|Think back to a time when you intended to relax, but you couldn’t sit still.|
|Remember when you planned to take a vacation but started to worry about all sorts of unrelated things?|
This “unpredictable” negative self-talk happened to me recently when I stayed in Croatia for a month. (Ok. It didn’t happen TO me. My brain was an active participant.). I went with a perfectionist fantasy that I would read several books and write lots of content while I was there. I expected to feel relaxed. I thought I would sink into a slower pace and relish each moment (and every bite of food). However, I also experienced a continuous feeling of discomfort that I felt physically in my body. It wasn’t until I sat with it for about three weeks that I was able to identify the thought: “I’m doing something wrong.”
This thought pattern is a doozie for people socialized as women because it stems from patriarchal norms intended to keep everyone in their narrow gender lanes. Once again, I was surprised to see just how deeply the patriarchal expectations that I learned as a child still linger in my brain. I’m aware of most of them, but this one clamored loudly. It’s not a problem. It felt uncomfortable and pretty awful a few times, but now I see it. Of course, my brain would tell me, a woman, mother, spouse, friend, worker, and American, I was violating all the codes by living in Croatia for a month. I was upending all the gender rules that the people in my life taught me. The discomfort is a sign that I’m not letting the old thoughts make my decisions and that they still need a little love.
My patriarchal conditioning and my feminist critical thinking skills don’t agree with one another. I call this thought layering which occurs when we add new beliefs on top of the old ones.That is why your mind races when you try to nap even though your brain knows that your body needs rest. It’s why you ruminate over finances when you plan to take a relaxing hike in the woods. And, it is why you skip celebrating your success and start thinking about the next challenge.
I help my clients set and achieve goals while unearthing the limiting beliefs that no longer align with their transformation.