Today my 22-year-old called me feeling distressed.
It was an old story I had heard many times throughout her life: she felt scared and worried that she wouldn’t do well in school this semester. She is faced with a couple of challenging courses as she prepares for a three-year program to become a naturopathic physician.
The funny thing is, she always does well. She is a great student, dedicated and truly desires to learn. With that being said, she has been a “worry wart” since thirdgrade. Why then? As far as I can remember that’s when she became aware of a sense of competition, whether with her peers or siblings.
I reminded her of two powerful tools:
Witness the voice in her head that creates fear and doubt. As she witnesses, she can also check in to see if the thought is really true right now, especially when she is taking a test or feeling challenged with chemistry problems! Catch the voice and make the choice to not believe it.
2. This second tool requires the willingness to be honest with oneself and know that the ego will make up anything to defend its position and stay comfortable—even if that means staying in fear and not believing in oneself.
The tool is asking the question, “What is the payoff to me holding on to this distorted belief?” What behavior or outcome do I get to keep? Am I afraid to face something? Or maybe to let go of a behavior or way of being? What am I getting to hold on to? And what would happen if I let go?
These are two powerful tools that result in a feeling of freedom from the negative thoughts and the ability to make choices that are in alignment with inner truth while restoring faith and love in oneself.
My daughter’s response:
When I feel stuck in a pattern of distorted beliefs about the way my life is going, I tend to veer from my track of productivity. I get out of my heart and what I know and feel to be true. It’s like pressing pause on my faith and trust in my self and my ability to be prosperous in my pursuits. My mother reminded me to just stop the endless wheel of destructive thoughts by sitting in silence, alone, without any distractions and just watch my own movie.
I decided to do a meditation that focused on the inhalations and exhalations of my breath. When a negative thought would come in, I’d breath it in as darkness, and when I exhaled, I’d transform it to light. With my eyes closed, I wrote down the words that came up for me, that triggered my own experience of darkness.
When I opened my eyes, I realized that so many of the words revolved around trust and faith. I worry and worry my mind to the bone. I fill my world with negative imagination. And then I stepped outside of my thoughts, outside of my movie and saw the patterns.
Life get’s hard. We fall into slumps. But when I remember the constancy of impermanence and the trust in myself and in life, the moments of anxiety pass much smoother and more easily.
I awoke feeling acceptance of what is happening in my life. I accept where I am because this is where I am, not because I feel an obligation to accept it. Remembering to trust and to just watch my patterns of beliefs has allowed me to relieve myself of the stresses that cause so much unnecessary pain.
What a relief and a joy to have this precious relationship with my daughter. I feel blessed for the trust, rapport and the opportunity to be here for her as she lives with so much passion, truth and dedication. Inspired by the amazing relationships with my children and experience on my path I created The Mother-Daughter Roadmap: Strengthen Bonds & Empower our Dreams as Conscious Emerging Women.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel