I have known for a few days now that I need/want to further delay the opening of my massage practice, but I would not give myself permission to announce it as fact. Why?
I don’t want to disappoint my clients.
Last week I booked July 5 to 19 solid because the COVID numbers were moving in the right direction, and the state of California seemed to have a handle on the reopening process. Then we started seeing numbers come in from other states as they reopened, and it’s NOT looking promising anywhere that I can see.
NOTHING but health and safety need be considered when deliberating reopening my massage office, but MY tortured brain is still insisting that announcing my decision will “disappoint my clients.” WTF?
I was beating myself up for so many things in this scenario!
I shouldn’t have trusted the optimistic appraisal of California’s
re-opening roadmap. I shouldn’t have scheduled my clients so soon (fucking optimism). I should have waited. Why didn’t I wait? And my personal favorite ~ I should have known better! Really? Even though this is NEW and NO ONE in the world knows what to expect, I was holding myself to the standard that I – Cyndi Combs – SHOULD have fucking known what the rest of the world did not!
I know my massage clients really well. Most of them have been seeing me for years, and not one of them is the kind of person to hold this against me. Every one of them wants me safe, and wants to stay healthy and protect the health of their family. But I got out my emotional baseball bat and turned it ruthlessly on myself.
Mostly I just couldn’t figure out why the decision was DRAINING me so much. Thinking about it left me deflated and unmotivated, and the self-flagellation was so FAR under my radar (read: practiced enough to be on auto-pilot) that I didn’t even SEE it. But I sure as hell FELT it in my bones.
Thank the Universe I have a coach! Thank God I have developed
the habit of journaling when things feel “off” to try to make sense of them. Thank Goddess I took this realization of constant, systemic
self-flagellation to both my coach and my journal!
YES! Even though my current income is less than half what it was just three months ago, I make room in my budget to pay a certified, professional coach, and she is worth every penny.
When I took a long, curious look at my behavior, the following observations occurred.
I understand now that my own harsh self-judgment is my biggest roadblock, and a constant drain on my energy. When I beat myself up, it is the anchor that keeps me from moving forward into my goals!
For example: if I eat off plan, and then beat myself up for eating off plan, I am far more likely to eat off plan AGAIN to soothe my hard feelings. But if I eat off plan and then get curious about why I didn’t stick to my healthy intentions, look at my thoughts and process my emotions, I am far less likely to fall off the plan again!
The thing holding me back more than anything else is my own judgment of my behavior. Beating myself up has been holding me back. Beating myself up keeps me from accomplishing my goals. Beating myself up comes REALLY easily to me. I’ve practiced it repeatedly for decades, so it’s as natural as breathing and occurs with the same regularity.
I’ve been beating myself up for being human. I’ve eviscerated myself for making mistakes, or not getting ideal results on my first attempt. I’ve been beating myself up for not doing things I thought I “should” do because other people expected me to do them. I’ve been beating myself up for not doing things as well as someone who’s been doing them for decades longer than I have. I have beat myself up for “disappointing” my clients because I was too sick or injured to work.
I have beat myself up for having emotions that I judged to be negative. I beat myself up for judging myself. I beat myself up because I should have known better. I beat myself up because I should have been farther along by now. I beat myself up because I said or did something that I judged ‘stupid’ and felt embarrassed.
I beat myself up for not getting enough done in a day!
I am the sole employee at THREE business that I run by myself. I am super-productive, highly efficient, and an organizationally GIFTED, super-human achiever by most standards, and I still would beat the crap out of myself for not getting ALL of it done.
Fuck! No wonder I’m exhausted.
All of these things are normal human experiences. But I have been using them against myself. I have been using them to drain my own energy. The biggest drain on my energy is the enemy within me.
And I am done.
I am done beating myself up. From this moment forward, I beat myself up for NOTHING and no one. I will not judge myself harshly. I will allow myself human moments including the full range of this amazing Human Experience.
My self-judgement gremlin has been saying, “Cyndi, you can’t handle this.”
And for years now I have believed her, and beat myself up because I didn’t like the emotions I was feeling, or felt I couldn’t handle a situation because it didn’t turn out exactly as I wanted.
In order to cultivate awareness of self judgement, I will ask:
What’s going on here? Why am I being harsh with me? How helpful is that? Where did that come from? Why am I telling myself this story?
I intend from this moment forward to be compassionate with myself and when I fall short of that intention, I can give myself some grace instead of picking up the emotional baseball bat and wielding it against myself!
You can’t kill gremlins.
‘Gremlins’ is a term used in coaching to describe the voices in your head that say things like, “You can’t handle this.” “You’re not good enough.” “You suck.” “Why bother?” “It’s too late.” “Everyone except YOU has their shit together.”
I’ve learned a few things working through my own gremlins, and guiding clients to work with their gremlins. Gremlins arise to protect us and they don’t like to be left behind. If they fear they will be left behind, they grow louder and cause a great deal of discomfort. The way to ease their fear is to assure them they are not being left behind, and that we will give them an important role to fill in our lives. I usually do this by writing them a letter, thanking them for protecting me, and offering them a key role in my psyche moving forward. Here’s what I wrote to this harsh, punishing voice in my head.
My Darling Self-Judgment Gremlin,
I would be honored if you would accept the role of discernment decider! Discernment is crucial to human survival, because all of our choices are based on preferences. When I can discern what I do not want, then I can more clearly discern what I do want. Without you my darling discernment decider, I would feel confused and without direction. You get to help me decide where we steer our ship, which star we follow, and what flavor ice cream we eat on the way! Don’t forget your fucking cheerleading skirt!
Much love, Cyndi
What gremlin messages play on repeat in your head?
How true is that?
What is it trying to protect you from?
How much pain is the message causing you?
How helpful is that?
Why does this story keep running on repeat?
What is it costing to listen to constant negative messaging?
How willing are you to let it go now?
If this resonates for you and you would like to create a roadmap from self-shaming to self-respect, I offer two FREE coaching sessions to help you shift directions. WHY free? Why not charge for the sessions since I have no massage income?
Because many people don’t understand the value of coaching. And if finances are currently adversely affected by the pandemic, most won’t be willing to invest in something if they can’t comprehend its value. Most people immediately see the value after two sessions, and then invest in my services, so the free sessions are a win-win. Even if the client does NOT invest in my services, it’s a win-win! I get to practice coaching about which I am passionate and inspired, and they gain insight into themselves and acquire tools that will serve them for as long as they choose to use them!