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Cannibalistic thoughts

Nothing happened, really. No fender benders or traffic jams. No calls from the school principal or requests to meet with the counselor. I didn't have to wait at the DMV or block incessant phone calls from creditors. I even got in a workout. But still, it was a doozy.

Today was all me. I can't shift the blame onto something else.

I got stuck in my head. Does this happen to you? I'm a worst-case scenario thinker.

It started because I am sending in my application to teach at an upcoming conference. I pulled up this year's s lineup of speakers. Every single one of them has 10 letters that follow their name. Professionals. Licensed and trained in every noble field out there. Hundreds of degrees lying right in front of my face. I panicked. While Professor Smith single handedly installed advanced water systems in remote African villages (while pursuing a dual doctorate degree in Anthropology and Biology), I did the dishes. Not even all of the dirty ones. The dishwasher wouldn't fit them all. I let the rest of the mess slop over onto the kitchen counter. While Dr. Jones completed his thesis for medieval theology, he performed his opus on Broadway in New York. I put away the laundry. It took me a few days, but it's all in drawers again.

Really, who am I compared to these people? What can I offer that someone of their expertise cannot? Is what I have to say important? I don't have any credentials to back me up. Just a few paint stains on my jeans.

Then it hit me. I'm a nobody. I AM A NOBODY.

I've repeated it several times to myself today. I even called my husband in tears. Who would want to read my book anyway? I'm a nobody! I haven't accomplished anything. Who am I to tell a story? What if I come across as a hypocrite? What if they hate me? Things would be so much simpler if I just tucked my dreams, my plans, a potential career aside and picked up the toys in the living room. The problem is, the toys will be there again tomorrow. No progress at all.

I made it to the grocery store before my major meltdown. They had a fun Halloween display with real Venus fly traps for sale. I've never seen one, but have always been fascinated by them. I bought a small one thinking the boys would get a kick out of it. I'm not sure if it will survive at my house since one must be pretty hearty to live here.

We brought it home and poked and prodded at the plant to see what it would do. I didn't see anything, but my son swears it tried to eat the pen right out of his hand. I read a little about it and checked on it just now. Instead of having wide open, beautiful, red traps ready to catch an insect, the traps clamped down on itself. Three of the "mouths" refuse to let the other ones go. I tried to pry them apart, but they're stuck. What kind of plant eats itself? It would be pretty sad if it died because of it.

Wait a minute... Am I doing the same thing?

Are my thoughts, my actions, eating away at myself? I certainly feel stuck. I can't seem to let the damaging doubts go. Why am I holding onto them?

Have you ever seized a thought and let it hold a demolition derby inside your head? Something along the lines of "I am not ______ enough." Or, "I will never be ________." My go-to seems to be "So-and-so is so much better at ______. Why try?"

Obviously, I don't have this process mastered, so let's flesh it out together. Let's look at it from a neutral, take 50 steps back, view.

What is the thought that bothers you? Sit with it for a minute. For me? Today, that thought is "I AM A NOBODY. I haven't accomplished anything."

Ask yourself:

  1. Is it true? Would everyone around you answer the same way?

  2. Are you giving yourself credit (or grace) for how far you've come?

  3. Are you measuring yourself against someone else or against the person you once were?

  4. Are you the person you want to be? Why or why not?

  5. What would you change?

  6. What are some doable steps that will get you a little closer to that end goal?

Let it go:

  1. "I'm not going to limit myself just because people won't accept the fact that I can do something else." -Dolly Parton

  2. "It may be true that man is nothing in comparison to the greatness of the Universe. At times we may even feel insignificant, invisible, alone, or forgotten. But always remember-you matter to Him!" -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

  3. "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." -Unknown

So, this is me, still a little bruised from beating myself up all day. This is me trying to undo the clenched jaws around me. I'm going to step away and take a breather from the dishes and the laundry and the toys. They're exhausting.

I'm going to rally and applaud myself for working out today. I'm going to be grateful for no accidents, traffic, or rattling phone calls. I choose to move forward with my goals, no matter what anyone else thinks. I may not have impressive credentials, but I have a story to tell, and it must matter because there's certainly an emotional freight train trying to stop it.

Tomorrow is a do over.

I'll wait and see if the morning sun will make the "mouths" open again.

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