Negative headspace

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    Jenn H.

    Hi everyone. I am new here and optimistic that I will find what I need. From the outside, I have a very full life. I am a mother of 4 kids, co-owner of a successful business, married to a wonderful man, have a nice home, etc. What I do not have is many friends. I have a best close friend that lives in a different state and acquaintances. I am not an outgoing person as social situations make me feel uncomfortable. So, in turn I feel very alone and unhappy. I never do anything that is not child related and when I am invited to do anything(whether with my husband or a rare outsider), I make up an excuse not to do it. I think it stems from the guilt that I received(and still do) from my father growing up. My parents divorced when I was 10 and I chose to live with my father. I had to grow up REAL fast and do everything that my mother used to do(clean, cook, food shop, laundry, etc). My father had a terrible temper and would blame me and my brother(never my older sister) for everything that was wrong in his life. Now, as an adult I live with the guilt that I don’t deserve to do anything nice for myself or if I do, that I am somehow taking away from my kids. In turn, I feel beaten up by life with little to no enjoyment. I feel so negative about everything when I really have no right to. Everything in my life is good except my headspace. How do I move past the negativity and enjoy what is right in front of me? Thanks for reading!!

    Rock Banana

    Hi jennh…

    Your ability to notice the negative headspace from a distance shows your relationship to it. You are not the headspace, you are not all of those thoughts and beliefs that come and go through your mind. If you were your headspace, then how would you be able to notice it from the outside, and notice that you would prefer something more positive?

    I’d like you think now of times in your life where you have behaved in a way that could be perceived as “outgoing”. Keep thinking. Start coming up with times. If you can’t think of anything then that’s because you haven’t thought for long enough yet so just keep thinking until you come up with some stuff.

    Now with all THAT in mind, remembering all that now, a belief you ‘saw through’ when you wrote your post was that you are “not an outgoing person”. This was a perspective you chose to adopt. With all of these times in your mind now, what do you make of the belief you saw through earlier when you wrote your post? Have you noticed the different feeling you get as you remember those times when you were outgoing now and realize how different you feel to when you wrote the post? It’s amazing how easy it is for beliefs to change quickly with new evidence, and what you probably notice now is a sense of dissociation from your old belief about your identity and a sense of possibility. In fact it can be quite exciting when the possibility for a new belief to form first comes. And I don’t know whether you’ll form the new belief today or tomorrow, next week or next year, but I do know that the new belief will be “I can be outgoing at times, reserved at other times”. What’s amazing about that is that as you have that more flexible belief beginning to grow now like a seed that was planted earlier and then it’s getting taller and eventually it blooms at some point now, is that when you believe it’s possible for you to be outgoing, you will notice times when you feel much more outgoing, and that will serve as a reminder to you on a deep level that you have the ability to perform well socially at times when you notice you are outgoing some of the time now. And whether that makes sense to you or not now doesn’t matter, only that you have read and understood how your beliefs have changed at an unconscious level now.

    Because with your new belief it’s easy to realize that you may even begin to feel quite relaxed and happy at some social situations, and I’m sure there have been times in the past where you have felt good at social situations and it’s a curious thing that it can be so easy to remember some of those times now. It’s funny how when you wrote your post, you forgot about all those times when you felt good in social situations, but now you begin to remember them, and more and more can fill your mind only as quickly as you remember to realize that it doesn’t matter how many you remember now, only that they existed and that means in turn that they can exist in the future too. After all, if you’ve already begun to notice how possible it is for you to be outgoing at times and there were times in the past when you felt good in social situations then it only feels obvious that there will be successful social situations in the future, and whether they occur once a week or once a year they are still very possible, and that feels good, doesn’t it?

    In turn, when you are invited to do something, try not to be surprised when you might even start to notice yourself forgetting about what kind of excuses are available to you…because with the new beliefs you’re forming at a deep unconscious level then your mind may just forget excuses in the moment when you’re asked whether you’d like to do something, and then the only thing that’s left is whether or not you want to do it. And when you’re invited to do something then I wonder when you’ll realize that the first thing that pops into your head is your new belief as an occasionally outgoing person and times in your life when you’ve enjoyed social events and been outgoing in the past. And you might not notice the first time or even the second, which is what makes it even more amazing when you remember all of those new beliefs and memories next time you’re invited to do something and you feel that sense of, yes I can do this, which you didn’t even know was possible until you noticed it the first time, and then again and again. The funny thing about all this is that your practice at turning people down hasn’t gone to waste at all, and I expect you may have to buy a bigger diary, because you’re going to have to start turning people down more and more as you can’t even fit in all of your social engagements when that time comes. And as you read this and notice that feeling beginning to grow now as you feel more connected to the people in your life, don’t you, then you can begin to remember all the times in your life when you’ve felt happy and fulfilled.

    Go on, imagine that for me now. All the times when you’ve felt happy…all the times when you’ve enjoyed life… Take time now to really go into those images… Make them big and bold in your mind as you enter those realities now…

    And now that feeling is in the present, so too it can be in the future as you are curious to wonder how there has been enjoyment in your life and how there can be enjoyment in your life more and more with each moment now, so you feel like life is giving you wonderful experiences some of the time, and more of the time every day in fact. And if that’s true then you are being massaged by life, rewarded by life and as everything in life is good, so too can your headspace become good so that it blends in with everything else, like a chameleon.

    Your father gave you guilt once or twice and because you were young nobody ever explained to you that when you run it when he’s not around, it’s your own doing, not his. And now you realize that of course you’ll notice that with the empowerment of knowing it’s you running the guilt, in turn it’s you who stops running the guilt and starts running wonderful new empowering realities only as quickly as you start treating yourself to those things you deserve and that headspace becomes more positive.

    Because your headspace isn’t you, it’s headspace. So you can change that headspace as soon as you change your perspective. And you can change your perspective when you start reading this post. And if that’s true then when you look back on your old post it’s almost like somebody else has written it, isn’t it? I wonder if you’ll have that curious experience of feeling like the old post was written by somebody else with different headspace now or later, but either way, I wish you all the best and remembering that your life is good and it’s easy to forget to find exceptions to that when you’re reading this post and noticing your desire to close your eyes and imagine even more positive experiences that you are enjoying now.

    All the best, and remember to make yourself a nice warm drink or some other little thing you enjoy, after all you deserve it and whether your children know that more than you do, or you know it just as much as them, everybody’s waiting for you to take some positive action towards yourself now, including me!


    @RockBanana – That really rang some bells for me, especially this: “the new belief will be “I can be outgoing at times, reserved at other times”. I’m inclined to think I’m no good at making friends too, but when I read this, I had a sudden flash of “this week I’ve had a couple of good conversations, where I actually felt quite sociable – that was me too! – I can build on that”.

    I’ve used visualisation in the past to change my perspective of things, putting together a mental video of myself in different situations where I felt confident (even if only momentarily), then re-running it repeatedly, cutting all the good moments together to build a feeling of confidence. And it worked – I was able to do a training course that I’d thought I wouldn’t be able to cope with, and go on to get work that I’d previously thought would be impossible for me.

    But I hadn’t thought of doing the same thing for changing my view of myself as shy and introspective socially. I’ve also sat down and looked back at some of my past history, and made myself acknowledge the positive aspects of things that I’ve been remembering as totally negative. There were many good things in there that I’ve been totally overlooking. So helpful. (That might have been in response to another post of yours – whatever, it has helped me a lot.)

    I really hope your comments are as helpful to jennh. Thanks again.

    Jenn H.

    RockBanana – Thank you so much for your thought provoking reply. It will certainly be insightful when I can actually achieve the results that you suggest. I think it will take time to get to that place. I am realizing that a lot of the negative feelings regarding friends and such are driven by social media. For example, I go on Facebook and I see people enjoying themselves with others and think, “Why can’t I do that?” or “Why wasn’t I invited?” or “Their lives are so much better than mine.” I need to get to the place with none of this matters and I can realize that I am social when I want to be and I do have things to offer others. I just think it will take sometime to get there.
    In regards to the guilt by my father, it unfortunately wasn’t one or two times. It started when I was ten and I am in my forties now and it continued until a few months ago when I decided I had enough and I no longer speak with him. I think when a parental figure tells you that you are not good enough, you do everything wrong or thinks things would have been easier if you weren’t around, for several decades, it kind of sticks with you. I think that is a big reason I feel like I don’t deserve to be happy or enjoy the gifts around me, why I feel like I am not good enough to have friends. I know that I probably need several deep therapy sessions, but finding a place like this to put things out to unbiased people feels so freeing.
    I will heed your advice and try your suggestions over and over until it sticks.
    Thank you!

    Rock Banana

    I’m pleased to hear you’ve (both!) found this helpful. The issue with your father is indeed something to work on in isolation – it’s very sad to hear about what’s happened, but I’m glad you’ve noticed the importance of moving on now, and that’s a really significant and insightful thing for you to realize, because it forms your direction in the future.

    I deleted my Facebook account quite a few months ago now because I realized although it was just about helping me connect when I wasn’t around people in real life, I actually felt scared, stressed etc most of the time when using it. I must admit, I feel so better now having been off it quite a few months. It was very hard to come off it and my friends thought I was mad but it really has helped. The thing is, I still spend a fair amount of time alone, but there’s a different energy to it and I don’t feel like I’m being influenced by images of what I could be doing.

    Remember some quotes that will probably be familiar to you: Never compare the inside of you with the outside of somebody else.

    Facebook is a glistened-up, polished, carefully selected and narrated version of events. When it comes to these friends who want their lives to look great online, well, they don’t upload it when things go badly. They don’t upload their unhappiness. But those things do exist, you can bet. And actually they probably spend more of their life thinking about getting things on FB and spending time on that, than they do really enjoying what they’re doing.

    Just don’t be fooled, Facebook is a trick if you like, its users players of a game. When you step outside of that game, you almost begin to develop sympathy for them. Because a lot of people only upload stuff for approval and hoping other people think they look cool. How eye opening is that?

    Jenn H.

    Very insightful!! Thank you again, you have helped lift my spirits more than you know! 🙂
    Onward and upward!

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