I’ve been wanting to write a new blog post for the past few weeks, but I just felt… stuck. I don’t feel right crediting writers block for my lack of blogging, not necessarily because I’m not a writer, but because I know deep down that this explanation isn’t honest. Since my last post, I’ve had thoughts and ideas on what topics I could write about. I’ve had “ah ha” moments where I’d think of a clever statement I could make while writing. But I didn’t follow through and write about social anxiety or abusive relationships or any of the other ideas that I had. I didn’t write because my thoughts were getting the best of me.
What does she mean that her thoughts were getting the best of her? Isn’t she a counselor? Isn’t being ahead of and on top of her problems supposed to be, like, her thing? Didn’t she go to school for all those years to learn about being the type of person who could put life’s stress aside and help other people? While parts of these statements may have reflections of truth in them, I am not a robot.
So, when I say my thoughts were getting the best of me, what I mean is that my insecurities were taking center stage. You see, I took a leap of faith to pursue my dreams of opening a private practice and I haven’t regretted this one bit. But with this I’ve invited a few more stressors into my life, at least temporarily. Also, my life is just like everyone else’s, meaning I experience my own personal life stressors. And get this, because things felt a little more stressful, my insecurities started gaining power and, before I knew it, my thinking shifted from “oh, that’d be a neat thing to blog about” to “you have too much going on and are too stressed to write anything worth sharing with others.” My thinking betrayed me.
I have a few activities and educational material that I use with clients who have similar issues with their thinking. My favorite worksheet has 10 types of unhelpful thinking styles with simple illustrations to help describe each style of thinking. You might be asking yourself, there are that many ways that my thinking can mess with me?! Yes, and I routinely share with my clients that I experience the majority of each of these on any given day. I pulled out this worksheet because I wanted to identify exactly which of the types of thinking I’d been doing myself. Here’s what I came up with:
· Mental filter – I was only giving credit to feeling stressed, not putting any mental energy into expanding on my ideas or writing anything.
· Emotional reasoning – Believing that because I was having trouble focusing my ideas that I was a bad writer with nothing to offer.
· Fortune telling – Thinking that no one would enjoy or learn from what I had to write.
These beliefs are not true, and it took me a while to realize that my thinking was up to some trickery. During the weeks that I was slowly convincing myself that I was not in the right frame of mind to write, I was aware I felt more stressed and had been doing relaxation training and mindfulness exercises. But it wasn’t until I was confronted with the realization that I didn’t think I was good enough to write something worth reading that I felt better and more at peace. My mind shifted to thoughts that were more realistic, supportive, and empowering.
Our thoughts become our beliefs, and if we allow ourselves to think fear-based, limiting thoughts then we risk believing that we are limited, insignificant people. No one wants this and we should keep a close eye on our patterns of thinking, especially when life gets a little tough and scary. If your insecurities are running the show in your life it’s time to get to know them and give them a smaller role.