Word Prompt: Empathy | Story Prompt: from the book “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown

Write It Out: Instruction Video

“I remember telling Diana, my therapist, “I can’t function this way any longer. I really can’t.”

She replied, “I know. I see that. What do you think you need?”

I thought about it for a second and said, “I need a way to stay on my feet when I’m really anxious.”

She just sat there nodding her head and waiting, like therapists do. Waiting and waiting and waiting.

Finally, it dawned on me. “Oh. I get it. I can’t function this way. I can’t function in this much anxiety anymore. I don’t need to figure out a way to keep going with this level of anxiety – I need to figure out how to be less anxious.”

That silence thing can be effective. It’s a pain in the ass, but nonetheless effective.”

***

I think I’m getting to the heart of why doing this 80 km “sprint” solo is important to me.  It’s a call to action for myself. I have a friend who signs up for something, creates a training plan or study plan, follows the plan and then does that thing. It seems so easy, I think. Very straightforward. Why can’t I do that? For me, the battle is in my head. If I can get out of my head and into the action, then I’m okay. But the voices in my head have a pretty strong grip and don’t seem to want to let go.

“You’re not doing it right,” they say.  “You’re not good enough, smart enough, strong enough. You’re just a woman, just a girl.”

So, I need to prove it to myself. It can be exhausting as I try to silence the voices long enough to discover for myself. Any difficulties or setbacks I encounter, rather than providing opportunity and challenge, can bring the voices back so loud that they are deafening and make it even more difficult to return to the task. Sometimes they have won but never without a struggle… I am on to them.

***

Words have power – even (especially!) the words we say to ourselves. We must choose them wisely, and kindly – especially since that is the kind of world we want to live in. I find it helpful to follow a “pre-writing ritual” of my own making before I pick up my pen. This helps me lose any negative words that may be lurking like thugs in my brain as I begin, ready to attack anything I’ve written before I even get started. It does help! When you write, are there words you need to say to yourself, or rituals you like to perform, before or as you write? Share your thoughts here!

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