• j.mee

Say it out loud.

Circling thoughts can lead to panic

I was a great student. Studies came easy to me. Writing came easy to me. Tests came easy to me. I was diligent, I did the work asked of me, and I understood how to apply that work from one idea to another. I did great.

I enjoyed school. School enjoyed me. Teachers would say I was a pleasure to have in class. Of course I was. I did all my work and I never talked back.

I would be a life long student if I could... but... learning doesn't pay the bills.

And, worse, it turns out, all that success as a student didn't set me up to be particularly successful as a non-student.

I am not very resilient.

There's good reason for this. I never needed to be resilient. Growing up, I accomplished everything first try. I succeeded. I got a gold star, a pat on the head and moved on. But, somehow, outside of school, the projects have become exponentially bigger, with complicated requirements and steep learning curves, and there's no one waiting at the finish to tell me how well I've done. I need to tell myself.

And some of these complicated requirements and steep learning curves simply cannot be accomplished on my first try. Or my second.

This is where some much-needed resilience needs to kick in. Instead, I'm greeted with panic. But, I've learned, this result is the difference between my inside and outside voice.

When I start to feel overwhelmed, I now recognize, it's time to speak my fears or even my to-do list out loud. It needs to be out loud. When you say something out loud, it sounds like this: I need to export those 12 wav files and upload them to google docs, and one or two might need re-jigging.

If you say it in your head, it sounds like this: I need to export those 12 wav files and upload them to google docs. If I don't my whole career as a writer will be over!! And one or two or all of them might need re-jigging and the fact that they weren't perfect the first time PROVES that I'm a terrible writer and I'll never amount to anything. And I probably can't fix them, anyway. And I have no idea where to start.

Seriously, that's how my inside voice sounds.

And it's confusing, because the accurate information is in there, I need to do step A and step B and possibly even C, but those truths are mixed with all sorts of unhelpful, unnecessary, unfounded hyperbole. And as the thoughts are circling over and over again, it's hard to be clear about which pieces are true and which pieces are false, so I start to think it's all true. Hence, the panic sets in.

The easiest way to relieve that panic and differentiate the truth from the false, is by saying the words out loud. In the light of day, those swirling thoughts become much, much clearer. After all, I would never let a friend get away with making such foolish, brash, unfounded statements about him or herself, so why would I let my brain?

I won't.

And you shouldn't either. If you're struggling between resilience and panic? State your tasks out loud.

#resilience #todolist #panic #insidevoice

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