The Joy of Noise Canceling

My son received some noise-canceling headphones in the mail yesterday because he’s really agitated by loud noises and background sounds. These aren’t the type that allows you to listen to music while the noise around you is silenced. These are the type that simply cancels or softens the outside world. I tried them on for fun and they are glorious.

In the vein of being open and honest, I’m admitting: I’ve kinda been a 24-hour tizzy but I’m happy to report I’ve gotten up, dusted off, and moved on. To be transparent, I recently had a conversation with someone dear to me that didn’t end so well. And, in the past, I would have stewed over this for weeks – maybe even months. But I’ve shifted in the last ninety days to a place where fear doesn’t rule my universe – love does – and that love is mostly for myself. So, when I was awakened around 3 AM this morning – the Witching Hour – by a negative voice, I decided to employ what I’ve learned recently through yoga and prayer. In the past, I would have replayed that conversation over and over but I have learned that steeping in the negative waters of other people’s opinions is about as unhealthy as it gets. No. What I’ve learned is to affirm what is right about me and it started when I took a nine-day trip alone.

It occurred to me on that trip that a phrase as simple “Why are you like this?” could gaslight me into feeling bad about who I am. And, I realize now, that this phrase wasn’t said in a quizzical, ‘tell me more’ kind of way. It was cutting and judgmental. And it was meant to create self-doubt and control me. And I heard it over and over for two years. On my trip, I wrote in my journal: “What if I’ve been asking myself the wrong question. What if, instead of “Why am I like this? What the fuck is wrong with me?” I started asking myself “Why am I like this? What the heck is so amazing about me?” You might be surprised at how magnificent the difference in reframing that one sentence can make.

While I’m on the subject of silencing the voices in your head, you should also be aware that actually silencing the voices of other people can be the best thing for you, ever. Yes, I’m an INTJ and a Virgo. In unhealthy states, I can get into my own head and I can isolate. I battle generalized anxiety disorder (which on stressful days doesn’t feel very generalized at all). And some people LOVE me when I’m in that state because it gives their weaknesses and their insecurities a place to feed. Like…I don’t know…parasites. BUT, in a healthy state, I’m a fucking rockstar – so much so that Areosmith wishes they could be me. In other words, in a healthy state, I have been known to influence others to stay alive, to leave bad marriages, to go get that new job, to sell decrepit old buildings, and buy houses. If I can do that for other people…dare I say this…I can absolutely do this for myself. THAT is who I am at my core, not some quarter-century old version of the girl who is just finding her way.

So, today I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you: Like building your body’s physical endurance, silencing negative voices requires daily exercise and absolutely requires you to enlist a team of personal trainers. It’s only bad if you hate going to the gym. Going to the mattresses and silencing the negative self talk can be just as difficult as it is to do 200 push ups. But, folks, it is also good because with your own inner work and the support you can quickly emerge from negativity. In the last few days my team of trainers reminded me of several things about myself that, if left to my own devices, I might not have realized and stopped mid-push up. Here’s what I know about myself and I invite you to make your very own Rockstar-list of accomplishments/traits as we go along:

I set goals and I achieve them. It doesn’t take me nearly twenty years to achieve a simple goal, like earning a bachelor’s degree. In twenty years I earned a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees, built several businesses and founded a non-profit organization that operated for four years in the black. And I did this while working – sometimes more than one job at a time, and in the last eight years, while also raising a child. In other words, I get shit done. Why? Because I’m smart and driven. And, yes, I may have made mistakes thirty years ago, but guess what: So. Did. Every. Human. On. The. Planet. That’s how we grow.

I seek out mentors of like-mind. When I want to learn how to do something or I want to gain more skills, I not only find the person who is doing it…I find the person who does it best in my circle. I could have learned to shoot a gun from any redneck in Webster County. I decided that my friend, Bill, who did three tours in Afghanistan and my friend, Mike, who was a detective are best able to teach me to shoot and help me choose a gun. I don’t want to kill a Opossum or scare away a cat. I want to take down the enemy. You don’t take down enemies if you roll in the dirt with the pigs. Additionally, if you want to be an expert in something I can’t stress this enough: Don’t take life advice from someone who can’t get their shit together themselves. Gaslighting happens in all forms and can come from people we least expected it to. So, the next time someone who doesn’t invest in themselves tries to give you career advice…walk away. The next time someone who can’t settle into a relationship because they are always looking for a way out of their own loneliness tries to tell you how much time it should take to grieve a lost relationship…walk away. The next time someone who proves time and time again that they cannot let the past lie wants to drag you back there…walk away.

I believe the Universe is always looking for ways to support me. There will always be people and situations that give way to keeping you in the past or broken. Always. If you are looking for someone to remind you of the ways you have fucked up…you won’t have to look very far. There are toxic people everywhere. Toxicity looks like this: “You’re broken and in need of rescuing. Let me help you” as they stand with their foot on the back of your neck. So, look for the helpers. Look for the people who say “You can rescue yourself from this…but I’ll carry that for a minute if you want to unload some of it.” Additionally, you have to believe that when your thoughts are aligned with what is best for your higher good, that things will fall away to make room for the good that is about to enter. I sat in the parking lot of my son’s school yesterday cursing “I fucking hate being a single parent. I’m ready for that one person who wants to commit to us and wants our life to be better.” And I believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that person is going to show up. I made my list of standards and what I want in a relationship and I’m no longer settling for the broken souls who drag me down with them. And because I’m actively taking responsibility for my life and changing for the better, I know the Universe has my back.

I seek out sources for the truth. I have an internal shit detector that, when I’m thinking clearly, can smell a rancid person from a mile away. And my advice to you, if it feels bad…it is bad. Don’t shove that shit under the rug hoping it gets better. It doesn’t. And when you start digging for the truth, you will find it. And it will come from the least expected person. A person who is willing to say “I gotta tell you…as much as I {fill in the blank}, I have witnessed the same thing. You are not crazy.” Look for the helpers. Look for the truth. Seek and you will find it.

So – as I close today, I ask you this:

How are you silencing the voices in your head? How can you change the inner dialogue by asking not “Why are you like this?” but instead “What is so fucking awesome about you?” What are the things Aerosmith wishes they had in common with the rockstar that is you?

Oh…and here is your song today 🙂 You can thank me later.