Sometimes it’s good to talk to yourself
Two weeks ago, my husband had to have emergency brain surgery. Three weeks ago, he had a migraine for the first time in his life. My plans for a smooth 2021 – launching new programs, podcasts and more all went out the window and burst into flames. Oh, I’ll still do all the things, but I find myself picking up pieces and redoing where they fit.
This is a post I want to share because the last few weeks have shown me some staggering truths and wisdom. As enlightened as I like to think I am, having my Curriculum and a coaching practice built around helping women through the same sorts of crises, I found myself completely caught off guard and thrust deep into the same type of emotional paralysis and fear of the future as someone I would coach.
Out of the Blue
When I had to take my husband to the Emergency Room, and sat waiting for any word (thank you, COVID precautions. I couldn’t even be with him and I’m the one with medical training to translate what’s going on for him). Instantly, I was thrust back to age 10 when I lost everything because a typhoon blew away our house. As if that wasn’t bad enough, then I experienced a time in 1978 when my first husband was in an auto accident and taken 45 miles away to the hospital I couldn’t get to because I had a new baby and no wheels. Such fear I felt, such overwhelm, such helplessness!
I was trying to hold on, trying not to let the gut-wrenching feelings get to me as I sat waiting for any word at all in the waiting room of the VA Emergency Room. I felt broken. I did not feel enlightened, or powerful, or even present in that moment. My head was definitely in the past.
However, the difference this time was I knew I was not alone. I had support, I had friends and a daughter who reminded me they were there. They also reminded me I had survived the past traumas and I had tools to deal with what I was feeling now. Bless them!
The following is a coaching conversation I had with myself. I hope you can see how the tools I created and now teach others helped me through this situation and got me back to where I want and need to be.
First, let me explain that my Create Your Life Toolkit is a 4-part course I developed from my own experiences that includes the primary tools to regaining control over the Oughta Pilots that keep you from engaging fully in your life and with your dreams. The four parts are: Living On Oughta Pilot, Watch Your Mouth, Your Subconscious Is Listening, Shake Your Meaning Maker and the Joys of Failure. For those who don’t already know, I coined the term Oughta Pilot for a should or an ought to that controls your actions instead of conscious choices. Running on Oughta Pilot is humming along unconsciously following what you think you should be doing instead of what you want to be doing. My book, Disconnect Your Oughta Pilot, goes into more detail.
As you follow the conversation below, you’ll be able to see what these tools do and how they work. For the conversation, I am designating my questioning self as DeB1.
The First Tool – Oughta Pilots and Why You Want To Disconnect Them
DeB1: WTF? What just happened? OMG How can I possibly cope? I’m going to lose him. How can I take over and manage everything? I don’t know where anything is. He pays the bills, is anything due? SHIT! I just want to scream!
Coach DeB: Stop right there and first take a deep breath. Close your eyes, where are you and what’s happening?
DeB1: I’m several places. I’m standing in the middle of where my home was after it got blown away. I’m being woken up from sleep to be told my first husband was in a car wreck. I’m standing outside my mother’s condo after being told I was disinherited and told to leave everything after she died.
Coach DeB: And is there a common thread?
DeB1: I’m feeling alone and I’m scared because I don’t know what’s coming next.
Coach DeB: And why are you feeling that way? Are you alone?
DeB1: No, not this time.
Coach DeB: And how old are you in those scenarios? What conversations are you having with yourself at each point?
DeB1: The first time we got blown out of our home, I was 10. I was in my mid twenties for the second and in my forties for the last. I remember feeling bewildered at the first because Typhoon Karen came out of nowhere and took everything away I knew. The second time, I was woken out of a sound sleep by my father-in-law banging on my door. I was twigging because at the time I had a young baby and no transportation, the only job I had was at a doughnut shop and paid minimum wage. How would I survive? And the last was feeling betrayed by everyone and life in general. I felt I was truly alone and had no future.
Coach DeB: So, let’s start looking at the very first time you were conscious of feeling this way. Can you see you are still reacting to that instead of what is happening now?
DeB1: But it worked out okay, my parents were there and they made sure I was safe and we rebuilt.
Coach DeB: Yes, but in the moment, that fear was what you remembered first, right? Now, you have the tools available. You created them, you know them. Let’s go through and use them. Is there an Oughta Pilot at work here?
DeB1: The only one that occurs to me is that I should have gotten over this years ago once I knew I was going to be all right.
Coach DeB: Anything else?
DeB1: That I know better how to deal with my past and I should be concentrating on what is happening right now?
Coach DeB: So let’s work through those two Oughta Pilots and see if anything else rises to the surface. The first step is always identifying what Oughta Pilots may be at work in a situation. Then we discern the conversation you’re having with yourself about them, unravel the story you’ve made up about the situation and the conversations and then use what we learn to move forward, right?
Next in Part 2: Watch Your Mouth, Your Subconscious Is Listening – How your self-talk creates your stories.
Where have situations you feel you have overcome come back to haunt you? Where are you expecting a similar situation to arise again? I’d love to see your comments.