A tale of two cats…or how I made myself miserable for the most absurd reasons…
It’s a long holiday weekend, and I have the pleasure of having a young Russian Blue cat as a guest for the week.
Azzie is a long, lithe and beautifully elegant feline. My kitty, Chesterfield, on the other hand, is a stocky little full furball Chartreux.
And because life cannot be fun without some form of mental self-torturing, I found a creative way to pass some free time, so here is how it went in my head…
Chester is fat, he is officially way too fat, and he is so slow and he is not as graceful as little Azzie
Now I am really ashamed of myself because my cat is fat and people will know that I am fat and I am not going out of my home anymore because people will say all these things about me, I will get attacked, I will feel rejected because, heaven knows, I don’t even remember why but it must be true…
Meanwhile, on real Planet Earth, Azzie and Chester were basking in the sun, not a care in the world, as it should be.
You’re going to ask me, if I were to choose from the following, how would I describe my behavior? a nutjob, a masochist, a neurotic nerd…or all of the above my captain?
I consider myself a reasonably intelligent human being; I spent years building awareness of the monkey chatter in my brain, taming it, feeding myself with mantras and other positive self talk.
Yet somehow, a crack opens and the bugs of craziness organize a mental invasion.
My above jumping from two cats in the sun to the conclusion and resolve of not leaving home, ever, turned out to be a much-needed wake up call.
The fact is that the more I do that to myself, the better I get at harming my wholeness, my self-esteem, my self confidence and what matters most in my relationships with others; the desire of a connection based on trust and transparency, not a permanent game of hide and seek where I am wondering when they will reject me, so I reject first, I will not get my heart broken, ever.
The Goodie To-Tools
One of the teachings that really helped me is the Work by Byron Katie.
Byron Katie invites you to ask yourself 4 questions and to respond the most honest way possible, for the sake of your inner work and your personal growth:
- Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3)
- Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no)
- How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
- Who would you be without the thought?
This is how it went for me:
Is it true that people will reject me? It is always a possibility, but I don’t know it until I try and talk to them.
Next question: do I care, heck yes! I want to be loved, I want meaningful connections.
With people I can trust to be open-minded, respectful, who want an open and rational debate, based on the desire to make everyone part of the journey, each one of us at our own pace.
Next, how would you feel without the thought of being rejected: free as a bird or as a cat.
The next round of the Works is to rephrase the first sentence.
Now turn that thought around…
I reject myself, very true, I reject people, yes, 100% true, I reject first and save myself the potential theoretical hurt of being rejected, and I am judgmental too, by the way.
That wake-up call, was a ticking mental clock saying it’s about time to stop the insanity.
And it can be done right here, right now. What it takes is identify the moment when the chatter starts, ignore the offender and find a strategy to quell the mental insubordination;
It could be mantras or affirmations; it could be connecting with a friend or taking care of someone else or of your pet, or whatever system works for you.
The idea is not to let these unhelpful thoughts get comfy in your brain and start expanding out of control.
Increasing the awareness we have of our own behaviors, ensuring our thoughts are congruent with how we want to be and feel in that moment, are some of the essential tools of self-care.
The gift of sanity, of integrity and of wholeness.
The golden path to excellence and self-mastery.
What thoughts eat your sanity? What is your strategy to knock them out?
How to train your monkey mind in less than a New York minute.
The Cat Fanciers Association, in case you’re curious about the differences between Chartreux and Russian Blue cats.