Fighting For My Thyroid Diagnosis

Getting a proper diagnosis for your thyroid, for some reason, isn't easy. I just want to share my story so that you can know 3 things.

  1. You're not alone
  2. You're not crazy
  3. You can get a proper diagnosis

thyroid diagnosis

Let's start at the very beginning...

A very good place to start... (know what that's from?)

In 2009, my mother-in-law pointed out my neck. It was swollen. A goiter, she called it.

Insert paranoia of my neck protrusion.

2011, I was pregnant with my 4th, and my OB/GYN noticed my neck and wanted to run a test. The test came back fine. If I had known then what I do now, I could've figured this out years ago.

I had my 5th child June of 2014. He was big. He was adorable. He was perfect. Well, I ought to say, is perfect.

6

Then, somehow (I know how it works), we were unexpectedly pregnant in September that same year. Yes. September.

We thought we were done with #5. Well, Mr. Barlow was done. I was like, 90% sure I was done. Then, I got pregnant.

I was elated. Nervous, but elated. They’d be Irish Twins.

I had a somewhat normal, for me, pregnancy. Normal = super super sick for 10 months.

This time, I got anti-nausea medication. Hallelujah. It helped a ton.

Two weeks after Thanksgiving, I started spotting. Which was weird for me because with my 5 pregnancies I never, not once, spotted. Ever.

I called my doctor, we ordered an ultrasound. I was a wreck. A straight up mess.

We went in. As soon as I saw that little baby, I knew. She (or he) had passed.

It was an awful awful moment. I bawled. I’m so glad Mr. Barlow was there. He is like a calming drug. He can just walk in the room and I know everything is going to be okay. We held each other.

I was devastated.

Then came the worst part.

Waiting for the baby to miscarry fully. Two days later I was in “labor.” It felt like full on labor. Remember, I have experienced labor without meds. It ain’t pretty and it ain’t comfy. It hurts like hell. I don’t care what any mother-earth woman says. It hurts like hell and give me an epidural now!

No such luck. I was given pain meds and ibuprofen. That was a joke. It took it from pain 10 to pain 9.5.  Anyway, needless to say, it sucked. There was lots of blood. Contractions and misery. For several days.

The absolute hardest part was when I was in the shower and huge clots and placenta were coming out. I just prayed and prayed and prayed that I wouldn’t actually see anything that looked like a baby. Then I had to flush all those bits down the toilet. It was torture. I felt like I was flushing my baby away. My gut twists even thinking about it now. I was a bawling mess.

Heavenly Father carried me through that storm. Prayers from my family carried me through. "I’ve-been-thinking-about-you's," carried me through.

I felt a strength within me - that didn’t come from me - build and hold me up.

My emotions and heart healed quickly. I knew I’d be blessed with another precious one. Someday soon.

 

I felt inspired to take care of my health and my body. At that time, I only thought of lose weight, and eat right.

I started right away. I ate clean - I followed Trim Healthy Mama. (They have a new book coming out Sept 2015) I felt better. But not much was happening weight wise. I looked more into their book and they kept talking about the thyroid and hormones.

Well, I have had, for years now, an enlarged thyroid. Some would call it a goiter, but I refuse, because it sounds like something Quasimoto-ish. Yuck. No offense Quasi.

So, I started searching around for other information. I kept seeing thyroid, thyroid, thyroid. I read Wheat Belly. Well, skimmed it. Until I got to the good parts. The HOW of the book (1 chapter). Then read Wheat Belly Total Health, this book talks a lot about the thyroid. Then I read Grain Brain. And on and on and on.

Yikes. It was time to get my thyroid figured out.

I was freaking out. I was looking for natural remedies and food remedies. I did not want to go to the doctor. I have no idea why. I just wasn’t ready for that step. But all that information. All that information!

It’s overwhelming.

And discouraging. And confusing. Oh... and scary.

Who in the H am I supposed to follow? Believe? What am I supposed to do??

Enter, Mr. Barlow. He calmed me down. Said to call the doctor and take it one step at a time.

I did. I called Doctor #1 and she ran some tests and ordered an ultrasound.

Results: My thyroid was fine, but I was low on iron.

Turns out, she ran the archaic tests. Boo.

I was all set to call her back and demand further testing and to look at my neck, when a dear friend of mine pointed me to another doctor.

Had the neck ultrasound. That was weird. I'm used to seeing a baby during an ultrasound, not gray neck matter.

 

I called Doctor #2, and got an appointment for two days later (thanks to a cancellation). Got in, and she ordered tests.

Results: I was borderline low thyroid and incrediblely deficient in Iron and Vitamin D.

I was put on a prescription for Vitamin D3 and was ordered to take a ton of Iron. At this point I had been eating wheat free, and sugar free for 2 - 3 months, and sticking to Trim Healthy Mama.

She referred me to an endocrinologist (Doctor #3) to look at my enlarged thyroid because in the ultrasound there was a nodule found.

A nodule could mean three things:

  1. It’s fine.
  2. Your thyroid’s dead.
  3. It’s cancer.

We monitored my vitamin D and iron levels. Over the next few months they rose towards a healthy level. Doctor #3 ordered an uptake scan and blood tests. I got to swallow a radioactive pill!!

 

enlarged thyroid

 

Results: My uptake indicated that it was a "normal" nodule. No one wants to explain what that means. Basically, it’s not cancer and we just monitor it.

In the words of my endocrinologist, "It's not cancerous...[super long pause]...probably."

She forgot to tell me about the blood test results: I had to remind her a few times to get the results .

I officially have Hashimotos, an autoimmune disorder.

My endocrinologist said, "oh it goes away, you don’t need to do anything to your diet or take meds."

FALSE!

That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard a doctor say.

I told Doctor #2 that and she said she’d be finding me a different endo and would not be referring any more patients there.

Doctor #2 put me on an autoimmune diet and on thyroid medication.

I’m telling you. The autoimmune diet sucks. Straight up sucks. Like, I’m crying it sucks that bad.

I’ve read books on the Autoimmune Protocol Diet for Hashimotos and Autoimmune Disorders. They eat poop foods and take out all the good ones.

I made a list of all the foods I can eat, that I like to eat. Here they are:

  • chicken
  • turkey
  • turkey bacon
  • onion
  • berries
  • apples
  • cantaloupe
  • lettuce
  • celery
  • herbs and spices (but not the good ones like cumin, chili powder, pepper)

That’s it.

Here’s the list of foods I am not supposed to eat:

  • beef
  • pork
  • eggs
  • ALL dairy
  • nightshades (peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, etc)
  • carrots
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • cabbage
  • lentils
  • wheat/grains/rice/oats
  • sugars (even stevia, xylitol, truvia, swerve)
  • chocolate
  • citrus fruits
  • bananas
  • watermelon
  • pineapple
  • corn anything
  • soy
  • nuts
  • seeds

Seriously people! Seriously.

Who wants to live like that?

They say, "oh you’re not deprived. You can drink bone broth and eat liver."

That’s disgusting; don’t come near me with your liver-bone breath. I’ll throat punch you.

The funniest bit in The Paleo Approach about the Autoimmune Protocol (you can eat beef and pork with this one, but nothing else good) said, hey, if you don't like fish you can eat offal. You know what offal is? Brains and guts of animals.

Then she said, if you want protein powder, go to the pet store. Buy some crickets. Dry them out, grind them up, and use that as your protein powder.

I kid you not. I even took pictures of the pages to prove it. Sick and wrong I tell ya. Sick and wrong.

offal and crickets

What am I eating (or not eating)?

I’m cutting out all grains (which is in EVERYTHING), sugars (except for the sweeteners xylitol and swerve). I’m slowly cutting out dairy.

That’s it. That’s most of my diet anyway. You are not taking my tomatoes and peppers from me. You are not taking the only breakfast I have: eggs. You are not taking beef from me. I don’t give a rat’s behind, you’re not going to get me to not eat that stuff. They’re my favorite foods.

I’ll eat hard cheeses and butter every once in a while. Seriously, I am not going to be miserable eating chicken breasts, lettuce, and apples for my only food for the rest of my life every meal.

I have honestly tried the other foods that I say I don’t like. I do not like them. I cannot swallow them. Will I die sooner? Possibly.

Maybe in a few months I’ll be better able to cut some more things out, or at least, scale back on my frequency of eating them. For now, tomatoes are in nearly every meal.

And I’m okay with that.

After about a month of my thyroid meds I stopped losing weight and started to feel like garbage again. I also have Adrenal Exhaustion (worse than fatigue). I am now being treated for both.

I'll go into what tests you should run and the symptoms and all that goodness in another post. I didn't want your eyes to glaze over longer than was necessary.

In the end, I was lucky. It only took me 3 doctors to get it right. Many people have to go to 5 doctors or more to get one that will run the right tests and listen to them.

Why is this the case? I have no idea.

I wish you luck if you're on a similar journey. If you ever need to talk to someone -- I'm here.

 

Mwah

 

 

 

7 Tips For a Successful Writing Retreat

ashland writers retreat For my birthday my husband gifted me with a writing retreat.

 

I had one for my Mother's Day gift, and it was glorious.  Having done one I was even more prepared for my second one.

 

It was a DIY writing retreat, not anything fanciful and expensive.  You don't have to blow a ton of money for the best retreat possible.

 

[Tweet "Planning a writing retreat? Here are 7 tips for you."]

 

You want to make it as successful and efficient as possible.

 

1. Reservations 

This may be obvious, but I didn't make them this last time, so I wound up in a less expensive, but also less nice hotel for my stay.  Make sure your room has Wifi, table/desk, good lighting, thick walls, comfy bed, a mini fridge, and a microwave.

 

in the hotel

 

The place I wound up had all of those except good lighting and thick walls. It was not my favorite thing overhearing my neighbors through the night, though I suppose I could use some of it in my novel.

 

2. Food

This is why it's good to have the mini fridge and microwave.  The first time I brought some yummy food from home.  This last time I bought some snacks at the store to bring. I recommend some favorites and make sure you've got both junk food and healthy snacks.

 

pull n peel face

 

You want stuff that will keep you energized, alert, and focused!

 

3. Materials

I brought my laptop, my tablet, my phone, notebooks, note cards, mini notebooks, pens, pencils, chargers for all devices, USB, and my writing books (or at least my favorite ones).

 

I made sure I had everything I could possibly need so that when I wanted to sit down to work I wouldn't have anything keeping me from getting my writing done.

 

3.  Schedule

Not a minute by minute schedule, unless that works best for you.  I had my arrival time, and I knew what I'd be doing that first afternoon and night. Then I had my schedule for the next day.

 

ashland streets collage

 

My first day I walked around the city for some decompressing from my daily life.  I got lost in my mind and in the shops and people around town.  I got some food, I took pictures.  Then I went back to the hotel and got to work.  The next morning I had a tour scheduled at the local theater and then work time.

 

4. Preparations 

The whole week before my retreat I did some prep work.  There were some structural things I needed to work on so I read two of my favorite books on structure to get my brain working in the direction.  I took copious notes for reference as well.

 

I sketched out things that I really needed and wanted to work out and write.  There were some things that demanded my attention before I could continue on with the story. At home, my life is so here and there and everywhere it has been hard for me to scratch out a huge block of time to tackle these harder items. My retreat was the perfect time!  The only distraction I would have would be my own wandering mind.

 

5.  Sleep

I don't mean sleep while you're there.  You need to make sure you're as caught up on your sleep as you can possibly be. In my world, that's getting 6 hours of sleep a night instead of 5.  It's not much better, but it's a step in the right direction. I even took a nap on Friday when the kids were napping.

 

1 am

 

Being tired was definitely something I struggled with when I was out there this time.  My first retreat I stayed up until 4 AM working and the next day I woke up at 9 AM and wrote until 9 PM.  It was glorious.  This time I went to bed at 1 AM (and felt guilty for it) and then woke up early to check out and make it to my tour. When I was writing there was a good chunk of time that I was fighting sleep. I just wanted to rest my head on my desk   *sigh*  but I pushed through and was rewarded for it.

 

6. Know your location

The first time I was on my retreat I spent an hour in my hotel room studying  some complimentary city maps. I planned my routes everywhere.  It's a smaller city, and you mostly get around by walking.  You just find some place to park and then hoof it the rest of the day.

 

ashland shop collage

 

Well, if you're in a 2 hour spot you'll have to go back and find a different one.  That first trip out I spent a lot of time walking around really getting to know the city's ins and outs.  What the locals do, the short cuts everywhere.  Everything I could.  My book is based in this city so it is partly research.

 

ashland park Collage

 

I figured out the best places to eat, the best places to write, where I could plug in, where I shouldn't go.  If I needed to bring a sweater because it was cold.  Where the best parking places were. There is a 4 hour parking lot and there are some awesome side streets to park on that some people haven't discovered yet!

 

This last trip I knew right where to go. Which streets to walk on, park on, etc.  It was very efficient and I felt like a local.

 

7.  Plan

I knew exactly what I would be working on Friday night.  I was working on all my major plot points and my world building.  Saturday I had some research done via a tour. Then I had the rest of my afternoon planned out from 12 - 9 PM when it was probably a good idea for me to walk back to my car before any crazies started popping out on the street. I spent that time planning my scenes and more world building.

 

ashland osf collage

 

I had a plan for what I'd work on and I had a back up plan.

 

I also had a plan for where I'd be working.  There is a local university that has a student center that is supposed to be open on Saturdays.  They lie. They lie like filthy animals.  I had parked on this awesome side street, walked 3/4 of a mile to the center (in the rain) and all the doors were locked.  Each door boasted that they were open Saturdays from 9 AM - 6 PM.  Filthy filthy liars.

 

Back to my car I went, praying the whole way I wouldn't wet my pants.  My bladder isn't that strong after having 4 kids and holding it halfway through the tour.  I drove to another side street and walked another 1/2 mile to the local library.  Yes, I did go to the bathroom. I also found a perfect spot.  It was a lovely desk all to myself by the window.

 

view out window

 

The window did provide a few moments of distraction for me though.  I was at the library until it closed (5 PM) and then I walked to a restaurant, ate and wrote there until I felt guilty for taking up a table. Then I headed to Starbucks and parked it at a table until dark and headed home.

 

I'm so glad I had a back up plan for that stupid student center or else I would've been in trouble.  I couldn't have written outside since it was raining off and on all day.

 

 

For my next trip

 

I wouldn't do anything different except get more sleep and save up some money to stay two nights in a row.

 

That would be harder for me to do since I would have to find someone brave enough to watch all four of my kids for one of the days while my husband was at work.

 

These short trips are perfect for once a quarter and then I could do a longer retreat one to two times a year.

 

 

[Tweet "Here are 7 tips for a successful writing retreat"]

 

Your Turn

Have you been on a writing or work retreat before?  What are some tips that you have found to be helpful?

 

 

 This Friday I'll have a fun surprise for y'all!  Get excited!!

How to Take Charge of Your Self-Doubt Part 3

This is Part 3 in a 3-part series.  Here is Part 1 and Part 2

 

Source: Amy Wilblanks http://www.flickr.com/photos/arazas/

 

Self-doubt does not need to come between us and our dreams.

 

We can take back control over our fears and doubt.

 

In Part 1 you figured out where your self-doubt was stemming from.  In Part 2 you learned how to differentiate between a thought and a feeling and why that's important.

 

[Tweet "Laughter is poison to fear. ~ George R.R. Martin"]

 

Now we'll finish it up with some of the best tools.

 

Act as though you already are

 

What is your dream?  Okay, that's great!  Now you act as though that already is true.  Let's try one together.  I want to be a best-selling author (It's true, I do).  What does a best-selling author do?  Besides sign books?  Ha!

They write.

They read.

They promote.

They blog.

They are involved in their community.

They are involved in many online communities.

They help others.

What else am I missing?

 

I could break that down even further to really get into the nitty gritty.  I could look at what some of my favorite authors do and emulate them.  I won't go walking around offering to sign books (after all I wouldn't be signing mine just yet), but I will walk around telling myself and others that I am a writer, an author. I will tell myself that my writing is best-selling-book-grade writing.  What!

 

You want to be a painter?  Bam! You are.  You want to be a coach?  Bam! You are.  A proctologist?  Bam!  An esthetician?  Bam!  Of course, don't go operating on people if you haven't graduated yet.  You may have several steps to go to actually get there, but you tell yourself you're there and you'll start to believe it.

 

 

Source: Symphony of Love http://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/

 

 

The mind is a funny thing.  As a kid I would tell some made up story so much that over time I actually believed it was true.  Some of my childhood memories I don't even know if they ever happened.  I could have easily passed a lie detector test in the midst of an outlandish lie (I told some doozies -- I'll save that humiliation for another post) easily because I believed what I was saying.

 

Don't lie to yourself, but tell yourself you are that someone that you want to be often enough and you'll believe  (clap your hands if you believe in fairies).

 

Wait!

Did you see that heading up there?  It said act as though you are, not just say that you are.  That's a big difference.  Our actions and in-actions, our choices, are what shape our lives.  If we want a full, rich, meaningful life, we need to make choices and then follow them up with the actual doing part.

 

choices

 

The 3 tools of fear

 

tools of fear

 

1.  Discouragement

Something happens to us, or doesn't happen, and we're discouraged.  Maybe we didn't get as many page views or comments on our blog as we were hoping for.  Maybe we got a bad review, or someone unsubscribed.  An opportunity didn't work out. Or maybe someone did the same thing as you, but they succeeded when you didn't.

 

Talk about lame.  That hurts.  You try and you skin your knees.

 

Source: Massdistraction http://www.flickr.com/photos/sharynmorrow/

 

2.  Doubt

That's what this is all about: self-doubt.  You are discouraged and then you begin to doubt yourself, doubt your abilities, others, or even God (or whatever higher power you believe in). It's gone from "gosh, it didn't work out" to "it's just not possible."

 

This is even worse.  You don't think you'll be successful.  You don't think you can actually write, blog, paint, dance, coach, teach, operate, etc.

 

 

3.  Despair

This is the lowest level.  You say to yourself,  I'll never be able to do anything good.  I'll never amount to anything.  No one loves me, no one cares about me, I don't deserve to be loved or happy.  I'm a total screw up.  Nothing I want to do works out and nothing ever will.

 

This is heartbreaking.  This isn't where you want to be.  You'll never be able to do anything that brings you joy if you are in this stage beating yourself up.  No one deserves to be told this.  Ever.  Even those poor people that try out for some reality competition show that really can't dance or sing or whatever.  They may not be great at those things, but they are great at something.  Everyone is great at something.

 

Source: Mourner http://www.flickr.com/photos/mourner/

 

What do you do when you find yourself in any of these stages?  What do you do when you feel stuck?

 

The 3 tools of confidence

 

1.  Hope and Trust.

 

hope quote

 

Have hope in yourself and your abilities.

 

Have hope in others.

 

Your family, your friends, and other people out there in the world sincerely want to help you, guide you, and teach you.  They are there!  Since blogging I have found so many people out in the blogging community that truly care about helping me to succeed and to grow.  I am blown away by their sincerity and their advice.  There are others that you know that care about you.

 

Most of all, trust yourself.  Have faith and hope in your abilities.  Go back to your Part 1 exercises or start over again.  What are you thinking and feeling (part 2)?  Let's replace the negative thoughts and feelings with something a lot more realistic, logical, helpful, positive, and true.

 

thought progression

 

2.  Service.

Most of the time when we are stuck in a vortex of negative thinking it's because we are thinking of only ourselves.  We're on Me Planet. Captain You Planet (you can watch the whole video, it's hilarious, but the Cpt You Planet part starts at 3:53).

 

The best way to stop thinking about ourselves is to think about others.

 

Is there a charity that means a lot to you?  Is there a charity in your community that needs help, even if you don't know anything about it?

 

Is there someone - a family member, friend, neighbor, or stranger - that needs help?  It doesn't have to be major.  In fact, it's those little somethings that bring the biggest smiles.

 

Someone just had surgery or a baby?  Bring them a meal.  Someone just lost their pet? What could you do for them?  A stranger needs help jump starting their car, or a friendly or encouraging smile.  A friend needs a break from her kids, or needs help organizing her closet, or folding her laundry.  Maybe your brother needs a night out.  Maybe his job is stressing him out.

 

Source: Rosie O'Breine http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosieobeirne/

 

The more we think of ways to help others the better you'll feel.  Weird isn't it?  You help others with their issues and the joy you feel gets deep inside your heart and sets roots.  You will feel encouraged and lightened, even if you weren't directly working on your problem.  You never know, maybe someone you help can in turn help you in other ways.

 

We need to get out of our way and realize that the world doesn't revolve around us.  This world is a community.  We each do better by helping others do better.

 

3.  Meditation.

I'm not saying you should sit on the ground, ankles crossed, fingers pinched and say "omm" over and over again.  You can if you want to though!  Take time every day.  In the morning, in the afternoon, at the close of your day.  Take some time to just sit and think. Or not think.

 

Photo source: Moyan Brenn http://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/ Quote addition: Me!

 

Just be still and quiet and at peace for a time.  If you are going to think, think of positive action oriented things.  Think of the good in your life, think of the positive steps you're taking.  Celebrate your successes.  Brainstorm ways you could tweak something you've been working on.  Give yourself a break.  Do you need help? Where could you go to get help?  Who could you go to?  If you are religious, say a prayer from the heart.

 

{Tweet "Courage is fear that has said its prayers. ~ Dorothy Bernard"]

 

easelly_visual

 

Gratitude

Be grateful for what you have, no matter how small.  Just like the song from White Christmas, count your blessings.

 

The place you live in, your comfy bed, your food, your job, your ability to read, your freedom, the mountains, the sun, the stars, your favorite candy, water, toothpaste, and on and on and on.

 

[Tweet "When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears. ~ Anthony Robbins"]

 

Here's another challenge for you: keep a gratitude journal.   I kept a gratitude journal a few years back when I was having a hard time and it changed my outlook within days.  I listed the big to the mundane.  I thought of everything I could in one sitting each day.  Even if it takes a while to get rolling  just write until either your hand or your brain is dead.  Keep a gratitude journal for at least one week, that's 7 days folks!  That's not too rough.

 

In the end...

 

I have really enjoyed writing this series and I hope that it has helped you.  We do not have to let self-doubt keep us from living and being happy.  You ought to be confident and hopeful.  You have so much to offer.  Self-doubt can come and go in cycles.  You may be feeling great now (yay), but then for whatever reason hit a slump.  That's okay.  Stand up, read these posts again, and get back to work.  If you need me, I'm here!

 

Source: Always Thirteen http://www.flickr.com/photos/dlba13/

 

Your Turn

 

What things have you done that have helped you let go of your self-doubt?  Let us know some new strategies in the comments.  Also, I'd love to hear your thoughts on these latest steps.

 

[Tweet "Take charge of your self-doubt now!"]

 

 

 

 

 

How to Take Charge of Your Self-Doubt Part 2

This is Part 2 in a 3 part series.  If you missed Part 1 go read it, then come back. I won't go anywhere without you!

You're still alive!  I didn't have to put you on sui-watch after Part 1!  I have fun stories about putting people on sui-watch.

 

Self-doubt is a pesky thing I'd like to take a pick ax to.  You feel the same way? Well, read on my friend, read on!

 

Put Yourself Back in Control

Remember that list of negative thoughts? Pull them back out!  We're going to do a little exercise.

 

Really? Again?

Stop your whining folks.

This is you.

 

Step 1

Take your paper filled with negativity and then look at the first one. You're going to replace that thought with a correct one.  You can take as much time and as many sentences as you need to dispute and dispel your snippet of self-doubt.

 

Here's one of mine:

 

No one will care what you have to say.

Umm, that's not true. My mom cares.  Oh! So do my husband and children. I have friends that go out of their way to support me and listen to what I have to say.  I have important things to share; I can be useful and helpful to others.

 

It's your turn now.  You may have too many to do it all in one sitting.  You will see that many of them overlap and won't require you to do the exercise for each and every single thought.

 

[Tweet "Replace negative thoughts with the truth."]

[Tweet "Devour your fear. ~ Simon Holt."]

 

 

Step 2

When we start throwing our emotions around and don't identify and separate our thoughts from our feelings we lose control of ourselves.  An I Feel statement is a great tool to put you back in control.

 

What is an I Feel statement?  I'll show you the outline of it and then give an example.

 

I feel _____ because I think that I _____.  My hope for myself is _____. My hope for you is _____.

 

Your feelings flow from your thoughts. They are not the same thing.  I don't feel like I'm unsuccessful. I don't feel that you're a jerk. (you're not, by the way). I cannot feel a thought.  You feel a feeling.  Ya dig?  So keep the I feel a feeling.

 

Also, keep it about yourself, not others.  You don't feel something because of what others do to you.  You feel something because of your own thought.  We have to be accountable for our own thoughts and feelings. Hence the because I think that I part.

 

shout

Sorry folks. I'll give an example based on my above self-doubt and you'll see what I mean.

 

I feel discouraged because I think that I am not comfortable putting myself out there.  My hope for myself is that I will push myself to make sincere connections.  My hope for you  is that you will recognize my efforts to be sincere.

 

Your knee-jerk reaction may be to say something full of self-pity.  Or a thought that may be out of your control.  For instance, I could have said because I think that I am unpopular.  or because I think that I am unsuccessful.  or because I think that no one likes me.  The first two are out of your control and full of self-pity. The latter, isn't even about me: it didn't even start with I.  

 

The I Feel statement and its rules empower me.  No one else can dictate how I feel.  I do that.  It helps me to be a better communicator to my friends and family.  I take better accountability for my actions and in-actions.

 

[Tweet "Mastering others is strength. Mastering oneself makes you fearless. ~ Lao Tzu."]

 

Your turn!  Take the self-doubt that is the biggest stumbling block for you.  Now put that into an I Feel statement.  What is the feeling that you associate with it?  What is the thought associated with that feeling?  It helps you break it down into your mind of what it really is and where it's really coming from.  It's not from my brother and all his accomplishments.  It's from me.  It's not from that amazing best-selling author that I compare myself to.  It's from me.  Whatever it is you're fearing and doubting is from you.

 

[Tweet "Your fear is 100% dependent on you for its survival. ~ Steve Maraboli."]

Step 3

Take action!

 

In your I Feel statement, in the "my wish for myself" section, you are guided to what needs to be done next. Now is the time for attainable steps.

 

In my first example sentence I said that I will push myself to make sincere connections.  How?  It is an ambiguous statement.  It's not concrete and it's not measurable.  It's a hope: not a goal and not an action.

Photo courtesy of Michaela Kobyakov.

How am I going to push myself to make sincere connections?

  • I will be involved with my friends in various ways -- phone calls, play dates, girls night out, game night, emails, connect on FB
  • I will be involved on my Facebook fan page in various ways -- polls, conversations, recommendations, contests
  • I will engage in conversations on Twitter.
  • I will follow new people with similar interests on Twitter -- real people, not the ones that are solely pushing products.
  • I will get involved on the blogs that are meaningful to me. -- commenting, replying to others' comments, guest posting, encourage
  • I will be involved in forums and groups and be fully supportive to others.

 

These are all steps I will take to foster real relationships.  They will ensure that my purpose and my passion remain authentic and true.  I want people to perceive me as I am - genuinely interested in their success and happiness.  When I do this with concentrated effort I know I will be successful in accomplishing my goals.

 

My only remaining step is to make these measurable.  I will do such and such 3x a week, etc.  Then I set a date to evaluate my progress.

 

What am I supposed to do again?

  1. Disprove your negative thoughts - replace them with truths.
  2. Write down your I Feel statement.
  3. Take action. List goals and steps to make your hope from #2 happen.

 

[Tweet "Disprove, I Feel, Take Action."]

 

Was it hard for you to work through your I Feel statement?  What are some steps you are taking towards your new goals?  Share your I Feel statement with me! I'd be happy to help you if you're stuck.

 

Stay tuned for Part 3!  [Part 3 is now here!]

 

 

 

 

How to Take Charge of Your Self-Doubt Part I

Note: This is Part 1 in a 3 part series.  I will update this post with links to Parts 2 and 3.

 

We have all been there.  Yes, I just put you in a corner (don't put baby in a corner).  I am not immune to self-doubt.  I do not think there are many people out there that are.  If they are I'd like to slap them until they begin to doubt themselves.  No, no, I jest.  I applaud them.  After all, that is why I'm writing this post.

 

depressed woman

 

Common Negative Thoughts

What's the first thing you say to yourself when you get lost in your "Dream?"  You know, the big one.  The one you've been dying to get started on, or have just put your toe into. I'll share some of mine.  "You're not good enough."  "You'll never be as good as --"  "No one will care what you have to say/do."  "You won't be successful."  "You'll get the worst reviews anyone has ever seen."  "No one will read your book."  "If someone does read it they'll mock it until the day they die."

 

The last one was dramatic, I admit, but when are we ever not dramatic?  I can feel thousands more just poking at my brain, begging to be released onto this post.  I won't overwhelm you with all my self-doubt.

 

Where do these stem from?  What's the pattern of my negativity?

 

Fears

We all have fear.  I am one of the most fearful people I know.  Besides Monk.

 depressed man

 

Fear of Rejection

To me this dictated how I acted in my growing up years.  I was so scared of rejection that I would be friends with anyone who was remotely friendly.  Even if they were the worst kind of people.  I would pretend I knew all about a certain band or show or celebrity just so I wouldn't be made fun of.  I stopped doing that after one friend caught me in it.  She made up some band and asked me if I liked their music.  When I agreed she called me a liar.  Eek.  Thankfully my storytelling (read lying) got me out of that one real fast.  I never pretended to know about something I didn't after that!

Ones fear of rejection is ones fear of love. ~ Alexandria Honey

Fear of Comparison

I'm sure you hate being compared to anyone or anything as much as I do.  Of course, if you're comparing my writing ability to a child's then I'll win happily.  I have a brother who is just sickening.  I am a jack-of-all-trades kind of girl, but he is the Master-of-all-trades kind of guy.  He never played soccer before, joined a club, and the week later the University he went to was asking him to play on the team.  He wants to work with wood so all of a sudden he's a master carpenter.  He can do any outdoor activity there is.  Rock climbing, ice climbing, cave diving (and I mean the real scary ones that no one has gone in before), river rafting, sky diving (all the cool moves included), and on and on and on.  If the stores ran out of food today the man could survive off the land for the rest of his days without a worry.  He is also hilarious.  And handsome (all my friends were in love with him).  He can act!  He can sing!  He paints! He is an amazing writer!  He is a wonderful husband and father.  He is intelligent.  He knows all there is to know about business.  "He speaks Kiribati fluently.  I'm telling you, he can't do anything wrong.    Now you're thinking, where in the blink is his blog so I can read it instead of yours?  Ha!  He doesn't have one!  Yet.  He could fart in someone's face and people would say it smelt of roses.  I'm here to tell you his farts are lethal.  I lived through them.  Barely.  I have let my fear of being compared to my brother, J, keep me from venturing out and trying out my own dreams.  I'd never be able to master anything to the degree he could nor as quickly.   I love you, you dirty rat!

 

Fear of Success

This one is a weird one for me.  My dad is the one that told me I was scared of success.  I don't get it, but I'm sure I've got it.  It probably has a lot to do with my fear of being compared to my wizard brother. Where is the number to that psychologist?

 

[Tweet "Fear kills everything. Your mind, your heart, your imagination. ~ Cornelia Funke"]

 

Your Next Steps

Get out paper and a pen.  Think of the goals, dreams, and projects that are on your to-do list.  See that one that's waving its arms at you like a kid dying to be called on in class? That's begging for you to pick it?  Yeah, that one.  Pick that one.

Put that on a new sheet of paper.

Now, the scariest bit.  Write down all those negative thoughts associated with it.  Every single one.  Don't dwell on them, just get them out quick.

Do you see a pattern?  Is there a theme to the fears on your paper?

 

[Tweet "If a fear cannot be articulated, it can't be conquered. ~ Stephen King"]

 

To avoid leaving you in a pit of despair and vowing to never again attempt a dream I'd like to leave you with something positive.

light and quote

 

[Tweet "If you will you can."]

 

Part 2 has arrived!!

What is the goal you want to accomplish the most?  What is a fear you associate with this dream?  I shared a few of mine!  I won't judge you!  Unless your goal is to destroy the world or the Tri-state area.  I'm looking at you Doofenshmirtz.