When your mind starts running, trip it!
After the initial shock of hearing that my brother was coming out as transgender, I was grateful to have some adjustment time. I was able to sit and absorb the news because he had decided to take time before starting his transition. He and his family needed time to come to terms with all that this would mean for them. He would continue to live his life as a man for a while longer.
So, as I said, I had time to “process” this change, this transformation to come. My mind had lots of time to run, and run it did! I gotta tell you, it is amazing how our brains go to work to find all the ways that change is difficult and dangerous. I had many thought loops continually running about how difficult this would be for him, his wife, his kids and me. The more I let my thoughts run unsupervised, the more uncomfortable I became. My thoughts created a level of discomfort, anxiety, and despair that just settled in and stayed with me for a while. It stayed with me and I carried it around like some heavy weight that was here to stay. I was living as if these thoughts were not a choice but simply reality. I had no choice other than to just sit tight and brace myself for the changes to come. But wait a minute, I didn’t want this reality.
So, I started to challenge my thoughts. I remembered that thoughts are not facts. They are created in our minds. The ONLY fact in this situation was that my brother was transitioning into a woman. PERIOD. All the rest of it was created, imagined, and perpetuated by my mind. I started to direct my mind to think of a different future. One where I had just as close a relationship with my sister as I had shared with my brother who had always been in my life. I began to envision us laughing together, and sharing moments as two women. We still had our history together. Our shared experiences would always be there. This change would not erase the past. We would simply create a different future together. As soon as I stopped letting my mind run amok with my thoughts, I started to feel better. This simple but powerful change was absolutely freeing, incredibly liberating. My mood of despair and foreboding was immediately lifted as I started choosing new thoughts. Yes, the future is unknown, but it is not completely random. Doing the thought work and staying conscious of what I am choosing to believe empowers me to show up in my present moment as I want to be and enables me to create the future I envision.
It takes deliberate effort and this process is a practice. It takes just that…practice. When I start to have feelings of sadness and fear I stop myself and look at my thoughts. I always find an old thought running around up in there again. I have to repeatedly take it out, realize what it is creating in my life and decide to replace it with a believable thought that creates the emotions I want to feel and the results I want to see. It is a practice, a walking mindfulness meditation, if you will.
This was the first positive step I took towards acceptance and it was a pivotal one. I shared it with his wife and could feel the change in her mood instantly. We talked about the possibility that she could decide what she wanted to create for the future with her children and her ex. We talked about our being able to sit with my sister and laugh and tease her as we do with my brother now. I could hear an immediate change in her voice and her mood. A lightness that wasn’t there when we started our conversation. This new idea was so empowering and opened up new possibilities and a new perspective. We had envisioned the future in a positive light with warmth and laughter. We visualized it together and it eased things so much, in the present moment, for both of us.
So, my question to you is, where are your thoughts running the show? Do you want different results than what you are currently creating? If you are struggling to accept someone or something that is present in your life, take a look at your thoughts and what they are creating. I can guarantee you that it is your thinking that is creating this struggle, 100% of the time. When you are ready to drop the struggle, the road to freedom lies within, not in a self-help book, or a new Ted talk. It’s all starts with you.