#31 – You can be the mover of your own cheese
When you’re in the midst of a devastating life event (and even for a period of time after), it’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut and develop what the author calls “victim head.” The mindset when you’re feeling too depressed to do anything but sit around eating stale popcorn and watch marathons of The Real Housewives of whatever city they’re pretending to be real housewives in. When you’re hesitant to take a step outside because you might run into someone who’ll ask you how you’re doing and you just don’t have it in you to fake another “fine” nor do you want to risk telling them the truth and watch their eyes get that slightly glazed horrified look that says they’re just glad it’s not them.
You’ve taken so many blows, you feel like that’s all you’re going to take from here on out. The author writes about a study where mice were randomly given cheese or electrical shocks and how at first, the mice did everything they could to avoid the shocks. But eventually, they figured out that their actions had no bearing on whether or not they received a shock or cheese and lapsed into a state of inactive lethargy. Even after they were given the choice (the autonomy) to avoid the shocks and go straight to the cheese, they were so defeated that they just lay there.
Part of bouncing back is making the decision to re-claim your autonomy. Move your own cheese. Once of the best way to do that is to set goals and make appointments. Deadlines – even easy ones – can be motivating, and allow you to feel a sense of accomplishment that can be both catching and exponential.
Some of the things I did during my desert time that helped motivate me, gave me something to do, kept me connected with people (even helped me meet new people!), and gave me focus included:
- Joining Toastmasters – this was one of the first things I did. I’m not at all into public speaking and this terrified me to pieces. But it allowed me to use one of my strengths (writing) to bolster a weakness (speaking out loud) in a safe environment. I made new friends, developed new skills, and gained confidence.
- Joining Bible Study Fellowship – I joined BSF as they were launching their first year of the Isaiah study. It was an immersion in the Word like I’d never done before and a great way to make new connections with women who shared a similar faith.
- Regular dates at 208 Garfield & Yellow House – A good friend and I made a standing date with each other to get together at our favorite bookstore/café or yarn store. Both had places where we could sit and talk for hours. These times for a one-on-one deepened our friendship and sustained me in a way that nothing else could have. The balm of her friendship was a time of healing for me.
These may not be things that appeal to you, but something will. Find an activity or place to go that draws you and gives you energy. Commit to making an appointment to go there or do that three times as your bounce-back assignment. Creating a deadline and then meeting it will help you start to feel like you have a piece of yourself back. And with one piece in hand, you’re ready to start collecting and building more.
Tomorrow: A Word from the Psalms
I'd love to connect with you some more - stop on by the Three Bees Facebook Page or connect with me on Twitter @3BeesBlueBonnet. During the 31 Days Challenge, I'll be using the hashtags #desertjourney and #inspirationalandfaith80 if you'd like to join in or follow along. Let's continue the conversation!