I want to share another e-mail with you:
My grandmother, with whom I was very close, passed away in August. I was feeling good before that. I was feeling positive, confident, enjoying my career and the possibilities laid out in front of me. Since her death, however, I have felt the opposite: negative, lacking confidence, not sure what is next. It seems all I pick up on is the negative.
I have always gone through cycles of positive and negative thinking. How do I break the cycle and stay at the positive end of the spectrum?
I’m sorry about your grandmother. It’s natural to feel down after the death of someone so close to you, but there may be psychological issues causing that depression to deepen or linger, and the “cycles” you’ve described. It’s possible that you need therapy or medication–or both–to help to get out of your “funk,” or to control the cycles.
As a coach I can tell you that to a large extent, we choose our view of the world. One person can go to a party and see people arguing, drinking too much, and having a terrible time. Another can go to that same party and notice the people singing around the piano, dancing and telling hilarious stories.
You’ve created a “victim” story about yourself and your cycles. That story–and the negative view that comes with it–are choices that you are making. While those choices may certainly be affected by genetic and environmental predispositions, sad events, or even a chemical imbalance, ultimately, our view of the world around us–and the story we tell about ourselves–is still a choice.
Ask yourself these questions:
Am I choosing to be a Victim, who can’t move on with my life months after the death of a loved one, and who is doomed to suffer through emotional cycles instead of an Action Hero, who faces these adversities, and takes action to overcome them?
Am I choosing not to see all the wonders and beauty around me and make the decision to live my life to the fullest?
Is it possible that the attention I get for my loss, or about having cycles–the “I’m so sorry, Laura, you have it so rough” kind of attention–is enough of a reward that the Victim story has some value to me?
Try writing down all the positive observations you make in any day–actually looking for the positives: things that made you smile or laugh, things that were beautiful, things that gave you good, positive feelings. Send them to me, so I see you’re taking it seriously. If you can’t do this exercise, I’m hoping you’ll talk with a therapist; yours may be a problem that goes beyond coaching. If you won’t do it, you might be making a choice to stay a Victim.
I hope you take the challenge.