In my final blog for the psychological shedding series, I’ll discuss how to go about storing all the strength you identified for your life in Week 4: Harvesting Positive Life Choices. This storing activity will provide you a resource during periods when you most doubt yourself and your worth, as well as all those other mind tricks we humans play on ourselves.
It’s been quite a journey over this series!
I showed you how to identify areas of your life that deserve to be shed in Part 1: A Time for Psychological Shedding.
In Part 2, Letting Go of Rotten Things, we covered how to go about the task of dropping those life areas that don’t belong.
Part 3 (the one with the cool fire picture for the cover) was about clearing things so that they don’t show up and re-contaminate your life. See Clearing Away of Old, Dead Parts of Self.
Part 4 showed you how to begin recognizing and claiming the positive parts of your life.
My hope is that these exercises have felt…fruitful! Of course, it’s easy to feel positive in the middle of cool, fun, artsy self-help work. To this end, I hope you’ll do plenty more of it! Read books, listen to whale songs and pan flutes, watch 35 years’ worth of Oprah shows, and of course continue following my blog.
It’s harder to stay in the positive when those rotten fruits that you swept away attempt to return. Toxic people and negative beliefs, when they show up, bear gifts of sadness, self-doubt, and the nemesis to so many, shame. Like the dead mice that our local stray cat leaves for my gracious neighbors who feed her, these gifts are unwanted and make us grimace when we discover them waiting at our front doors.
It’s here where I’ll teach you to use what’s been gained for those darkest days of the soul. Onward with our storing activity.
Things you’ll need:
A writing instrument
Your stacking exercises from Part 4
Take a look once again or otherwise bring to mind the positive, self-affirming parts of yourself that you listed in the naming and stacking of fruits for Part 4. For each fruit you listed, it’s now time to consider when and how you’ll use this. Try these sentence stems, “When I’m feeling_____/when ________ shows up in my life, here’s how I’ll use ______ (your positive).”
Here are some examples of how that might look for storing:
If You Dropped a Rotten Belief
Maybe you had a belief that was old, rotten, and really creating some sadness and insecurity in your life and relationships. You kicked that from your life in Part 3 with the agility of a French FIFA- winning soccer player. Now you’ll use the positive fruit you identified in Part 4 as a resource.
For example, if a fruit you dropped was in feeling like an outsider in your own family, but you enjoy painting and listed “I make beautiful art” as a positive fruit of your creation, a storing for you might look like:
When I’m feeling like an outsider, here’s how I’ll use “I make beautiful art”: I’ll treat this as an opportunity to make a new color story for my work. I’ll surrender the moment to my love of creation, allowing shapes and textures to come to life. I’ll be with my art until I want to be with people again. I know the hard days come…but my art is there for me when this happens! I’ll trust it as a process of going within so that I can emerge when I’m ready. I get to choose how to take care of me. I’ll remember to eat and get rest so I can fuel my energy.
[I recommend adding the eat and rest thing if these are problems for you during creative periods. This is an issue for many artistic people. If you take medications, remember to note these as well.]
If You Dropped a Rotted Relationship
Many of you selected to drop a relationship’s hold on you. This may have been a break-up that you’ve grieved for a long time. Note that if you’ve experienced a painful breakup and are acutely aware that the holidays hold particular stress for you, you’ll want to make your storing plan quite soon.
Using a breakup example, perhaps you wrote as a positive fruit, “I have real friends who love me.” In this case, your storing of that love can result in something like:
When my grief about Sam shows up in my life, here’s how I’ll use “I have real friends who love me”: I will CALL Sharon, Veronica, Jeff, and Myron! I’ll say yes to the Thanksgiving invite, and in fact, I’ll reach out ahead of time to see if Veronica’s invite still stands (and because she loves me, I already know that it does!) I’ll also ask Jeff for that therapist’s name he said helped his sister through her divorce; and in fact, I’ll try and get an appointment as soon as I can so that I have a therapist during Christmas.
Sounds like a great plan to me for someone moving through the grief of a breakup!
If You Dropped a Behavior
Let’s do one more, here.
If you decided to drop something like “taking everything personally” or “making it all about me,” in life situations, here’s one for ya. Let’s imagine you listed “the house I bought” as a positive fruit for your life, in which case your storing might be:
When taking everything my boss says personally shows up in my life, here’s how I’ll use “the house I bought”: I’ll remind myself that I am a smart and resourceful individual who can be successful in my life. I’ve made a lot of good decisions for myself and will make many, many more. I’ll remind myself that someone else’s problems aren’t about me; and never were. Maybe his life is miserable, maybe he’s had a rough day. Maybe he never learned how to talk to people. I’ll know myself and trust myself so that if matters with my boss get out of hand, I’ll talk to HR, I’ll buff up my resume, and I’ll try to keep in mind that I am already successful.
That’s a double affirmation of one’s strengths and the ability to make an affirming career choice!
Bringing it all Together
The point of all this storing work is to really help you during periods of doubt, shame, hurt; realizing all of the resources you’ve pulled together for your life and that represent you in all of your ability to create, to love, to be.
I hope you’ve had as much fun and insight with these exercises as I’ve had in crafting them for you! It’s an honor to have people read, share, and respond to my ideas that I cook up like fresh greens and cornbread in my kitchen.
Follow my blog in the next few months, as I discuss topics like seasonal affective disorder, thriving through the Holidays, and more!
Peace to all, and happy shedding!