Friday, July 1, 2011

     I battle every day.  Most of the time, I battle with a worthy and formidable opponent. She can debate like a politician, she’s very clever, and can at times outsmart me.  The issues we battle over are stress, self-confidence and motivation-- or lack thereof. We even battle over desert—that is whether to eat it or not!  I often win these battles, but there are days when my opponent (did I mention that she’s me?) gets the upper hand. Those are the days when the self-doubt begins to creep up on me, or I feel like I’m not quite up to snuff.  The little voice in the back of my mind begins to second guess my actions, undermining my confidence in the decisions I’ve made.    
     As a survivor, I recognize that fighting the good fight, battling the negative is not only necessary, but it demands constant vigilance; especially when I’m battle worn or just plain tired. Those are the times when I’m more vulnerable and end up losing or giving into those negative thoughts. Those are the times when I end up in the land of “stinky thinking.” Whereas quick recognition of that landscape can give me the upper hand, often times I get there even before realizing where I’m headed.  I’ve been caught there without a road map and can’t seem to navigate my way out.
     When I find myself traveling through this odiferous place, I know that I cannot stay there and walk the survivor’s path at the same time. So, I’ve found my own personal GPS--the person who can help guide me out of the negativity.  And believe me, getting out is necessary to my survival as well as being a survivor.
     I was talking on the phone with my sister one evening. She had asked me how my speaking career was going.  I was not feeling particularly positive that evening, and began a litany of “W’s”—where was I going with this career? What was I thinking? Who was going to want to hear me speak? Before I knew it self-doubt was oozing out of every pore. “I don’t know why I decided to do this,” I intoned.
      Every time my sister tried to insert a positive comment in my self-destructive soliloquy, I countered with two negative ones.  Finally in her best big sister coupled with twenty-five years as an elementary school teacher voice, she said “you need to practice what you preach.”
    “Huh?” She stopped me dead in my whiny tracks.  “You’re right!” She had interrupted my continual loop of self-doubt, fear, and feelings of not being good enough. How could I have let that negativity sneak into my being?  How could I talk about being a survivor when I was surrounding myself in negative thoughts?  But, instead of berating myself (another form of stinky thinking) I cut myself a break. I’m human and no one is immune to negative thinking; we all get stuck in the land of stinky thinking periodically.  
     The good news for me was that I was complaining to the absolute right person. She helped me get back on track—to get back on the horse called “survivor.”  I have said it before,” no one survives alone.”  Having someone who will not, under any circumstances, get lost in the land of stinky thinking with you is imperative to your staying true to yourself, to that survivor within you.
     So if you’re feeling those tendrils of self-doubt, stress, or lack of motivation trying to wrap around your resolve, or you find yourself in a downward cycle of negativity, call out your inner-warrior. And if you need help in the battle call the person who won’t let you get stuck in the muck of negativity.
     Being a survivor means going to battle, utilizing your resources to win that battle, and continuing on the path free from the stench of stinky thinking. 
     As far as desert goes…can’t help you there. Chocolate almost always wins out at my house!

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