Who doesn’t love a good party?
Especially one that has tons of people having a good time. But what about the party in our heads? You know, the ones with tons of unwelcome and uninvited guests—party crashers—AKA — Mr. Doubt and Ms. Insecurity. The worrier, the complainer, Mr. and Mrs. Guilt, and of course, their twin daughters, Shame-la and Shy-la.
Some of our uninvited guests’ party in our heads all day long throwing down bass-thumping beats louder than a step kids 12″ woofers on a Friday night. Others become squatters trying to steal our peace by never leaving. They are out of control and have turned our ideal vision of a quiet night at home into a nightmare.
How do we turn off the voices? How do we make them leave? Pull the covers over our ears? Call the cops?
How did they even get here?
Well, there’s part of the problem. Like the folklore of vampire movies, once we invite them in we indirectly and unwittingly give them permission to wreak havoc in our lives. To suck the life out of any dreams or visions we have. They are not there to build you up or encourage you to try harder. They are there to destroy you. To make you their bitch.
These voices and we all have many, are there to keep us stuck. In a pot of self-pity, worry, and low self-esteem. Their number one job is like that of the other crabs in the pot — to pull us back in, possibly costing us a claw or a leg as we struggle to break free.
It’s our own fault. After all, we smelled the bait and fell for the trap. The lure of ease and comfort to satisfy our hunger was tantalizing enough for us to slither through the small opening to feast on what we thought would be a good meal. Only one problem, before we knew it we were trapped. In the crab pot of our own mind. God forbid the other crabs should let anyone escape the confines of their self-imposed prison.
What do we do to break free? Can we call 911 and say we are trapped and need help? That’s one way, but I doubt that you could get cell service where you are—lost in a desert of self-imposed fear.
Another option is to fight and claw and try to sweep away these voices that say you aren’t good enough, that you will never amount to anything that you are not smart. You are fat and ugly or stupid and you never should have done that. Whatever that is.
You know. And you worry that others will find out who you are, nothing but a poser, an imposter living in a crowded house of negativity. Like bosses or mates or parents, the voices are haunting and continue to criticize you as they have most of your life.
Then there are your own voices. The ones you hear and see when you look in the mirror every morning. The ones you wish were different but you are not yet courageous enough to change the reflection, the perspective. So you linger awhile longer groveling in self-pity. Some of us even turn up the volume and listen louder.
No matter how many times you have tried to overcome these ill feelings and unwelcome joy parasites, they keep coming back and now they won’t leave. So, what do you do?
If you can’t beat them, join them. Get into the muck with them and roll around like a happy pig in shit.
Feel all the angst and hurt and anger that you have been stuffing for years. Kick and cry and scream and shout. Experience your feelings as deeply as you can. Let them all out.
What? Are you serious? That’s fn crazy talk.
Yes, it is and so are the lies you keep telling yourself and listening to as you have for years.
Yes, throw yourself a pity party. Drink deeply from the goblet of lies and guilt and shame, that tells you you are a piece of shit.
Know what it’s like. Embrace the disgust you feel about yourself and your decisions and think of all the reasons why it’s true. All of it. Own your thoughts and feelings. Fondle them. Curl up in a ball and cuddle them. After all, you know them better than anyone. They are your friends in the sense that they have provided you temporary comfort and relief just like the half pint of chunky monkey or a shot of tequila when you feel down. They know their role and take it seriously, but there will come a time, just as with a toddler’s binky, that you need to let them go. Sayonara. Hasta La Vista, and unlike Arnie- do not let them get the last words in: “I’ll be back.”
No torch them send them into the black hole of space like the alien invaders they are. Torch those Mfers!
Just not yet. You need to make sure they didn’t lay eggs.
Even when you think you are done feeling all the crap you can, think harder. Look into every nook and cranny searching for all the bad things you think and feel and say about yourself and own them. Play with them one last time, then say goodbye and let them go.
By the time you have exhausted everything that you do not like about yourself, you will have nothing left to tear you down, unless you choose to.
Or until the next fearful moment approaches that you are not courageous enough to face it and instead deny its existence or run from it or procrastinate doing anything to stop it dead in its tracks.
Most of all as these events happen do not invite them in to visit. Treat them like you would a telemarketer or door-to-door evangelist — Thank you. Not interested. Hang up the phone and close the door on them. Better yet, don’t answer it in the first place.
How hard is that?
It sounds super easy and even crazy but believe it or not, once you embrace your shortcomings and stop denying their existence, they lose their power over you.
So throw the biggest, baddest, pity party you can imagine, and then clean up the mess and get on with your life. Call it a retirement party or going away party or a celebration life. Whatever you decide, don’t let the voices own you.
If you would like to learn more about specific steps to move past these self-defeating and deprecating thoughts you have look me up.
* Note I am not a psychologist and all of the advice in this post is based on shit I have done when I feel down.
If you are deeply depressed seek professional help. This is in no way meant to minimize your pain or resolve it if you need medical and professional attention.
For all the rest of us, give it a shot. The cathartic process of owning our shortcomings definitely weakens the grip they have on us.
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