What you do matters. What you want matters. How you feel matters.
I’m ready to start my list and I figured out why it is so difficult. Remember those stuck points from cognitive processing therapy? It seems I am still stuck, big time, on a major one.
“It doesn’t matter” or, related but even bigger,”I don’t matter”
Those two thoughts run rampant in my head, causing downward spirals into negative thinking, but even worse, causing numbness, thoughts of worthlessness, causing my protective shields to go up full force and dissociation to engage.
How do I get past this one when it is so huge? I need to build off those sparks I wrote about previously. Those moments when life sneaks through and I do feel something. I must be in here. And then I parent myself. What if my daughter had no desires? What if she thought it didn’t matter what she wanted? What if she thought she didn’t matter?
Okay. Wow. That hurts, unbelievably so. To even imagine for a moment another child having these thoughts is unbearably painful and brings tears to my eyes. But for me – for me it is truth. Okay. So this is how I will get my motivation and feel something, and get my head on straight. I’ll tap into this pain, because this pain is feeling alive. This pain brings me strength as it washes over me and I realize if only for a moment that if my beautiful children matter, then I must have to. I must still matter. It is just so hard to hold onto that. And now I know I matter most because I have taught my children they do matter. They know it in every cell. They will never question it or hear this in their heads. And I matter to Hubby. I now understand his pain when I say I don’t. Wow. Okay.
So if I take that realization, that raw emotion, my inner strength – how do I make a list of what I want? This is still really hard….
Stop Settling for “I Don’t Care, I Don’t Know, and It Doesn’t Matter to Me.”
It doesn’t matter how small the decision, to begin reclaiming your right to decide what you want, have a preference. Yours is just as important as anybody else’s so speak up, voice yourself.
If you are having a hard time figuring out the one thing you want from your life, why not choose thirty? That’s right. On a piece of paper, write down a list of 30 things you want to do, 30 things you want to have, and 30 things you want be before you die. Sometimes when the pressure to find just one thing is removed, the floodgates open and you discover that there are a multitude of things that you want to do with and in your successful life.
Make an “I want” List
For 10-15 minutes have a friend record your answers to the simple question, “What do you want?” During the allotted time, have your friend ask you the question over and over again. If you’re like most people, your list will range from the very material things to matters of the heart and the true revelations of who you are and what you want from your most true self. Go ahead, start asking: What do you want? What do you want? I want! I want!
So I’ve been trying to trick myself. Ask what I want (what I really really want, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want (sorry for the Spice Girls intrusion)) so quickly that I get a response before my stuck points engage and all my defenses kick in.
I also saw a comment on that page that helped a bit
“I’ve always had a hard time making “I want” lists, so I started with “I don’t want” instead. It’s amazing to see how much hard work we can put into getting things that we don’t even want. Once we eliminate some of those, it’s much easier to see what we do want!”
Things I don’t want? Hmmm let’s try that:
- A sunburn
- Trump as president
- Fake friends
- a meaningless job
- insects. except maybe honey bees
- cancer for anyone else I know
- to feel dead inside
- to fear so much
- to waste my life
- to ruin my kids’ lives
- to hurt or bother people
- to feel irritated or bored all the time
- to go on a cruise
- to scuba dive or snorkel
- to be alone
- Poison Ivy
- lose my sight
- to gamble my money
- noisy, smelly fish tanks in my house
- to be homeless
30 is hard, so I’ll stop at 20. That was interesting what popped into my brain. So let’s reverse now. What do I want? (remember – do not think about money or what feels possible, only what you want. If you want it but think “that will never happen”, it still needs to be on the list) The first thing I keep hearing is: travel. Go somewhere. Get out of the house. Get out of the state. See something new. Do something.
- Travel somewhere I have never been before that has an amazing natural view, landscape, or rich history – mountains, lakes, caverns, forests, rivers, estates, cabins, mansions, museums, parks, etc
- Experience Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue live with full symphony
- Take kids to see Joseph and Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
- Go to a concert without kids – Zac Brown, 21 Pilots, Jack Johnson, Shaggy, Lumineers, Chili Peppers, Chicago…so many options
- Walk on a white sand beach
- Take kids to Niagara Falls
- Write a novel (finish the one I started ?)
- See the stars in the giant telescope at the observatory
- Hear a jazz band in New Orleans
- Sit on a horse (I’m not allowed to ride…)
- Paint a large painting from my heart
- Join a club or meetup group (hiking, art, photography, writing, book club, drum circle…)
- Explore Machu Picchu
- Take canoe trip down a river
- Join a performance group – get on stage again
- Take a weekend getaway with hubby and no kids
- rescue and train dogs, certify service dogs
- grow fresh herbs indoors
- illustrate a children’s book
- write and illustrate a book of poetry
- get a tattoo
- save the world
- research and write about the brain and behavior
- cure PTSD
- find where I fit in, a job with meaning
- make a friend to have a coffee with once in a while
- be a good person, feel like a good person, feel like a person
- See original art from Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, Dali, Botticelli, Michelangelo….
- Do something that afterwards I say “I can’t believe I just did that!”
- Drive a fast motorboat