Me Me Me

Getting out of self, and into joy.

It seems so logical. We have a problem–or something that’s bothering us–we think about it. We spend time rolling it around in our brain, dwelling on it, maybe trying to “figure it out.” This seems like such a normal course of action for any human being. We all do it. Unfortunately, for some of us, it’s a shitty solution. It doesn’t work.

Last week I came home from the office whooped. Although it was late, I didn’t hop to making dinner like I normally would. Instead I plopped down on the bed and waited for my hubs to wander in; I needed my sounding board.

He laid down on the bed next to me and asked what was wrong. I sniffled a bit. Rolled over on my side to elucidate my anguish. Then I began, I told him everything that was “wrong” (please excuse the whiny and pessimistic voice, the drama was real that night):

  • I haven’t managed to find any coaching clients yet. I doubt I ever will.
  • Trying to “sell” myself as a coach feels awful and awkward and unnatural. I hate it.
  • I am trying to work on the coaching thing more, which means writing a bit less. Is that right? Is that a stupid decision? Shouldn’t I always be writing writing writing?
  • Why am I even talking about writing? I am not a real writer. A real writer is published. Even bad writers are published. I’ve sent in a few things to publications. I’ve been rejected and ignored. Now I blog instead. Real writers submit and submit and submit until they get through. Yeah. Not a real writer.
  • My running. I have been trying to get faster. It’s not really working. Even if it was, what’s faster to me is still not fast. What’s the point? I’m never going to achieve anything impressive athletically. I’m not going to qualify for Boston. I’m not going to place in some yoga championship. I’m not ever going to be elite or exceptional at anything I do.
  • If I’m never going to be exceptional at anything, what is the point? What is the mark I will leave on the world? What will be my legacy? Nothing. Mediocrity does not live on. I won’t have anything to show for my life. I will be gone and forgotten.

 

 

Big reveal: My biggest fear is probably that I am not special. That I am mediocre. That I am just one of many and was not put on this earth for any specific reason. 

 

 

So what’s the solution to all of this? How do I navigate these negative feelings? Do I listen to my hubs who of course tells me that it’s all bullshit, that I have plenty to be proud of? Do I leave this list here and wait for you all to assure me that my efforts are not a waste? Do I call my sponsor and cry to her about how nothing I am doing is working? Hoping she will have the right words to encourage me and send me off in the right direction?

No. It’s taken me a few years, but I have finally come to understand that using these solutions means I am misidentifying the problem. The problem is not all these things that aren’t going right. My problem is much more simple: ME.

A good indicator that I am not in a good place is when there’s a predominance of the words “I”, “my”, and “me” in what I’m writing or saying.

How am I going to succeed?

What is my purpose?

How are people going to remember me?

You see, my problems are most often of my own making. Once I let my ego take over, my world gets small and dark. I focus on what want and what need, and somehow, I end up miserable.

In AA, especially when you first get sober, people tell you all the time to do service. They say when you’re overwhelmed with your own problems–go help someone else. This sounded crazy to me, especially in early sobriety–when everything I was dealing with felt big and real and extremely deserving of my attention. But I wanted to not drink so I did what they said. I helped someone else. I cleaned up coffee at a meeting. I asked other people how they were doing. I listened to their problems.

It was magic.

When I took a break from my own worries and listened to someone else, I started to feel better. “Issues” I had would fall away. Solutions to problems that were real became clearer. Life became manageable. My world grew. More seemed possible.

Years later I still forget this shit. I get wrapped up in self-centered fear and forget that my solution is to help someone else. This concept isn’t just for getting sober–it’s for being able to live in my own skin. It’s for keeping my world big and full of light. It’s for maintaining an environment that I can thrive in.

What’s going on inside my brain today:

  • I’ve got to do whatever I can to make myself visible–so the person who needs me to coach them can find me.
  • I’ve got to write for that one person who needs my story–fuck a whole audience. I’ll write every day for that single individual who needs to know that they are not alone, that they are not the only one.
  • I have to maintain my athletic pursuits and reach even further–so that woman who might see me, who’s sure she can’t run a mile, tries anyway.
  • I’ve got to use what I’ve got, to help as many people in this world as I can before I leave it. It really doesn’t have to get any more complicated than that.

I never knew before I got sober that focusing less on myself, and more on other people could make me happier.

I can’t imagine what the world would be like, if we all knew this, and practiced it at the same time. How happy could we all be, helping each other?

As you can see by the beginning of my story, I forget this concept all the time. Hopefully leaving this here will serve as a reminder. When I’m miserable, (or in other words, quite sure the world is revolving around me), I’ll come back here to remember that the surest and swiftest way to joy is to be useful to another human being.

I leave you now with what my best days start out with. I’m not a religious person, but I do believe in something greater than myself. The bible turned me off until I took a “Bible as Literature” course in college and realized that there is a wealth of human wisdom in there. I actually don’t know if this prayer is anywhere in the bible. I, and thousands of others, have found it in AA literature. To me, it is the single most beautiful and constructive way to start my day. It’s how I understand: when I serve others, I am provided with everything I need.

*If you don’t believe in God, replace the word “Lord” with “Universe”, or leave it out altogether. You don’t need those words to set your intentions.

 

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace; 
that where there is hatred, I may bring love; 
that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness; 
that where there is discord, I may bring harmony; 
that where there is error, I may bring truth; 
that where there is doubt, I may bring faith; 
that where there is despair, I may bring hope; 
that where there are shadows, I may bring light; 
that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. 
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted; 
to understand, than to be understood; 
to love, than to be loved. 
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. 
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. 
It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life. 

 

 

I’m so glad we’ve found each other in the blogosphere, let’s connect on Instagram  as well! I’m entering a new phase so while I’ll post here every so often, this site is a bit under construction. However I am up and “running” on IG daily ; ).  Please come find me! x

 

Are you stuck? Do you feel blocked or unable to move towards the things you really want? Maybe I can help. Please get in touch via the comment section, my contact page, or use the link below to set up a get to know each other chat. My first 2 clients will receive a special discounted rate for their sessions. I look forward to hearing from you! x

https://cathbradleycoaching.as.me/

43 thoughts on “Me Me Me

  1. That prayer at the end made me smile, I’m glad you added it! I used to sing it in choir and it was one of my favorites.

    Everyone has tough days that they just feel everything is wrong with them, but everything you’re doing is amazing and your writing is touching a lot of people here. Think of how much you’ve accomplished in your life already and let that be your motivator. My guess is that your running is better than when you first started! Keep it up, girl!

    Like

  2. Great honesty here.

    On the business side, have you considered offering very low-cost sessions in return for testimonials, maybe to disadvantaged people? That kind of work building your testimonials will work wonders.

    On the running side, I am what you would objectively call not a very good runner. I’ve run marathons slowly. I will never get much faster, etc. But I know that I probably inspire more people to try running with my middle-aged, non-whippet-like self than the ultra speedy people by showing that if I can do it, anyone can. Sure, people I help to learn to run usually overtake me and go on to be “better” than me and that smarts, and certainly I put more emphasis on service in my life than is probably healthy (that’s not humble-bragging: I have an issue with only feeling I have a place in the world if I’m serving others) but it helps to remember that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Liz! Definitely, thanks for the tip. I actually have been offering those low cost sessions but just have not had anyone bite yet. You have given me an idea though when you mention disadvantaged people. I am thinking maybe i need to try and reach out to some specific communities. Appreciate your savvy. ❤

      We all have our challenges i think as far as the role helping others plays in our lives. I had a friend for a while who was always so giving and so helpful, but she never let anyone else help her. It actually became a source of contention between us. It didn't make me feel good that she would not let me reciprocate, and i think she learned that there was something to receiving help and love as well. It's all sort of a big circle. Always appreciate your awareness of your own journey, and the fact that you are so open to sharing it with me. Thank you. x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad to read this today. This was my fear as well FOR SO MUCH OF MY LIFE. Lately I’ve come to terms with the fact that I may not ever be “remembered” – and I’m kind of okay with that! And I’ve been consumed by running, which helps. For me, I like setting really small goals. Like if I do a race and come in the top 40 of my age group, maybe next year it’ll be top 20. Like SUPER small. 🙂 Great things to remember in this post, thank you for writing it. (And yes, you’re a writer, not that you needed me to tell you that.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ari, so great to hear from you! I’ve definitely got some work to do–I am so not there yet on the being okay with not being remembered. It’s funny, there are some things that I can’t quite figure out–are they positive or negative? Serving me, or not serving me? Lately I have been thinking a lot about what is a part of my “drive”, and what is just noise inside of my head that I need to let fly out.

      I like your idea of setting small goals. I think that is a really good way to go about it. I think it also helps with marking meaningful points in our lives–if we are only looking ahead to much larger goals, so much of life passes us by in a flash.

      Lastly, I may have not needed you to tell me I’m a writer–but it sure felt good. Thank you. For real.

      Oh–I’ve got to check your blog cause maybe you will post there but you have to let me know your bib number for the marathon. My hubs and I are going to go out and cheer people on–I will look for you, would love to show you some love. You are gonna do awesome. Very excited for you.
      Thanks again girl. x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am so bad at checking comments! Thank you for your reply. I am bib 21027! I start in wave 2 (10:15 am) and was just looking at what the 5 mile splits are for what I want to run (ideally 45 minutes per 5 miles). Of course it will all probably go out the window on race day. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I relate to so much of what you write here. We simply deserve some joy and satisfaction. But if we prefer, we can think about the serious side of fun. Experts say good feelings can boost one’s ability to bounce back from stress, solve problems, think flexibly and even fight disease.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love you so much, you have a gift with words and reach the people you are meant to reach. Having said that, I totally get it and yes , service is the way to go. I was feeling pretty much the same way recently and then had a moment last Saturday when I was struggling during a sea swim, I just felt so insignificant, swimming there in the middle of the ocean, but it was a relief. I Xiong have to change the world, just enjoy the one I’m in Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love YOU so much lady! I wish we lived closer so we could hit up a meeting together now and again–wouldn’t that be wonderful? I was thinking the other day about our time in Dublin and thought about how crazy it was that sitting next to you in that meeting and at dinner–i knew you. I was completely at ease. Idk, there’s something about our club that has us connected like no other people, don’t you think? 😉

      Going to be thinking about what you learned on that sea swim all day now. The relief of your insignificance. Wow. Perhaps if I connected to nature more I would get that more often, huh? Pretty profound i think.
      Love you girl. x

      Like

  6. What an inspiring entry! I often fall into the mindset of “I’m not doing enough, why didn’t I get a different job” when viewing climate change documentaries. I see these awesome people who are out there making documentaries, taking on the world so to speak and it’s like wow, I get a few letters to the editor published in the local newspaper sometimes. I always try to come back to the idea that we all end up where were are meant to in life. I think it’s natural for all of us to want to do something “big” and be remembered for it, but at the end of life I think if we’ve helped as many people as we can, in whatever way we can, then that’s what really matters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey there TN, thank you so much! I had no idea the environment was the thing that pulls on your heart strings, that’s so awesome.
      I always think that we end up where we are supposed to if in fact we listen to that voice that whispers what’s in our hearts. Want to know something kind of funny? I’ve actually prayed for the desire to be a writer to be taken away from me. I know that sounds crazy. But sometimes, it hurts. And it’s hard. And I often wish that my day was done when I came home from work, instead of having to get the laptop out and work more. I’ve asked the universe to take the desire away–but it hasn’t. So, it does make me even more certain that I am supposed to do it–regardless of achievement or accolades.
      You are definitely right–if we’ve helped as many people as we can, then in the end, we’ve done good. That’s definitely the point.

      So good to hear from you. Hope you’re coaching some good kiddos this year! x

      Like

      1. You sound very in touch with your inner self. I can’t say I’ve ever developed the “listen to your gut” skill and I don’t think I have naturally good intuition. I think that’s why I kind of just leave a lot of my life up to the universe; anytime I tried to navigate and make things happen it usually just backfired. Although I’m not religious I always like that saying “If you want to make God laugh tell Him your plans”.

        Do you find you pressure yourself a lot as a writer that you got to the point of wishing the desire was taken from you? For me it’s just a hobby and an outlet and while I’ve said since I was a kid that I want to write a book someday, I don’t think the true desire has ever developed to the point that I can/will act on it. Unfortunately I think a lot of it comes down to time and at the end of the day we can only pursue so many passions and for me while writing is a big enjoyment, it doesn’t take precedence over other passions.

        I actually just talked to our head coach yesterday and he wants to start up off season training in November instead of December this year so not too much longer until I have my kids back!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so touched that you know that prayer Randy. I was pretty reluctant to put it out there–I am always worried things like that will turn people off. But I think it’s so beautiful and so helpful and inspiring, regardless of what you believe. So glad you connect with it.

      Also–so fucking cool you are in the choir. I never would have guessed. People are amazing. There is so much to us. I love it. x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Honestly, I feel really bad for anyone that would be turned off by something like that. I’m glad you decided to go with it. I’ll be thinking about it today.

        I don’t put out a “choir vibe”? 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  7. You have such a gift with words Cat. You ARE a writer, and an athlete and a helper and so much more and you DO make a difference, even if it’s in your little part of the world. You are far from mediocre. You are so right that service gets us out of ourselves and puts us right with the universe, and when we are where we are supposed to be, doors open. Yours will. Clients will find you. They already are looking for you but your paths have not yet crossed. You are a blessing in the world. Never doubt that. And when you do, smack yourself upside the head! LOL
    Maggie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Maggie. It’s funny, today the sun is shining and I feel like I am all those things. Life is so interesting–how it shifts and our perspectives can make things look so drastically different.

      Thanks for the reminder of “doors opening when we are where we are supposed to be.” That is something my dad used to say to me all the time. I really believe it. And I think we get there by just taking a step at a time and doing the next right thing. We often want to complicate it–but really, it’s pretty simple.
      Thank you Maggie–your wise words always set me on a good path for the day. x

      Like

    1. Thank you Ronda! I get so excited when I see your name pop up on here. You inspire me as well. Quiet STRENGTH. (I had to capitalize the “strength” cause that’s how powerful I feel that you are.)
      ps–been thinking about a line in your last email for a week. We are gonna be great pen pals I think. ❤

      Like

  8. I have had a whiny couple of days. This struck a chord with me. Beautiful. Powerful. I needed to hear this at this exact moment.

    PS: On another note, I also trained as a coach about a year ago. I have had two clients so far. So it is slow at the beginning but keep putting yourself out there – people will come calling. Best of luck xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah man, it always gets me when I read something that I need, right at the moment when I need it. So happy to do that for someone else. ❤

      Also, I had no idea you were a life coach Shathiso! That's so wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing your experience–it is encouraging. I will keep going. Hope the running is going well–and everything else. lots of love. x

      Like

    1. Oh I am so glad Todd–it always helps me as well to know that other people are working through the same things. It also makes heartens me to remember that there are lots of people out there–trying to better people. We are lost, but not totally <3.
      So glad to connect with you on IG–your page looks really interesting. Excited to follow along and see your perspective of Canada! x

      Like

    1. Thanks so much Dawn. I think I am lucky to have such a big and full life–so it’s pretty rare that EVERYTHING is going wrong LOL. But boy it sure does feel like it in my mind sometimes. Reminding myself to be grateful is essential, every day! My “business” will come together. Ahh! I am still afraid of that word. Slowly… <3. PS- we are nearing the NYC marathon and I am reminded of your insanely wonderful encouragement last year. Makes my heart feel warm. Thanks Dawn! x

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s