I’m coming to see that a great deal of my stress is not caused by circumstances beyond my control – but by my own need to control my circumstances.
I could give you a ton of examples of this ( and so could those brave, intrepid souls who have worked and lived with me 🙂 but one incident that quickly comes to mind is the time a team of us spent three hot, sweaty days preparing for our son’s outdoor wedding reception at the beautiful lakefront home of his in-laws-to-be.
It was fun and exciting and stressful.
I was the “wedding coordinator.” And we pulled out the stops to make this moment as fabulous as we could imagine, complete with a huge tent, newly constructed (by the brides father) dance- floor -deck with those cool dangling lights, a fireworks barge on the lake and giant moving search lights beaming love into the night sky for all the world, or at least, everyone within 10 miles, to see.
It was glorious…
Until the worst thunderstorm in recorded history suddenly hit just minutes before the guests were to arrive. The wind gusted easily 50-60mph. There wasn’t even time to pull down the tent flaps we had especially added ” just in case.”
The storm stood STILL right over the lake, pounding wind and rain and thunder and lightning for a solid 45 mins.
It blew in so fast the caterers had no time to rescue the wedding cake which was pummeled with flying debris of every type including a generous assortment of insects native to Central Florida. Completely full champagne fountains blew over. All the table linens & candles were soaked.
Flowers I had spent days designing myself were strewn to oblivion. And this is just the cliff notes version.
Totally, my worst nightmare. I feel sick even now just writing about it.
After the storm passed, everyone was soaked to the bone–just getting from our cars to the house was a feat. And I stood in shocked disbelief amongst the soggy remains of what had been a stunning reception hoping to salvage anything remotely resembling beauty.
Meanwhile, the bride, groom, her parents and guests were having a wonderful time snacking on dripping wet appetizers & listening to the dance trio now set up in the living room. They were making merry, seemingly pretty much unfazed by the catastrophe we had all just witnessed.
I, however, was having a full on, mascara bleeding breakdown.
Ok. So, what’s really going on when we go all bonkers?
The source of all YOUR stress lies deep inside YOU.
Here are 3 often unidentified causes for stress you might want to consider:
1) Shame based stress
This stress is created by our ego need for approval, our need to feel accepted by certain people in our lives or, sometimes, by the entire world at large. We may take on projects to please others or ones that will put us in the spotlight or we may deny ourselves the rest we need in order to do something for a boss, friend or family member, whose approval is really important to us.
We may go to pieces at the failure of something we’ve worked on or over the disapproval of certain significant others. At our core we basically feel WE ARE NOT ENOUGH, not good enough, so we must make up for this lack, or cover the shame we feel for not being enough by doing, performing, appearing to be an amazing person, able to do or say amazing things.
We act in whatever way necessary in hopes of proving to people and to ourselves that we are really ok, that we are truly good enough.
2) Fear based stress
This stress is based on our fear that WE DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH, we need more of something to feel safe.
This could mean we work harder than others to acquire MORE money, study harder or stay in school longer to gain MORE education, or we collect more “toys,” have an insatiable appetite for more information, near addiction at times to possess more material things, we might eat more, or have deep need to make and keep more and more friends.
There is always a fear of not having enough of something. And, in an effort to feel safer, more secure in the world we stress ourselves out trying to obtain that illusive feeling of safety and security.
3) Guilt base stress
This stress creates a lot of guilty self-talk like ” I’m already behind before I’ve even started.” It’s about living into an internal, pre-recorded “script” that says, ” better not waste time” ” you are what you do” or tries to disprove a negative comment someone once said, like, “you’ll never amount to anything.”
So you’ll show them! And in the process you may visit the emergency room with chest pains every year because you’re trapped in guilt based stress.
Guilt based stress is always coming from the notion ( we picked up somewhere) that WE HAVE NOT DONE ENOUGH.
So, what’s really stressing you out? Is it really someone else or something else causing you all this tension and pain?
We all have issues, at times, with each of these 3 stressors. But, usually, there is one that does most of the damage, one primary script that keeps you frazzled, unhappy or all churned up.
Take a few minutes to reflect on your own stressful tendencies and how they show up in your life.
How are you actually creating the stress you’re trying so hard to avoid?
And how is the way you generate your own stress affecting your most important relationships?
Sit a few minutes in silence and notice how and where your body feels stress and, without judging yourself, ( just notice) inquire where that tension might originate from.
That horrendous thunderstorm that leveled our sons reception was not really what caused the stress I felt.
But, at the time, that’s all I could see.
(Or talk about. )
I have since learned that I struggle with a debilitating inner belief that I will never be enough. And when things go wrong or go seemingly unnoticed after I’ve put lots of “myself” into them, I can tend to get a bit crazy.
The good news is I am finally finding tremendous help and healing (though I still have work to do) through the tools and practices we use and teach at youlivetrue.com.
If you’d like help tracking down the true source of your own stressful tendencies contact us for a consultation @youlivetrue.com. We get your stress.
And PLEASE SHARE THIS BLOG with someone you think might be interested.