I came across this title in an article. It caught my eye, and I wondered how it applied to me.
Many years ago, I was having problems fitting in at work. At least my employer thought so and decided to have me take some sick leave to get better. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. I decided to take vacation time that I had been saving up. After two months of being away from work, I returned with no medical clearance requested. Strange, but not really. I had been caught up in more significant issues.
But things at work would never be the same.
Before this incident, I couldn’t envision myself working anywhere else for the rest of my career. Although I knew things weren’t great in my heart, work-life has an ebb and flow in that respect.
To rapidly end this saga for you, I started a job search at the age of 56 years, and on my second interview, I was hired in a dream job with benefits I had never known in the not-for-profit sector.
But mentally, I had not recovered from the anger, confusion, and deep sadness I experienced in the job I knew I had to leave.
I must have played the last few meetings I had with my boss repeatedly in my mind. I don’t know why. Perhaps I had been looking for answers where there were none to find. I was aware of the pattern but couldn’t find a way to stop it. It wasn’t helping. It was very detrimental.
For over a year after, when I had to walk near the former office, I’d visible vibrate. It was terrible.
Then, while in a waiting room, I was flipping through the pages of a year-old Reader’s Digest.
A lightbulb went off in my head. The article was talking about me!
I now had a credible path to change my mental gymnastics.
I knew I couldn’t hold two different thoughts at the same time. So I decided to force myself to think of anything else but my last conversations with my boss. I would think about pink elephants, count back from 100 by 7s – 100-93-86…
I would try anchoring myself in the present. I’m walking down the street under a blue sky with no clouds. There was sand on the sidewalk left from winter slip prevention. The person walking toward me was wearing a long black coat and a yellow scarf.
At first, I’d be well into my compulsive thinking before I realized it and switched on my pink elephant. With practice, I got better. It took weeks or months; memory fades now, thankfully, to shorten the time between starting my repetitive thinking and forcing in other thoughts. Sometimes I could anticipate triggers and wouldn’t even get started on my unhelpful thoughts.
Please give this a bit of a think. What is a ‘yesterday’s barrier’ for you? How could you think it into the background? Might you need a couple of professional counselling sessions to get you started? What’s holding you back?
I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit of a think below.
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