This week’s theme at Girl Power Station is Question Your Negative Absolutes! This is a tough topic for me, because I've spent most of my life as a black-and-white thinker. I only started changing during my Year of Things That Suck (Y.O.T.T.S.)—in one year I lost my mom, my dad, and my right breast to cancer. The good news is that I also gained important, life-altering information in the same year, with my Life Coach Certification courtesy of Dr. Martha Back. Without my Y.O.T.T.S. I would not be a life coach; I wouldn’t have written an award winning parenting book, and I certainly wouldn’t have taken the leap of building the Girl Power for Good Foundation and the building that houses its parts.
Sometimes it takes pain and struggle to loosen an absolute. Sometimes it just takes awareness.
My absolutes have been in my brain for a very long time, so it takes intentional, concerted focus to stop myself from knee-jerk absolute thinking. And I believe it's the best use of your time and energy to do just that. This week we are giving you a less difficult way than death and cancer...Yay!
First, let's define an absolute. They typically have either an implicit or explicit "always" or “never”. Such as: I (am) always, or I (can, am) never… Some examples from my very own brain are:
I’m always tired.
I never have enough energy to do everything I need to do.
I have to be a grown up.
I never sit down, because if I do, I’ll never get up again.
There’s never enough time.
And my Nuclear Bomb of Absolutes—I’m always in charge, because if I don’t do it, it won’t be done (right).
All of these have felt like facts at one time in my life. There is a little truth to each one of them. However, the truth of the statement isn’t the issue; it’s how it makes me feel.
When I read that Nuclear Bomb thought, I feel exhausted and resentful. When I carry that absolute in my head, I’m likely to snap at my husband for leaving clutter for me to clean, or my girls for making me help them out of their latest scrape. However, when I question that thought, I can find a little peace. It is really true that I’m always in charge? Do I go hungry if I don’t grow all my own food? Do I make and enforce the laws of my city or state? Am I in charge of collecting my trash? Brushing my college student’s teeth? Filling my husband’s car with gas? Do you see where I’m heading here?
There are millions of things that go on around me quite nicely without a smidgen of input from me. When I focus on ALL the things that are done for me, I feel a little lighter; my shoulders relax and my jaw unclenches. I can look at all the thoughtful things my husband does, and I can straighten his clutter— because it really only bothers ME. And I love him enough to do that.
Questioning that thought gives me perspective. It makes me more generous. It makes me more human. And isn’t that the point? So just for the next two weeks, let’s all take a look at our “always/never” thoughts. Notice how they make you feel. If they make you feel powerful, by all means, keep them! If they make you feel small, tired, or like a victim, just notice that. Notice how much energy those thoughts suck from your life. That’s the first step, just noticing. Next time, we will take the next step. Stay tuned! If you have any burning thoughts about this, please tell me all about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.