It’s all part of the process

Post by Laura Summers for the Love for Love series.

mug created by TwentySevenThings on Etsy

It’s no fucking joke. This business of getting “in touch” with yourself is a bitch. A few posts back, I made the life altering admission that I have been an unfaithful partner in my life. That statement, while healing, also created a need; a need to live worthy of the liberation I felt in that moment. What I did in the past, although it helped shape the Me of the Present – does not have to define the Me of the Future.

The most difficult part of the work of self-improvement is staying present. Paying attention to the things I’m thinking in the moments I’m not thinking, and acknowledging the power of those thoughts to either work for me or against me. With practice, I’ve gotten pretty good at catching myself when I start to get too far ahead or too far behind.

However, reigning myself back to the present can sometimes prove overwhelming. One such moment recently had me so far into a spiral of despair that I truly believed I needed to go the Emergency Room. I was clearly having an anxiety attack triggered solely by an episode of food poisoning. Somehow, my mind, powerful as ever, had managed to twist the discomfort and general feeling of unwell, into something life-threatening. In short order, I had gone from vomiting to dying.

I hadn’t immediately realized the loss of control was in my own mind. It felt so familiar. After all, I had spent years allowing the mechanism of irrational thought to determine how I would behave. This night, I had to dig deep. I had to grab hold of every sane fiber of my being and get my shit together. I knew I was spiraling when I started to think of how alone I felt. I say “how alone I felt” because at that point I lost all ability to function rationally. I had started to think of how alone I AM. Change one word in that sentence and it changes the perspective dramatically.

Drawing upon every therapy session I’ve ever participated in, I called to mind the one suggestion that has saved my soul on several occasions:

Learn to sit with the discomfort. 

Sitting with the discomfort of feeling alone, allowing it to flow through me instead of getting stuck in my head and my heart felt like an eternity. It wasn’t. Within moments, I was able to get myself into a normal breathing pattern, and as that discomfort passed through my body, I regained control of rational thought, which went a little something like: “I am not alone. There are plenty of people who love and care for me. All of those people are just a phone call away, and many of them would get in their cars and come to my aid if I am brave enough to ask. More importantly, I am not dying. I am puking. Who calls their friends to come sit with them while they have food poisoning?” And, it was there, in that brief self-talk, that I found my power.

I am under no delusion to believe that there won’t be moments like that in the future, or that I won’t lose it for a while before getting it together. But that’s okay. Acknowledgement, Sitting with the Discomfort, and Loving Myself through it, is all part of the process.

Finding that honesty was ALWAYS the best policy and that forgiveness is a gift she strives to live in line with those values. 

Mama to a college quarterback and a rescue pup, she finds joy in a touchdown pass and go fetch. 

Ever working on improving herself, she’ll finally have that bachelors degree in the Spring.

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