Dr. Marsha Linehan, neuroscientist and founder of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) said that “Emotions love themselves. They perpetuate themselves. Mood creates momentum.” For decades, she examined the relationship between feelings, actions, and thoughts.
Here’s what Dr. Linehan means when she said that mood creates momentum. We stew in anger, create in liberation, hide in fear, expand in relief, and wonder in inspiration. Sound familiar?
Dr. Linehan also analyzes the stories we tell ourselves and become the thoughts that perpetuate our actions. What do I do and not do when I think that I will not be able to find a job, keep a healthy routine, or succeed in business? What do I do or not do when I think that is it possible to find a job that I would enjoy, develop and keep a healthy routine, or learn to succeed in business?
These patterns yield different results.
Lest you think that I am about to launch into a toxic positivity diatribe, stick with me. That’s not about to happen.
I’m here to share that the stories we tell about ourselves just might become the reality that we believe about ourselves. I want each of us to live a life of our design and that’s why I take on the patriarchy and the other systems that teach us all sorts of lessons about what is(n’t) possible based on our gender.
The patriarchy is an organizing mechanism designed to keep folx in line and the conditioning starts at an early age. That box checked on the birth certificate can become the box that we try to contort ourselves into even when we outgrow it.
Every single human carries a belief that they inherited. The thing is that when we realize we are not stuck, we regain our power to accept or reject any narrative at any time. We break out of the box.
Girls are bad at math.
Women cannot vote.
People who identify as women must all follow certain beauty rules.
We need someone to save us.
Dr. Linehan’s research became personal for me over the last year because I was stuck behind a label for decades. The shame I felt about it compounded the struggle making it even harder for me to disrupt my downward momentum. I hid my story to deeply that many people would never have guessed that it was part of my operating system. Sometimes I didn’t even know that it was a belief because I believed it so much.
See how that works?
I’ve been disrupting the story that told me I was not allowed to think, act, decide, or explore outside of proscribed expectations. It also told me that I would experience punishment that I could not handle if I broke the rules.
Can you imagine how terrified feminist me felt when taking risks and speaking up? I did not feel brave. Conversely, I felt like a victim, which perpetuated fear and smallness.
That was my momentum. Instead of building strength in self-trust, I build up disempowerment.
The best part of my story is that now that I know how to build different momentum, I continue to shift if different areas of my life. This means that I can also coach trailblazing women to take up space in their lives. I understand the fear because I know the research and because I lived it.
You are not stuck.