Mary is a well known pediatric physician with three young kids. She used to be burdened by gripping guilt – a built both at the office where her colleagues worked 70 hours a week while she was only putting in 50 and at home where she was always distracted and too exhausted to spend any meaningful time with her kids and husband.
A heavy whisper inside her head plagued her – it constantly pressured her to be a better employee or her career was destined to fail. Medical school, sacrificing sleep, all that debt. Everything. For nothing.
While another voice screamed that she had to be a better mother.
She wanted nothing more than for at least one of these voices to disappear. Unfortunately, neither did. And they only got louder.
Because she was consumed with these voices and perpetually distracted, she missed new opportunities at work and while at home, she buried her head in her laptop.
Hooked on a feeling
Mary is smart. She’s successful. But she’s stuck – hooked on negative feelings, thoughts, and emotions – controlled by the chaos inside her head. She knew she couldn’t go on like this.
Fish on the line
She took the first step by recognizing you’ve been hooked. You can’t control everything. But you can control how you process and react to those voices that haunt your head. But by accepting it, you can respond appropriately – by being mindful and breathing through the experience, thoughts, and emotions.
Show yourself some compassion
Accept the situation then act based on your values. Mary loved her job and healing people. She also loved her family. Those were the two main values in her life. By not compromising her values, she was able to actually use them to maneuver difficult situations. Like finally getting home for dinner and being undistracted. And also, not sacrificing her work. She just made sure she worked when she was at work and was focused on family when they needed her.
Be confident knowing your struggle isn’t unique to you. Many others are battling the same thing.
Identify your values. Use them to guide your reaction to those voices. Get unhooked.