In-between thoughts: trusting myself

Thoughts in-between sets at the gym.

OH MY GOSH WHY DID I TAKE A MONTH OFF FROM LIFTING. That was so dumb. So, so dumb. I am markedly weaker. But I guess this gives me a goal (my former strength waahh) so I’ll embrace it.

Also, only one of my Bluetooth ear buds is working. This is very annoying. MY LIFE IS VERY HARD TODAY.

It’s also been a while since I’ve blogged (definitely related to the fact that it’s been a while since I’ve gone to the gym OH NOOOO), and even that post was more silly than anything. This semester, this time of life, is eating my brain. I feel totally overwhelmed and am trying to figure out how to navigate it all.

Part of that navigation is me realizing that I am possibly over the limit of what I can do and survive. In addition to working full-time and getting my PhD part-time, I have a lot of relational and emotional stressors that are too private for this blog (no offense to the three of you reading). So I’m trying to figure out what to change. I know something needs to change and I have some good ideas about what those things are, but I don’t yet know for sure what my gut is telling me I should change.

Whereas in the past I’d go off halfcocked, flinging reactionary changes around like confetti, right now I’m trying to sit in this discomfort, this struggle, this pain, this anxiety, and let it be for a while without making any changes. I’m letting the overwhelm and anxiety be my state of being, even though I know I could do something to alleviate it. But would the something I think of know actually make the long-lasting fix? Or would it potentially lead to future regret and more pain? I’m sitting in this difficult time to understand and examine all the things that are contributing to this weight and whether or not they are all serving my best interests and wellbeing in the long run. I’m asking myself “what is this telling me? what need is this expressing?” As usual, I need to give my language brain the time and space to translate the message my emotional brain is sending it about what’s going on. My emotional brain picks up on EVERYTHING but unfortunately my language brain is a little slow on the uptake, so it needs time, people. Give it a cookie for its hard work.

Even with this inner turmoil going on, I still feel remarkably good being intentionally non-reactive. I feel better than I ever have, in times of similar turmoil. I think, in part, this is because this “pausing” is part of my process of learning how, and even starting, to trust myself. In embracing this time of struggle and using it to unearth what’s going on on a deeper level, I’m actively trusting myself to see situations clearly. I’m also acting on a belief (that I may not have in full yet) that I trust myself to be able to take care of myself through the turmoil, in the in-between time, without making external changes. This in-between time is so important for me to build trust in myself.

Who knew “in-between thoughts” would apply to more than my pullup sets.

Of course, I am such a doer, that this in-between time is definitely not without its own occasional bit of angst. If I see something wrong, or sense that “something” is wrong, my strongest instinct is to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I want to fix it. I have such a strong sense of justice that letting harmful situations and states continue has always been difficult for me. What makes the non-action possible for me is my conviction that it is far better to wait and figure out what the right change is rather than make well-intentioned but unvetted (and possibly more harmful) changes. Not acting on my strong emotions and anxiety does not mean that I’m dismissing them or ignoring them. It means I am taking them seriously enough to try to understand them in order to make the best decision possible.

I’m learning how to appreciate and value the times where I know something needs to change but am not yet able (or ready) to articulate what that change is. I am keeping myself in a profound state of openness, and keeping myself from making the “easy” reactive decision that might actually keep me from addressing the harder, deeper, more real change needed. Oftentimes we act in one area so we don’t have to face what’s really going on in another. Acting becomes a stand-in for transformation, and we can use it as an avoidance tactic. (I have ALL the avoidance tactics down to a science, trust.)

And it is worth repeating, this all this comes back to trusting myself. I was not raised to trust myself. I was raised distinctly NOT to trust myself. I am a helpless sinner. I can’t tell what is true without the Bible (or my dad). All my urges are evil and of the body and I should feel bad for being who I am. How can anyone really trust themselves with that upbringing?

I know now that I am my best advocate. If I can learn to trust what my gut is telling me, with a stance of humble curiosity (letting my emotions lead me to ask better questions), then I will be fine. Things and life and relationships will be hard, but I will be fine. I can take care of me throughout everything. I can make the hard decisions that this in-between time reveals because I have my own back and I am the best person to protect and care for me. But I have to trust myself before I can be my best ally. So I’m giving myself plenty of in-between time to let me demonstrate to me why I am trustworthy, to give myself the time and space to make my most authentic, perceptive voice understood to myself before I act.

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