Written Sept 13, 2017:
I’m going to tell you something I’ve been telling myself for about a year now. If you’re anything like me, you should probably start telling yourself, too. Just sayin’.
I HAVE NOTHING. OR…I HAVE NOTHING HOLDING ME BACK.
Spend about a minute or so chewing on this. You can interchange “nothing to holding me back” with “nothing to lose” if that makes more sense to you.
Why is this any different from all the millions of quotes and platitudes you could plaster on your walls or retweet or screen shot from Instagram? Well, it’s not when you look at it like that. But how many of those do you see, feel awesome and empowered by for like three seconds and then boom, another shoe drops and you’re back to your sad face? This is different because it’s more than a platitude. It’s a conversation you have with yourself. It requires more than reading and nodding. It requires a choice to be made.
If you are like me (bless you if so), you talk to yourself. You talk to yourself in ways that you would never let anyone else talk to you. You talk to yourself while other people are talking to you, when they are not around, when you are in church or in the gym or about to fall asleep. You wag your finger at you. You betray you. You slam you. You shake your head at you. You laugh at you. You belittle you. Lordy, it’s exhausting. So, yeah, you’re there. Alllll the time. Might as well have a real conversation, not just a one-sided beat down. With this quote, you have to decide. A or B.
I have nothing.I have nothing holding me back.
It’s amazing how posing the question and giving multiple choices forces your brain/heart/soul to function properly.
Now, I realize the drama that lies in the three words “I have nothing.” Hear me: I do not mean it literally. I am talking about the way your brain has most likely made you feel. In the wake of a big life change or a long road, sometimes it feels like you have nothing to show for all the work you have done. Or nothing to show for all the shit you’ve been through. Nothing you want to show, any way.
And then you get to the compare game. You might be sitting there with this book thinking “Ashlyne, not only do I have a lot more than nothing, but I have so much more than other people out there. I can’t choose between A or B I can’t play this game with you.” I URGE YOU TO RECONSIDER. When you tell yourself you’re not allowed to play this game…because of word choice… you cheat yourself out of getting through the whole thing. Odds are if you're on this site at all you still feel like crap. So, my encouragement is simple: stop comparing shit shows. Like now.
My shit show might be way less terrible than yours. Or it might be worse. I don’t know. I don’t care. Not because I don’t care about you, but because holding your show up next to mine simply doesn’t serve either of us. It stalls us. It creates another problem on top of the original problem, one that can shame us out of ever actually dealing with the original problem.
Have you ever had someone say to you “Oh, that’s nothing. Listen to what happened to me.” or “That’s not as bad as how I had it.”
It implies, either implicitly or explicitly, that you should just wash your hands of your experience, let it go, be grateful even! Do you wash your hands of it? Can you even begin to? Hell no! Because it doesn't work that way! Just because someone tells you to let go of it or not worry about it means NOTHING. You can’t un-hurt on command, so you might as well stop pretending that feature will be included in the next iPhone update. It’s not coming.
You only have one shit show, and it’s yours alone. No one else is living it, not even your family, friends, partner, children, whatever. No one else lives in your show, so no one else gets to tell you how to work through your show.
So, when I put these two choices in front of you: A or B, I’m asking you to pose the question to yourself in theory. I’m asking you to ask yourself how you’re currently looking at your life. Are you simply not asking yourself to choose because you don’t think you even get to play? Or if you’re past that part, and you’re playing my little game, are you letting yourself really step back to look?
For me, this choice forces my ego and anger to step back and really see the situation. Yes, it sucks. Today, yesterday, and probably still will tomorrow. But…hey, you’re still alive. Once you really step back and look at your life, you see the major gaps in how you want to feel vs. how you really feel.
Choose B. Choose B because you have hope. Choose B because choosing A means you will be here, in the hot swirl of pain, even longer. Choose B because you actually do have a choice here. You can’t choose your circumstances, but you can choose not to dwell in them forever. It’s not magic. It’s not an instantaneous happy zap. But it’s a shift. And that, ladies and gentleman, is the beginning of a new life.
One more thing to add to this comparison game: when you spend time comparing your life to everyone else’s, you think in terms of the word should. Should will never materialize into done or taken care of. Should will always remind you of a lesser version of you or someone you’ll never be. Ask people affected by depression or PTSD…should doesn’t help anything. Instead of should, let’s focus on could. I don’t have the scientific or psychology to back this up, but isn’t the word could so much sweeter? Should is condemning in a way, don’t you think? Could opens up possibilities. Could is more innocent and way more helpful to your journey back to a baseline.
Should comes from comparing your shit show to someone else’s. So, I think you SHOULD stop. :)
And you SHOULD choose B.
A) I have nothing.
B) I have nothing holding me back.