all that you are? Is that your identity?
When you feel uncomfortable, write down what you are feeling and don’t judge it. It is perfectly fine to feel what you are feeling. However, how can you truly honor your emotions when you aren’t feeling it and just judging it. Your feelings are valid. Feel it all the way through, take a minute, and reflect over what you wrote.
The truth is everyone will experience pain, feel unsure of themselves, and recover. Make your recovery easier for yourself by using these steps, and do me a favor and breathe. Charlie Toolbox