[These excerpts are from CYCLING in the CITY — How I Got My Confidence Back, Book 2 in the Burnout to Bliss series. Book 2 is about a first step in recovery after intense burnout. (For that story, please see Book 1, BURNOUT — How a Desert Lizard Restored My Faith.)
Book 2, CYCLING in the CITY, was designed to be a guide for anyone wanting to make any kind of change in her life. “Part One: Cycling in the City” is my story, sharing the process of making a huge personal change — healing myself and reclaiming my confidence and self-esteem. “Part Two: Thoughts About Making Changes” explains why making change is so difficult; it addresses the different kinds of changes we make, the mental games we play, and the essential key for success. The book is $1.99 for a limited time. Buy it here. If you want a free copy to review, please contact Choosy Bookworm HERE.]
Excerpt 18, PART TWO, CYCLING in the CITY: (This excerpt follows the previous post, but if you didn’t read the previous post, you might be confused. So I included, as an introduction, the last two paragraphs from excerpt 17 to provide a context for “Mental Games.”)
- Tell your friends what you are doing so they can help to hold you accountable. This one is a double-edge sword. It depends on your relationships. I chose to tell mine, but there were some people who were not helpful. It’s your call.
- Build a repertoire of responses so you don’t get hooked by someone’s comment. This one is related to #9. I’d like to share an excerpt from My Final Quit that explains what that meant to me when I was breaking my addiction. Please see the next page.
I was amazed at the number of mental games, the psychological warfare I had to deal with from others while I was fighting for my life in withdrawal. People don’t like change –not in themselves, and not in others. Smoker pals who want you to keep smoking, and even non-smokers who like to imagine they had one up on you because you smoked, might engage in such under-handed behavior. Then there’s the guy who just can’t understand why you’re having such a hard time, because he didn’t.
These thoughtless people might make cracks like, “It’s about time!” or “Finally!” Others might say something like, “I don’t know what the big deal is. I quit twenty years ago. Just threw them away.”
You know what I’m talking about.
The danger with such comments is that you might stop your quit to spite them. One of your sub-personalities (like your inner rebel) might get hooked and sabotage the quit to “show them” (but you’ll be the one who loses if you do). Always remember why you chose to quit. That bears repeating: why YOU chose to quit. Keep your list in front of your eyes, mentally, at all times. And certainly do develop a routine of responses for such an event before it occurs.
I really like breathing, myself. If I give myself permission to simply take a couple of nice deep breaths, that simple act buys me a couple of seconds to respond consciously. (Not to mention how addled the person feels when I don’t respond right away.)
Parroting back what they say also buys time. Like when my tennis partner proclaimed, “It’s about time!” If that was your friend, you could respond by repeating, “It’s about time.” You didn’t add anything, you didn’t interact with it, and you didn’t condone or condemn what they said. You simply repeated it. You’ll be amazed how well this one will serve you.
“Is that what you think?” is another good one.
And while you’re in those precious moments of “bought time,” consider using your imagination to visualize them blowing up into a humongous fat balloon like Harry Potter’s aunt, and floating away till they are some tiny speck far, far away.
My mother taught me a similar response for dealing with cruel kids in high school who “hooked me.” She said to imagine that their girdle was too tight. And I did – regardless of their sex! I also find that laughing unexpectedly at something no one else can see is quite unnerving to the other person.
And when “those girls” were gossiping about me, my mom used to say, “They’re just jealous.” This continues to be one of my favorite private thoughts when someone is unkind.
And don’t forget to remind yourself of this simple fact – “they are behaving the best they can considering their level of spiritual development.” While true for all of us, all the time, that statement becomes a special salve when it’s applied in this kind of situation.
Whatever you choose, do be aware that such an encounter could trash your quit, especially if you suffer from “shaky self-esteem” as I did. (Ooh! I loved typing that just now: “…as I DID”). When someone is ugly or insensitive, you’ll be tempted to smoke, “just to show them.” Sadly, you’re the only one who gets hurt by that response. (Been there, done that, own the stinky shirt.)
Instead, I want to encourage you to build your own repertoire. Imagine being in a similar situation. Create responses you’ll feel comfortable applying and practice them now, before you quit, so that you can do them instantly when appropriate.
(Modified excerpt from My Final Quit – How I Broke a 40-year Addiction*, pp.188-191.)
Coming next week: “The Secret”
CYCLING in the CITY is $1.99 for a limited time.
In Progress: Book 3, Burnout to Bliss series
Book 3 relates my story of “surrender” — trusting that my life is in Divine Order. It is the final story of an awakening experience, my two-year journey with one modest paycheck and no plans that was launched with BURNOUT. The first getaway from that extreme situation was to a “sanctuary” in California as related in Book 2, CYCLING in the CITY. That getaway apparently was simply to heal myself enough to take the next step.
The real story of “surrender” began when that sanctuary was no longer available and I became like The Fool (Tarot card), jumping off a cliff with a tiny knapsack and a little dog for company…
Want to be with the first to know when Book 3 is available?
Click the BURNOUT TO BLISS tab on the far right at the top of the page and scroll down, and then follow the directions OR simply click the link below:
Till next time, please be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our hidden sorrows. ~Tzaddi