The Courage to Be You & Stop Catastrophizing| 01.18.2023
In this episode, Kristen talks about catastrophizing, why you catastrophize, how it prevents you from being yourself, and how you can overcome it.
- What is catastrophizing and its causes
- How catastrophizing stops you from being yourself
- How to overcome catastrophizing
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Welcome to this week's Close the Chapter podcast. I am so happy you're here with me to grow, evolve, expand, heal, and become who you are more of who you are. And I was inspired on so many levels to talk about expansion. But really what I'm talking about is working through your fear of being who you are, and having conversations and sharing how you feel and naming things in real time, because the more we avoid, shut down, move away from which are all trauma responses and understandable, but when we can heal those responses, lean into that discomfort, and break generational patterns, you change your life, and you heal. I also want to equip you with some tools. So the first I'm gonna have you grab is the journal for free. It's a guide, really, that I work with most every client on and it's outlined simply for you to use and reuse, you can get it for free at Kristen k r i s t e n d Boice b Oh ice.com forward slash free resources. So be sure to grab that that will help you as we're talking about today's episode. And then we will also share blog posts, articles that are helpful. On a weekly basis, you will not get inundated. Hopefully it's helpful information that I really invite you to read, sift through watch the videos, we have so much content out there for free. It's like getting therapy, although this is not therapy, but it's like therapy, without having to pay the price. For therapy, I still encourage you to get your own therapist. So let me dive into one of the ins inspirations for today. And then I'm going to walk you through how to really free yourself of some of these patterns. So I was told by my friend Laura Regan, to she is the host of therapy chat podcast, and she was also on the closed chapter podcast, you can go back and listen to her episode, she was like, did you get the book of awakening by Mark, I think it's neepco. It's been around for a long time he was on Oprah. And I said, Oh, I have seen it. I have read parts of it, but I never bought it. So I went ahead and got it and I opened up to today's they have like, each day you can open it up and read something that will hopefully continue you on your healing journey. And here is today's it's called the friction of being visible. It is only by risking ourselves from our one hour to another that we will live at all that was a quote from William James. And here is what Mark wrote in this today's date. living through enough, we all come to this understanding though it is difficult to accept. No matter what path we choose to honour, there will always be conflict to negotiate. If we choose to avoid all conflict with others, we will eventually breed a poisonous conflict within ourselves. Likewise, if we manage to attend our inner lives, who we are will sooner or later create some discord with those who would rather have us be something else. I'm gonna pause here, because many clients come in and they're afraid to show who they really are because they're afraid of rejection, which really is redirection into another area of expansion to be your true self. It's in a way God's protection or you could just say rejection is protection and redirection. We're so afraid of rejection, and being who we are that we mask. Fun. There's a whole episode on fawning, which is people pleasing, which is a trauma response. We try to be who we think the person in front of us wants to be we'll agree with them. We will placate them go along with what they're saying. Instead of sharing how we really feel we can acknowledge what they're saying and have a different opinion and that's okay, I try to teach my kids this consistently. Because they take it as almost rejection or disapproval if we don't agree with what they're saying. And what I say is, I hear that you think x y z and that makes sense and that's okay. And it's an and and both not an either or, and I feel differently. And that's okay. And we can have both of our opinions are valid and true. And we can still have connection. Even if we don't see it the same. This is what happens in family systems that I work with consistently. In family systems, it wasn't okay to disagree. Have your own opinion, your own thoughts feelings, because it was threatening to the family system, meaning they were afraid for you to make a poor choice, they were afraid that you would leave the family they were afraid you would. XYZ if you're religious, and maybe there was some threat that you something bad would happen to you. And therefore you learn to play cake, you learn to go along with you learn to try to keep the peace be the peacemaker, instead of honouring your own thoughts, feelings and opinions and that be celebrated and accepted. That's why I work with people, individually, couples and families to not see it as a threat. It's not threatening, it's not rejecting its self exploration to question things is healthy. So let's go on in the book of awakening for today's reading. And let's see what else SmartLipo has to say. In effect, the cost of being who you are, is that you can't possibly meet everyone's expectations. And so there will inevitably be external conflict to deal with the friction of being visible. Still, the cost of not being who you are, is that while you are busy pleasing everyone around you, a precious part of you, is dying inside. In this case, there will be an internal conflict to deal with the friction of being invisible. As for me, he shares Mark does, Nico, it's taken me 30 of my 49 years to realise that not being who I am is more deadly. And it has taken the last 19 years to try to make a practice of this. What this means in a daily way is that I have to be conscientious about being truthful, and resist the urge to accommodate my truth away, meaning I'm not going to be in my own truth. It means that being who I really am is not forbidden or muted, just because others are uncomfortable or don't want to hear it. So he lists some great examples of this Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Rosa Parks, but you don't have to be these great people. He's just giving some examples of people that blazed a trail of being who they are. And yet, they lost some relationships. And I know that's what many of you are afraid of is losing relationships. And the cost is you're losing a relationship with yourself. And you go to a deep, dark depression, you're filled with anxiety, you might have suicidal thoughts. And if that's the case, I gotta disclaim this episode, please dial or text, if you're in the United States, it's really, really important that you are getting the help you need. And it's okay to ask for help. text or call 988. That's like the 911 crisis line, it's 988 and mental health counsellors are available. So the this is the end result of shoving down masking, self medicating with alcohol, drugs, shopping, eating, and really pushing down and suppressing your true authentic self. And that means connecting to your emotions, processing them, because you end up I just can't even tell you, you end up in the pit.
And we don't want to end up in the pit. Many of us will have ups and downs in life and how we get out of the pit. So let's talk through that, as he writes. We simply have to start by saying what we really want for dinner, or which movie we really want to see or how we really feel about something. So centre yourself in meditate on a decision before you before you that might generate some conflict, either within you if you withhold who you are, or between yourself and others. If you exert who you are. So basically what he's saying is start sitting with a decision if you're afraid that it's going to cause a wedge in this connection or relationship. Breathe steadily in feel both the friction of being invisible, and the friction of being visible for who you really are. And the fear that you feel. Notice where you feel that in the body, I'm adding some things in notice where you feel that in the body, your body, and your nervous system, what is that emotion connected to. So if you feel a pit in your stomach, I know that's fear for me. Take a deep breath and breathe into those places. Grab your journal, and start writing just what comes through what you're afraid of what are you feeling, really slowly, and know that you are larger than any moment of conflict. Breathe deeply and know that who you are, can withstand the experience of conflict, that living in who you really are, requires. That's a lot of what I do in therapy. And so that concludes kind of this reading for today. But really, what I do in therapy is help people tolerate the discomfort and the fear of having their own thoughts, feelings and opinions that they think someone else might not like, approve of. It may cause a reaction out of them, they might get upset or angry. And it's our tone of voice. It's my body language. It's my facial expressions. It's how I say it. So I feel sad and scared. Because and then you fill in the blank and what I need is, and the other part of this, I think that is it mentioned in this is we catastrophize we catastrophize a lot of things, worst case scenarios. So if I have this conversation, then they're going to hate me forever. That's a catastrophizing statement. Another one is if I take this test and I fail, I am a complete idiot. And my life is over. That's a statement of catastrophizing. And I think it's important to really tie in the two because we catastrophize a lot when we think about being who we really are. Let me just define what catastrophizing is. catastrophizing is a cognitive distortion, that prompts people to jump to the worst case scenarios, some assumes the worst will happen. It was really developed by Albert Ellis, who was a psycho analytic therapist, at least I think your psychoanalytic, he really developed and coined the term. And in my opinion, the fear of not being who you are comes from trauma, it comes from feeling displaced, an attachment wound to maybe your primary parent. It gets passed down from generation to generation. So we think of the worst case scenario and then that prevents us from being our authentic self. It prevents us from stating how we really feel because generational trauma and attachment wounds, parts of us tell us that that's not safe, that it's scary. And in childhood, it is very scary. In many cases, it wasn't acceptable. We were disciplined out of it punished, abused, and now we're in adulthood. And let's just frame this if you're in a healthier relationship, if you are in a domestic violence situation, or emotional abuse, it's important to seek help immediately. And there are so many resources and local communities, nonprofit organisations that can help you through that, that can get protective orders. So we're going to put that aside, that's for a different conversation, we're going to be really working on how to gain the courage to be who you are, and be visible in your life, in your relationships as a person as a human being, and it's working through past traumas. That's number one, you can do that with a therapist, EMDR, brain spotting, somatic experiencing internal family systems work, those are modalities to help break free of these patterns and heal attachment wounds. And I really encourage you to get someone that specialises in those pieces. Secondly, we have to become more self aware in order to get the courage to be more visible, to not live with feeling like we're dying inside because we're trying to please other people so they don't reject or abandon us. So we got to build up awareness of our triggers of our body sensations and of our emotions. And journaling. You know, I talked about this a lot, but journaling is a great way to begin to to unpack and make sense of what you're feeling, write down. What? What memories come up. When you feel the way you do that need to be healed. Make time for yourself to meet your needs. It's hard to be who you are if you're not tending to who you are. So if I want to heal myself, but I'm neglecting myself, I'm recreating a childhood pattern, I'm not going to be able to do the healing work that's necessary to get to where I want to go. I'm going to be displacing my emotions. If you want to learn more about that, listen to last week's episode, I'll be projecting what I feel onto somebody else, I will be living living in defence mechanisms. And in order to have freedom and relationship to say how we really feel, we have to create ways in communicating that feels safe. So my tone of voice my body language, no, you always never, those words have to be eliminated, do not start off with a you. And you have to watch your defences. It's just part of the journey. And here's the other thing I want to say about creating freedom to be who you are in family systems, which I'm going to be continuing to teach on, because we need more of this. So for example, in my family system, we were cleaning out my mom's house because she recently passed or cleaning out her room. And one of the most liberating things is I did, I took a video on my mom's room because my mom had a shopping. She was a shopaholic. And I took a video of her room to show my two teenage girls, because they wanted to go, they wanted to help and have some items from their grandmother. And before we went, I took a video of my mom's rooms so their nervous systems could at least in some way, be prepared for what they were going to see. We weren't going to catastrophize it, we were going to name it. That is the prevention to catastrophizing is naming what you feel in real time. It allows you to be who you are in real time. So I give my kids the full permission to say how they feel. Any concerns thoughts they have? What is their body telling them? So we watched the video? And then I said, How are you feeling? They said that it's overwhelming. And I said that makes total sense. And to give you a picture, it's almost like walking into QVC store. But it's not organised because she liked makeup and skincare and jewellery and shoes and clothes and purses and things like that. Which is why I'm can make sense of I like simple, simple, not a lot of stuff and attaching to the stuff. So we get there. And we all take deep breaths when we get into the room. I said How you feeling and they're like, this looks like the video. And I said, just let me know how you're feeling throughout the process. If you need a break, it's okay to take a break. And then it was beautiful because I could name that my mom had a shopping addiction. It wasn't a big secret. We're not tiptoeing around it, we're naming it. We don't have to catastrophize things because we're have a name for it. They understand that it's rooted and explain this, that any addiction is rooted in pain and shame.
And typically, it's rooted in attachment wounds that always are trauma of some sort. And so it's really a manifestation of someone's pain. So they could physically see the representation of that. And along the way, they would pull up items and create memories. And one of my daughter ended up taking lots of my mom's sweaters because they're in style now. And she wore them to school. And people are like, Oh, where'd you get your sweater? And she's like, it's my grandmother's. And there was a sense of connection to my mom. It allowed them to connect and be who they are in real time. And what does that mean? That means whatever they feel is okay, it's not wrong or bad to say anything negative about my mom, like we don't have to go ooh, we have to just make my mom be on this pedestal because she was a human being. I'm a human being. You're a human being. Let's stop putting people on pedestals. Let's stop idolising people, because we all have our own issues. We all have pain hurts. It's up to us to own them, heal them grow from them and not repeat the patterns. Even though we will and then we can own it. Acknowledge the hurt it causes. And what this does is it gives you the freedom I'm to feel alive and visible. Because you can handle that someone might not like what you have to say, and you're not being rude, mean or nasty. You're just being you, and you're processing things in real time. So I gave them full permission to say what they wanted to say, they're not going to offend me, I'm not going to go oh, that's mean to say of Mimi. No, they're just trying to process it's okay. You don't have to take it personally. And they could say loving things they could say when they felt overwhelmed, or when they felt sad, or maybe even disgusted. And then one of mine said, Oh, I'm so glad we did this, because I could see myself potentially getting into this had I not had this experience, because now I see what's shopping, and wanting things, and not being able to manage that looks like. And this has been really helpful to me. And we can still love Mimi and still acknowledge Mimi's pain and still acknowledge Mimi's growth areas without it feeling threatening. And it wasn't threatening to me, I could tolerate it. And we could cry and laugh and in have all of our feelings without feeling shame. And my other daughter felt very overwhelmed by it and said, I need a break. And I said good for you good for acknowledging what you need. Take your break. That makes sense. This is a lot. And when we can acknowledge that everybody has their own process. We can have healthier family systems, stop trying to make people have your way of looking at things. I'm telling this because I'm practising this myself. So this doesn't mean like stop and I'm not doing it myself. I'm a parent, I get it. It's important that we are equipping and empowering our children to be able to name what's happening. And they will learn that if you're doing that, so I could name my mom had a shopping addiction. My mom had depression, and didn't had so much shame and to medicate her shame. she shopped. And we could talk through that they could ask me questions. And this isn't me judging my mom, this is me being open, instead of hiding people's issues. And not in a shaming way. It's a very more it's a more compassionate and loving way. It's when we hide things, it turns into shame. What if we could function with more of an open dialogue and family systems that allows you to have an openness and feel like it's okay to be seen in all your parts. And so that's what I'm cultivating in our family. It's like, let's name it. Let's acknowledge that we all have our stuff, including myself, I'm the first to acknowledge that, oh, I'm being intense, and I see how that feels for you. And if they call me out on it, I can feel my defences rise and be like, I am not intense. I'm just passionate and loving. And yet, it's an invitation for me to take a deep breath, work on being defensive and create a safe environment for us to have deeper conversation. I feel like emotional wellness is missing in the world. And what does that mean? It means that we can share if I can connect to my emotions, I can share those emotions in real time. And my thoughts without it feeling threatening to our connection. without it feeling like you're taking it personally. And we are going to take things personally we have to recognise what did that tap into? What inner child emotion did that chap tap into? And it's up to me to sue that. And self regulate that. And so this was a very bonding experience for us. We enjoyed the process, even though it was hard. They want to go back. And one of mine is like I want more books, because my mom loves books. So she has she follows. She loves Princess die, Princess Diana and followed all the Royals. So she has so many books on that. And obviously she's has lots of self help books as my mom was a therapist too. So it's important for us in that conversation to know even though you have a therapist, your therapist has things they're working on or maybe they're not and that's maybe why you're not making headway in therapy not to break, blame the therapist at all because it could be a multitude of other reasons. It's my point here is it's important for the therapist to be doing their own work and with my mom, she really stopped doing her own work, which stunted her ability to have a deeper connection with me and my sister because she She felt threatened by any sense of individuation and separation, which meant different opinions, different thoughts. Not contacting her all the time. That that was her inner child because of her father travelling a lot that she wanted, close contact, and I want close contact with my kids too, there's nothing wrong with that. It's weird that she got mad about if we were busy, or if we had something going on. But really, underneath it was an attachment wound for her. And when we can name the wounds of ourselves, and our family system, not to call people out and judge but so we have an open dialogue. We do this all the time in our family, it's a part of open conversation, I keep using the word open, because transparency is the path to transformation. The more transparency you have the more transformation of generational patterns and traumas you'll have. The more work you do on yourself, the more you'll break patterns and have a healthier sense of being able to separate and individuate, which I have many episodes on as well. So we have to take time for to come full circle back, we have to take time for ourselves. And that I noticed I wasn't doing and that really set me off like I was I needed to continue to take time for myself and meet my own needs moving. So getting more movement in can help you with clarity of thought and motivation. Along with spending some time outside right now it's winter, we're in a season of winter, where you might be slowing things down. And that's okay. Even if you went out and took a couple deep breaths outside, looked at the birds, listen to what you hear to do some centering parts of yourself, so you're less reactive, and less wanting to hide. And we of course, need sleep, less caffeine, alcohol, things along those lines that really throw our nervous systems off. And I think we can also work on our thoughts. But I'm, I'm of the full practice that we thoughts and feelings are so important to notice what you're feeling in your body in your nervous system. So you can have a system that can talk about emotions, is so healing and empowering. And that's a skill that your kids will take with them forever. And even friendships using the word How are you feeling? What's going on for you? What's, what are you going through at the moment, let's get more real with each other. And we can't get real if we're not willing to be visible. It's something I've worked on for years. I still struggle with this. But I would ask all the questions and that really share. It was safer for me. And I felt alone. And it's important that doing the deeper work helps you to be able to be more real, be more honest about how you're feeling with love and grace and have deeper connections. So here's my invitation.
Notice when you want to be invisible and hide, notice when catastrophizing as a defence mechanism comes up and you want to create worst case scenarios which keeps you wanting to be invisible. And instead you're going to work on developing healthier coping mechanisms, which is connecting emotionally working through past traumas being more open about how you feel with safer people. Because if you avoid conflict, you're going to avoid deeper connection. You cannot have deep connection without having deeper conversations. And I hope this podcast equips you on how to do that. Offering empathy and acknowledgement are so empowering and create so much safety and relationships and listening with an open heart instead of telling somebody what your experience was let them share without you jumping in there. And listen to previous episodes. If you need to just listen to some of these on repeat. Please do so share him with a friend. Let's do this in communal fashion and a community of people that have a growth mindset. And just know I'm cheering for you as you're doing this work and I you are changing the world one person at a time. I promise you if we did this, the world would be a different place. You were brave. You are kind. You're courageous. We're loving you are enough and I can't wait to be with you again next week just know I'm rooting for you
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