I’ve always had the goal of being the opposite of my mother and her boyfriend. The two of them have a dark aura. I’m constantly trying to be happy and positive with a class clown attitude some days. I’m not sure how I’m able to keep my head held high with a smile and wavy and act as nothing happened.
I know I’m not the same outgoing person I used to. How do I find her again? I’ve had so much negativity in my life that I’m not sure I’ll find her. Any suggestions?
~Lost Laurie in Louisiana
Lauren, today’s Dear Ellie columnist, has some beautiful insight for you:
Dear Finding yourself through the storms,
I want to acknowledge your strength and perseverance. Wrap both of your arms around yourself and squeeze; you deserve that hug. You, my friend, are amazing. Don’t forget that. When faced with a wall of negativity, the easy answer is to go with the flow and play into it. Taking the path less chosen, and deciding to be happy (because it’s always a choice), deserves recognition. We often don’t stop to give ourselves kudos for our accomplishments; we focus on what’s lacking. I suggest that you take a little time each day to remind yourself of your inner strength.
Coming out of darkness is a process. I believe when you give yourself space, you will find grace. As a divorce blogger, that phrase has resonated with me through countless dark situations. Space gives your intuition time to catch up and share answers.
A few things to ponder. Can you remove yourself from the physical presence of your mom and boyfriend? If so, that would be my first step. If not, you may try working with techniques to protect your energy. If you are open to it, check out the author Denise Linn and her book, Energy Strands, or my personal favorite, Positive Energy by Dr. Judith Orloff. Both address how to clear negative connections, and create positive energy, even when you remain in the proximity of the original negative source. Creating your own ‘energy shield’ can help you protect yourself. If you don’t want the energy vampires to deplete, you can learn internal techniques to help you remain in your bubble of energy.
To clear negative energy or thoughts, I journal. My journals are sacred, and I consider them my therapy; therefore, I keep them private. If you were to read my entries, you might think, ‘what the heck is going on here?’ They are not eloquent, they have spelling and grammar errors, and often they are random thoughts jotted down with zero rhyme or reason. Gift yourself a journal or a sacred place to record your thoughts, and then let them flow. Think of your negative thoughts like a bad infestation of termites. If you do not tent the house and fumigate, the critters will keep coming back. Your fumigation process will be to record the chatter in your head onto your pages. Since your infestation is deep, you will have to continue this process each day for at least a month. Ultimately this technique will start to release the chatter or loop from your thought process. I call it a brain dump. If the termite analogy makes you cringe, think of clearing out a house of clutter. With each page, you clean a new spot in your sanctuary.
Recently, I wrote an article addressing how to help create happiness from the inside out. Check out the exercises and see if any of the techniques help you reinvigorate your energy. Paired with journaling, I think one of these may start to jumpstart your way back to positivity.
Lastly, although I call journaling therapy, it will never supplement actual therapy. Talking to a therapist can be enormously helpful, and I recommend it. Deep issues, especially with family, can be hard to look at objectively. Just remember, if the first therapist doesn’t feel right, try someone else. A lot of people give up on therapy because they didn’t jive with a therapist. I recently read How to do the Work by Dr. Nicole LePerla. I personally think it includes excellent exercises for pre-therapy work.
The journey back to your authentic self will take time, patience, and love. Be kind to yourself during this time. Recognize the small steps you take each day, even if it’s just smiling at a stranger. The small steps will build momentum. You have already conquered one of the most complex steps; awareness.
Best wishes with your journey. You deserve to live your best life. 💕
Lauren + Ellie