It’s ok to not be ok. Also, self talk.

It’s ok to not be ok.
I repeat.
It’s ok to not be ok.

It’s what you do with not being ok that makes a difference.

The past weekend/week I have not been ok. There have been growing pains and struggles at work. I went with a friend to have her dog put down. There are personal struggles with family. We’re toying with the decision to homeschool Issa instead of putting her in the school we are deeply connected to. Some of our good friends and Issa’s good friends are moving away.

I could freak out. I could yell at Bill and be short and curt with my daughter. I could self talk myself into a state of depression. I could sit here and tell myself I’m not good at my job, its my fault I didn’t get the years with Sam (our lab we lost in the fire), we can’t homeschool what experience do we have, you’re going to lose your connections to friends you’ve made at her school if you leave, your friends are moving and you’ll never see them again, all the choices you make are going to screw up your daughter, you’re just been pretending you know what you’re doing at work and now they’re figuring it out, oh and the pandemic, what if you get COVID and kill all your family. No pressure.

Self talk is hella loud.

You are your worst critic. And she’s freaking mean.

Instead of giving in to the first reactions and the self talk, I looked at Bill on Monday morning, after I’d already processed some things over the weekend and said, “Bill, I need you to know my head is in a weird place. I’m having a lot of feelings and thoughts. I’m navigating through them, but I just need you to know. Also none of it is about you. We’re good.”

Telling him this helped. It helped me because I knew I wasn’t stewing in it all alone, now I had someone to help me. It helped him because it let him know A. I’m in a weird place, be kind to me, I might need you more. B. It’s not about you so you don’t need to self talk yourself into your own weird headspace wondering if I’m upset at you or if there’s something you did.

Brené Brown calls this self talk thing “the story I’m telling myself”. By letting Bill know that stuff was happening in my head and it wasn’t about him, it didn’t even give his brain a chance to start the self talk and start telling himself a story.

I need to say right now, this is learned behavior. We don’t always do it this way! It took a lot of work to step outside ourselves and say, I love this person so when my brain is in a weird place I need to tell them because I trust that when I’m vulnerable with them they will not lash out at me, but support me.

His response to me was something along the lines of, “ok let me know when you want to talk about it.” That response lets me know its ok for me to keep processing in my head, but also, he’s here for me when I’m ready.

With self talk, sometimes I have to shut it down right away. Other times I have to entertain the thought for a while. Let’s take the “you’re pretending to be good at your job” for example. I combat it with you are good at your job, people wouldn’t hire you if you weren’t. People wouldn’t consult you for advice in your field regularly. People wouldn’t sign up for your classes if you had nothing good to contribute. The things you do well are X, Y, Z. Also, you are aware that you don’t know everything, but you’re constantly in a state of learning and growth in your career and your knowledge about your industry. This is a good thing. You are good at this. You are doing what you were meant to do. And oh yeah, you love it.

Once I pull out of the self talk (and sometimes with Bill’s help) I try to examine where that came from. Why did I go to that place? Logically I know I’m good at my job and I know what I’m doing. Why did my interior self slap around my exterior self, so to speak? What triggered that self talk? Then I think about the bad jobs I’ve had in the past, or bad clients, or the experiences with bad bosses. I identify that there might be some hurt and insecurities built into me from those experiences and I need to examine them. In some ways I have to relive them in my own mind and process them consciously, where maybe in the hurt of the moment when they happened I couldn’t.

That’s the hard part and the work. The part where you go, I experienced this thing and even though it was little and SO long ago, it affects me in this way now. It’s hard to admit that. Sometimes when I do, it makes me feel weak, because I again, self talk my way into thinking “how could you let such a little thing back then affect you so much now, gosh you’re weak and simple minded.”

Damn that critic is mean.

We’re constantly a piece in motion. It’s no coincidence that the bible repeatedly refers to us as clay, forever moldable. Like it does a lot, look it up. God formed us, but we also have the opportunity to form ourselves. And hot dang is that a cool thing.

Get to sculpting friends. Make the changes you want to make, even if they’re hard and take work.