Building Awareness of Self-Talk
Let’s talk about the way we talk to ourselves.
Let’s face it, it's not good. We flood our minds with thoughts; about our bodies, parenting skills, worth, finances, etc. All the time. Here’s the thing. The brain strengthens in the areas that you use it. Have you heard the phrase, ”What you resist, persists?” Active resistance is actually concentrating your attention on the very things you don't want. You are telling your brain that this thing you don’t want is very important and to look for more of it.
Let’s look at how that relates to self-talk.
When you are constantly telling yourself you are terrible, you are telling your brain you are terrible. It gets easier and easier to think it, because you are strengthening those neural pathways. It gets HARDER to disagree with those thoughts, because they become so automatic, we may not even realize we are having them. This is a great reason to hire a coach. We are trained to identify this type of thinking and help you see it and stop it. Your brain is trainable, and you can fix it. All you need is a plan, and practice.
Shauna Shapiro, PhD, Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology at Santa Clara University has some interesting videos about the effects of meditation on the brain. She says you can actually raise your happiness baseline by mediating daily on positive, loving things. And it’s because you rewire the brain to think those things more.
I think a meditation practice is super valuable, particularly meditating on self-acceptance and love. But changing your self-talk is an all-the-time thing. You’ve got to build an awareness about the kind of things you are saying to yourself. Pay attention. Many of us, especially women, habitually shut down and avoid negative feelings. We stay super busy, we eat, we drink, we medicate. Anything to avoid them. Notice when you are in avoidance, and tune in to your thoughts. Managing your thoughts will literally allow you to feel however you want.
Okay, so you noticed you’ve been scrolling on your phone for half and hour because you’re avoiding something. You focus on your thoughts. You realize you’re worried about something you said earlier and you’re telling yourself everyone hates you and you're fat. Don't judge yourself for thinking it. Celebrate the awareness and the opportunity to change!
Acknowledge your thoughts. Then let them go; gently, lovingly. Say instead, I no longer believe I’m a horrible, fat monster. This acknowledgment piece is important. You're not shutting down the old thought and avoiding it or judging it. You are saying I no longer believe this___.
Next, create new thoughts. And I’m not saying affirmations are the answer here. Your new thoughts need to be believable to you. So a new thought may be just a bit kinder than the old one. I now believe I’m an ok, overweight human. Say it to yourself whenever you notice that thought:
I no longer believe I am a horrible fat monster
I now believe I am an okay, overweight human.
Do it and over and over. As you notice yourself getting more positive, amp it up.
Say I am a badass woman in a normal body. With amazing hair. Love on yourself!
Another tool for checking negative thoughts is body awareness. Take a breath and notice icky feelings in the body. A tension in the chest, or butterflies in the stomach. When I feel those things I pay attention to my thoughts. Then I usually realize Im hating on myself.
Your brain is an incredible thing, my friends. Taking responsibility for it and mindfully working to create more positive thoughts creates epic change in your life.
Does any of this resonate with you?
Let me know in the comments!
The Price of Motherhood
I've got lots of feels this morning. After the 2016 election, I don't trust my worldview anymore. I can trust that our elected officials will reflect the Americans who voted them into office, and that there are more of those people. So, I guess what I’m saying is Election Day is my personal barometer for HOW THINGS ARE. And, I’m pretty anxious.
I’m reading The Price of Motherhood, by Ann Crittenden. It’s about how motherhood is considered the most important job by pretty much everyone in the world, but it's unpaid and unvalued. What is valued is a mothers sacrifice, her devotion to her family, and support of her husband’s needs as the breadwinner. And this hasn’t changed all that much in the last hundred years or so. In fact, mothers spend more time raising children now (the book was published in 2001) than they did in the 1920’s, when they were too busy washing clothes by hand and whatever. Even though more women are college-educated and may enter the workplace, many eventually leave or cut back their hours to have children. The motherhood aspect is the thing that mucks up equality in the workplace. When children are involved, we seem to slip right back into traditional gender roles, with the women caring for the children, whether they work or not. Whether they earn more than 50% of the income or not. In homes where housework was shared before having kids, 75% of it slips back into mom’s responsibility after children are born.
I get this. I've lived this.
I was raised by a single working mom in the 1980’s. She taught me to be independent, and to work hard. Her career was everything to her, and it had to be. She had a child to raise.
I have considered myself to be a feminist always. I was punky and androgynus in high school, refusing to conform to antiquated and demeaning ideologies of femininity. But what I didn’t forgo was the idea that I what made me a better person was my willingness to sacrifice myself for others. I married a man and had a baby. I wasn’t earning enough to pay for childcare, so I stayed home. That had not been my plan, and I found it really hard, but I felt like I didn’t have a choice. I accepted that my value as a person lied in my service to my family. And now I can see how horribly damaging that belief is. The last 5 years have been the hardest of my life. By FAR. I wish I could go back and do better. For my kids and myself. Now my kids are 3 and 5, and I’m starting to process my rage. They both started school this year, and I can breathe for the first time in years. I have felt so resentful and trapped, and monstrous for feeling so. I mean, how can I wish to be free from my family? My kids are so fucking beautiful, I would do anything to raise them to be happy, healthy people. Why is this so hard for me? I’ve felt SO MUCH GUILT.
And here’s where it gets really sticky. If I am raising two people while bitterly resentful of my position as their sole caregiver, what are they learning? Is my daughter learning that she will eventually do the same for her family? Is my son learning that his family won't be his concern, his career will be? Are they feeling like they aren’t important enough to me?
We simply must ask for help. My husband is a grad student and was the only source of income for our family until my children started school. I felt that I couldn’t ask for his help, becasue his plate was too full, and he was supporting us. I have always struggled with the fact that I didn’t earn an income. I felt I owed him, so I felt trapped.
I see now that this entire situation was my choice; my unhappiness and rage was caused by my own belief that I wasn’t worth more. I bought into the idea that we shouldnt want, because motherhood is some elevated moral position and my worth was in service to my family. It makes me so angry that I believed that for so long. Its an ongoing process to untangle behaviors from the beliefs that motivate them, but it’s so necessary to let go of that shit.
Ann Crittenden found that as mothers become more educated, they put more importance on raising a family, And that working mothers don't put in less time with their families to accommodate their careers, they put less time into themselves. They sleep less, exercise less, and have less free time. Working mothers put in more hours than any other workers, anywhere.
The importance of raising a family isn’t going anywhere, it's just getting harder for the moms. We spend way more time with our children now than previous generations did. Some of us also want to have a career, or some life outside the home. And as pressure builds to keep our families healthy and safe in a scary world, we alone are expected to step up, and step up, and step up. Of course we will, we are mothers. But at what cost?
We all confess that we haven't showered in days, have been wearing the same leggings for a week, that we survive on coffee and wine. We are being prescribed piles of antidepressants like its normal and fine to need them. And most of us have no fucking clue why we’re falling apart. Its fucking lame. It makes me furious. We need to be real about what we want our lives to look like. Not carry our crosses bravely, with a messy bun and a glass of Pinot. Because until motherhood is a healthy endeavor for everyone involved, we’re doing it wrong.
Taking the Time to Heal
So many feels today.
I’ve been having these really rough periods before my period for the past few months where I’m just so emotional I feel unhinged. This month has been particularly difficult. I’m reminded this blog post by Lady Nowe about the dark night of the soul. I’ve been feeling so much rage this month. The stuff I focus on for work; helping mothers reclaim their lives and identities outside of motherhood, learning to love themselves first; are swirling together with the Kavanaugh thing and my thoughts on feminism and sexual assault and I’ve been in a really dark place for a few weeks.
I want to promote modeling strong women now for our families. I want to change American womanhood now, so our sons and daughters don't have to navigate this world, where women are expected to be primary caregivers no matter what. Where we have to fear walking alone at night. Where we have to publicly detail our pain and shame in our fight for justice and be blamed for the situations that have hurt us.
My own family life has been rocky as well, as I’m putting my all into my business, my kids are learning to navigate school, and my husband toils away on his PhD. It’s been challenging around casa DaCosta. It’s all a fiery, nebulous mess in my hormone-addled mind, ladies. And I’m struggling.
My biggest takeaway is learning to stop. I am a very high-energy, do-ALL-the-things lady. And my pattern is to go on and on until I’m utterly drained.
But luckily, I have cannabis to help. Cannabis shows you to yourself in such a graceful way. Its honest with you, but in a kind and gentle way. There is no denying the femininity of cannabis. `
I’m building an awareness of when I am feeling drained, who or what is making me feel that way, and what I need to do to hold on to my energy. It’s a really deeply ingrained pattern for me to give and give. In my family you show your love by sacrificing yourself. It’s probably a Jesus thing, my people are Catholic.
So I’ve been digging deep into WHY I feel this way. What part of me wants to do this and why. That part of me was way down there. It’s been a long couple of weeks of really challenging, dark, WORK. But we have to examine and resolve the shit that leads us to behave in a way that doesn't serve us, so we can break the patterns.
And during these dark times, the dark night of the soul, its MOST important to be kind to yourself. Give yourself a pass. Take a nap.
Self-care is more than retaining your energy, it's also giving yourself the time and space to heal. And more here about cannabis; I have spent my entire life clutching my feelings close, not really being open or vulnerable with anyone. When uncomfortable feelings come up for me I coped by drinking and stuffing those feelings down. Since I began mindfully using cannabis I have opened up and healed in so many ways. I mean, I have felt my heart healing. I have connected with my grief.
Today is my mothers birthday. She would be 72. I miss her so much. Her death was the catalyst for huge change in my life. She is the reason I studied cannabis coaching. This morning I spoke to her, and told her today I’m breaking a pattern that she and I both know well. Today I no longer try to support people who do not want to support themselves.
It feels huge. I think it’s a good birthday present.
I love you guys, and wish you all well.
Cannabis for Moms? Emphatically yes!
Cannabis naturally makes you a little nicer. It softens the edges of your feelings, and gives more space to feel them. This is why it’s such a great tool for transformation. Last week I wrote about why cannabis pairs so well with meditation. It makes it easier to settle your mind, and it helps you feel more self-love and compassion.
Cannabis began to heal my heart and body without me even trying. But once I started going through my coaching program at the Functional Cannabis Coaching Institute, the level of transformation in my own life was staggering. I entered the program with a wish to help other depressed moms with cannabis. And that wish has strengthened into a life-altering purpose. Cannabis is medicine, and the help it can offer moms is just tremendous. Here’s why:
I’d love to talk more about this with you! My one-hour breakthrough calls are free and fun. We’ll talk about what’s going on for you, and what you’d like your life to look like. I’ll answer your questions, and we can feel each other out and see if we’re a good fit.
There is nothing to lose, lady.
It’s my life’s work to support YOU on your journey back to wellness.
This came up for us pretty recently. My kids are little (2 and 4), and since I don't consume around them they haven't had questions. But I've started spending a lot of time learning about cannabis, and there has been some inevitable overlap. This initially caused some panic.
"ACK! How do I protect my kids from this terrible thing I really enjoy? How do I keep them safe from it?"
I live in a prohibition state, and it can be easy to feel afraid. Especially when your children are concerned. But then I ask myself, Do I believe this?
Do I believe that cannabis is terrible and dangerous? No, I do not.
I believe it's medicine. I believe it's safer and healthier than alcohol. And I've already talked to my kids about alcohol. I tell them, alcohol is something that adults enjoy but it's NOT healthy for children. Your brains and bodies are still developing, and it's important to avoid alcohol until you're done growing. In our family we're into facts, and we try to avoid getting emotional about stuff. I think it creates more curiosity when you get all dramatic and reefer madness-y about it. So I approached cannabis the same way. It is medicine that adults enjoy, but it's not for children. Like aspirin. And my kids accept this.
And I'm not writing this post to tell you how I worded it. It's the shame and stigma like I'd like to address. That's the tough part for the mommies.
This is a turbulent time in our country. I think everyone is realizing that we're going to have to stand up and fight for what we believe in. Having kids teaches us this, too. To become our best selves. It wasn't until my son was born that I really took a good look at myself. Is this the person I want to be?
The woman I want to be follows her own truth. She doesn't let Jeff Sessions tell her about any damn thing. She wears pro-cannabis T-shirts to her kids' preschool because it's NORMAL and OKAY. It's cool to like beer, why not weed?
The pioneers have to take a lot more shit than the folks who quietly wait for society to catch up.`I can live with that. I want my kids to feel brave enough to be themselves in a world that may not accept them. So I've got to model this for them.
I believe that legalization across all states in on the horizon. I really do. We've got to keep up the momentum.
So I guess what I'm saying is, it's not really about the weed. It's about doing what's best for you and your family and not giving in to the disapproval of others. Cause motherfuckers are gonna disapprove no matter what you do, anyway.
I am Jessica DaCosta, I'm a proud cannabis enthusiast, advocate, and mom of two.