“You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.” ~Brene Brown
How is everyone’s week going?! I have been having a pretty busy, work-filled week. I want to get to a place where I post 3-4 blogs per week; as of right now I’m still adjusting to my super hectic yet very awesome new job. I have been posting pretty regularly on my instagram though, if you haven’t checked that out yet! (@thewellnessworld) I mentioned Brene Brown in an earlier post, and she also deserves a spot in every post, ever, for that matter. She is the shame, vulnerability guru that allows us to accept our flaws and be fully ourselves at all times. And have you heard of Anne Lamott? She wrote a beautifully inspiring book about the art of creative writing, how to put words to your experiences and create a style of expression that is uniquely yours. In this book, “Bird by Bird”, Anne discusses the art of creating your Shitty First Draft. This when you get every thought and idea floating around into your head onto paper, in any way that feels right to you in that moment. Make it messy, make it unique, make it you. This is how Anne explains it,
“The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later. You just let this childlike part of you channel whatever voices and visions come through and onto the page. If one of the characters wants to say, “Well, so what, Mr. Poopy Pants?,” you let her. No one is going to see it. If the kid wants to get into really sentimental, weepy, emotional territory, you let him. Just get it all down on paper because there may be something great in those six crazy pages that you would never have gotten to by more rational, grown-up means. There may be something in the very last line of the very last paragraph on page six that you just love, that is so beautiful or wild that you now know what you’re supposed to be writing about, more or less, or in what direction you might go — but there was no way to get to this without first getting through the first five and a half pages.”
Sounds really fun, right? You may be wondering why I’m talking about this on a blog about wellness. This brings me back to Brene Brown, who has also incorporated the use of the Shitty First Draft (SFD) into her work and life. Her version of an SFD is a little less positive and fun, however, but we’re going to work on that. In Brene’s new book “Rising Strong”, Brene explains the SFD as being the immediate story you may tell yourself in negative situations, or what we perceive as negative situations. The script in your mind then lays the groundwork for the rest of your thoughts, which can spiral into a torrential downpour of negative emotions in your mind. This impacts your interactions with others and your ability to let your true self shine through.
This also goes back to the mindfulness skills, and training your mind to detach from situations, to not personalize them or take anything vague as fact. And it also really comes down to vulnerability, the ability to be truthful with another human being and express the SFD that you made up in your mind. This also involves being truthful with yourself, and being able to recognize the SFD you are making up in terms in order to protect yourself from your whole-hearted self. So when you find yourself in a situation where you are feeling uncomfortable, anxious, concerned, manipulated with someone (preferably someone you trust and feel somewhat okay about being honest with), tell them. Run it by them, ask them what’s going on. I’m sure the important people in your life will be inspired by your courage and consider also taking this approach further down the road for themselves.
Exercise: Think of a time recently when you told yourself a SFD. Explore the domino effect it may have had on you, your day, your ability to think clearly about the situation. Now rewrite that first draft.
Example: Your boss appears to hesitate before saying hi to you. You immediately assume she is upset with you, and that you’re going to get a passive aggressive email later. You think about the past week and all the things you may have “messed up on”, and decide that you must be in trouble for one of those. You go into the weekend, thinking that come Monday morning you will be out of a job. You have anxious butterflies, you can’t concentrate on your errands list, and you lost the ability to be present with your friends. A rewrite can look like this- “I don’t want to read into the hesitation because there was no indication that I did anything wrong, and she seems to have a lot on her plate today.”
Another Example: Your friend tends to send a lot of exclamation marks and smiley faces in text messages with you, and one day they reply with a simple “cool.” (This may sound silly, but I know my mind goes to rough places in this situation!) You jump to the fact that your friend is upset with you for forgetting to ask about the special project she was put on at work, and you replay situations in your head when you were an “awful friend” to this person. You start feeling really poorly about yourself, you are unable to engage in conversations with other friends because you begin to overthink your words, and you appear really shut down. A new, more realistic SFD could be- “I don’t always use excessive smileys and exclamation marks when I’m swamped at work, so maybe my friend doesn’t either. This very well have nothing to do with me.”
Rewriting that first part of the narrative is so difficult, and so powerful once you practice and remind yourself that everyone else is living inside their own heads- their reactions to you usually have nothing to do with you. If you give this a try, let me know! Have a glorious weekend. XOXO