Over the past few years I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by some amazing and dynamic women who have been positive influences in my life spiritually, professionally, emotionally and intellectually. I have learned a great deal from them and have always wanted to somehow package and share all the beautiful lessons I have learned. So this time I decided to formally approach some of the women in my life with one simple question: “If you had the opportunity to share one piece of advice with your younger self, what would it be?” I was both overwhelmed and excited by their responses and thought it would be great to share some of the advice I received in two separate postings.
A dear friend of mine Dr. Susan Stemmler, PhD, CNM who is a Women’s Health Specialist and Nurse Midwife in Los Angeles shared with me some wonderful pieces of advice on how women can combat negative thinking.
“A friend asked me to write what I thought might be a good piece of advice for young women. I pondered just a bit and began to remember when I was a young woman. Granted, times were different, but people are still people, and young people are probably more the same than different as young adults. So, I recalled when I was a young woman of about 20. I wanted to make my own way, to make a difference in the world, and to be thought of as an adult. Is that so different from now???
Most times things happened as I expected, but there were times when things were out of my control. Occasionally, I felt bad when things did not turn out how I envisioned them. Usually, it was easy to regroup and try again or adjust how I was doing something to make it work again.
Then, on a rare occasion I thought it was all going wrong! Shot to ***!! When it happened it was worse when it involved people I cared about. With things, I never got so upset. But with people, what I did or said or thought, always seemed to be an important thing.
Trying to deal with the problem, I would think about it, and then rethink it over and over and over. I found that sometimes I had thoughts that would begin to eat away at me. The thoughts hurt. They took my confidence away, and they made me think I was bad or wrong or at least not my strong self.
What I needed to learn was that all the negative talk in my head wasn't necessarily true!
Much of the time, our minds make things seem much worse than they are!! Our minds exaggerate the bad! Crazy mind, it plays judge, jury and executioner, all at once. For some of use, it is actually harder to accept the good about ourselves than to think we are at fault. I think this happens more to women than to me (just my thought!) Women want to do right, be right, and think we are kind, whether we are or not! Anyway, back to the negative talk. Negative head talk is super critical. It takes a toll on our self-esteem. To get past this life sucking, miserable feeling, we need to learn is how to tell the difference about what is really going and what is exaggerated by our minds. Notice what your mind tells you, our minds usually like to do the same things over and over again. ASK yourself--Is it exaggerated negative talk or did I act wrongly, unfairly, or ________( You can use your own word to describe your action.)
So, when this happens, there are some RULES to remember. Most of the time they work.
Remember your perspective. A poor judgment isn't the end of the world. Everybody makes a poor decision from time to time--It's a human thing! We need to forgive ourselves for getting involved in a funky situation.
Evaluate. Usually the problem isn't nearly as bad as we thought! Most mistakes can be corrected.
Do the right thing. If there is a way to fix it, then fix it. Do what you can to make a correction.
Remember the “Sands of Time.” Sometimes, things do really turn out crummy. The crummy only lasts for a while. It’s a really heavy burden to carry a mistake around; it slows us down, and gets in our way. Anyway, things, whether they are bad or good, all go away in a very short time.
See it for what it is. Reliving a situation over and over again in our minds is self-destructive.
Apologize. Usually it helps to say I am sorry. Saying “I’m sorry” gives the other person an opportunity to reconsider who you are! They give themselves another chance to experience you. So you get a fresh start, to be the “good person they originally thought you were. Other people have very short memories. People forgive and forget far sooner than we forgive ourselves, most times.
Give yourself another chance. Say, I forgive me! Say, I messed up, Say, I made a mistake. I’m human. Then… say a positive affirmation, repeat it again and again, “I am a good person, and I forgive me.” When we forgive ourselves, we make a decision that allow us to move on.
Learn from a mistake. It helps when we learn from our mistakes. Most of us know not to do that one again, ‘cause we already know the crummy outcome. So we learned!
Then, move on. That is a great thing about being human, we can move on. We move on to be better human beings for having made the mistake. It was what we learned after making the mistake that makes us wise. We learn to trust ourselves to make a better choice for the next time.”