Why Do I Cry So Much?
Before I learned to manage my critic, I would spend quite a bit of time crying. It was hard, I didn’t want to but the tears seemed to be constantly there just below the surface and the slightest of things would mean they would leak out. Sometimes it was the odd discreet tear and other times it would be floods along with this uncontrollable sobbing. (mainly at home I should add)
I do believe it is okay to cry. I am not advocating that it is weak or bad to cry. It is human and sometimes life is sad. But these tears were different. These were embarrassing for me and those enduring them. The triggers were almost random and even I felt that I was overreacting. Eventually people found themselves walking on eggshells trying to avoid upsetting me. I found myself walking on eggshells trying not to upset them because one sure way to start the tears, would be for me to feel I had done something bad to another human being.
I would avoid conversations and before long we were all in a muddle, making decisions based on assumption and guessing which meant overwhelm was inevitable and you guessed it more tears.
It was a vicious circle.
I remember logically knowing that I needed to hear the feedback but emotionally not being able to stop my response.
I could be in a professional learning space where I was asking for and needing feedback and yet it would destroy me to find out I got it wrong that. It would hit the “I am not good enough button” And the alarms would go off and with it the tears.
Just the words, “Can I give you some feedback?” would trigger an avalanche of emotions inside that for the best part I would hold onto long enough to say”Sure that would be great”
Then as they started to tell me what I had done wrong in their opinion the pressure would build up inside and before I knew it I was crying despite doing everything I could to hold it back.
Now sometimes it was just the odd tear or I would simple get choked up and lose the ability to speak.
My most embarrassing moment was when I was an assistant trainer. I was asked to demo a process and I was being the client. I was asked a question that took me back to a time in my past that I had not visited for sometime and out of the blue this torrid of sobbing shot out of me. Since writing my book that time in my life has been healed and it no longer has that impact on me. But at the time it was horrendous.
My trainer was/is skilled to handle it, I am also trained to handle such outbursts they are normal when processing complex emotions. But it didn’t mean that I was okay with me displaying them to a room full of students.
I was shocked. I had no idea in the moment what had just happened.
It was unreasonable and unexpected.
8 Years Later
I now notice that I hardly cry. Sometimes I have a tear of joy and maybe a sad story will bring a tear but I no longer have uncontrollable outbursts.
Then today, I noticed a build up and although I didn’t actually cry I could recognise the signs.
I am so outside my comfort zone right now.
I am putting myself out there in many groups publicly admitting my goals and dreams. It is scary.
The thing that motivates me can also be my biggest fear. I am motivated to help others and the fear of letting them down can be equally debilitating me. When I let people down my greatest fear is that they will think less of me or worse still won’t like me. Or at least that was the story I was telling myself. Having written this out I have changed that story and therefore change the response. I have changed the story to I am stretching my comfort zone instead of outside it. I also know that the people who matter won’t judge me and will still love me.
Big Goals – Big Fears
Having set myself the challenge of 7 blogs for 7 days, whilst publicly committing to mastering how to build an online membership site and write book number two, whilst changing my eating habits, improving my fitness, planning for retirement and supporting friends and family through change. I found myself with the first signs of overwhelm for me.
Unlike 8 years ago it is much quicker for me to identify the trigger. I knew that I was scared of making a fool of myself. I had got feedback that people wanted what I was offering and so I knew people are depending on me, which is one of my greatest motivators.
Only today I could so easily give up. Today I could not imagine hitting the deadline. I do believe I will work it out. I just don’t know if it will be in time.
Today I wish I hadn’t said anything because it feels so hard. I noticed the tears building up and I took time to stop and listen to those fears. I had to have a plan B. A way of delivering the service even if I can’t get the technology working.
There was also a fear of repeated patterns stirring in my stomach. I had done this before made big public promises and not delivered. What would happen to my reputation? What would happen to my business? Would I let my family down again?
Then I noticed that this was not exactly the same and I let those stories go.
This all happened in a matter of minutes whereas 8 years ago that conversation would gone around for weeks, if not months and years.
Now I know better I can do better.
Yes sometimes there is nothing but tears to express how I feel when I am heartbroken or sad and sometimes when I am totally exhausted tears are all that I have left to release how I feel. You only have to see a sports person at the end of a race when they gave their all, to see how emotions are released. It is normal and I am okay with tears. But these were not ones of joy or relief that the challenge was over. These were different. These were based on story, a lie I told myself about what could go wrong. So I took some time off and gave myself a breather to manage my critic and gain clarity of my next best step.
Today I am working through my own process that works for me when I notice the first signs of overwhelm which usually includes tears, bad temper or over eating.
I have followed my STOP process.
S – Share my thoughts
I can either share in my journal, in this blog or talk to someone. I chose to share how I was feeling with family and friends. And now I am sharing with you. The first sharing was to release the pain, to feel okay with being frustrated – it was to heal and now I am sharing to inspire. I have told my family how much I really want to make this online membership a success and how difficult I am finding it to get my head around the technology. As I shared I became aware of a story I was telling myself about money and value and so I was able to change that story.
T – Tune into what is happening, what works and what I would like to have happen.
When I stop, retreat and I ask myself what is happening. I am scared that I am going to make a fool of myself that and that people will think they cannot depend on me. The bind is that I am rarely motivated to take action until I know what I am doing is going to make a difference to others. I don’t want to spend hours and days building a site only to find out that no one wants it. So I have to tell…..ah that is the change I am looking for. I don’t have to tell them what I am going to do and listen for response. I have to ask what they would like from me. If I ask questions and find out what they want then I know they want it and I can get on in private. Then there is no public humiliation. By asking what they want rather than telling them what I am doing I can get the same feedback to motivate me.
But then there is no deadline, no urgency and so I can put it off when it get’s hard.
So what works is to do as I have done. Admit publicly and give myself a deadline to push through but then get help. Don’t do it alone.
What doesn’t work is getting upset and stressing and spoiling my time with my family.
What I would like to have happen is to take a deep breath, meditate and ground myself. Remind myself that I am not alone, I can do this and on the other side of this challenge is that feeling of satisfaction. That knowing that I can help more people without burning myself out.
O – Open
Open to opportunities and trusting what is and what could be. What I do know is that when I am clear what I want and what works the synchronicity of the universe works in my favour and opportunities arise. As I plodded on with the programme I found that I could add in a button that asked if they wanted to know when the next programme was available. That means that I have already found a way to get the motivation for the next programme too. By stopping I started to move forward
P – Praise and Progress
I am pleased today that I have been able to stop and map out what works for me when I feel teary. Today I felt like crying and I caught the emotion inside and said hello, thanked it for the warning and I have let it go. Now to get back to the curious state I require to make the membership site a reality.
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If you are sick and tired of being in overwhelm and you know you need to retreat and take time to gain clarity of what you want and confidence to make it happen we run retreats monthly you can find out more here.
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If you are struggling to be heard and understood and it is preventing you from doing your best work and living your best life then please do book a 30 minute call today with no obligation and I will be happy set you up for success.
I might be part of the solution you need and I might not, but by the end of the call you will you know your next best step. Or you can purchase a copy of my book here if buying in the UK. Alternatively you can go to www.smile.amazon.co.uk and purchase a copy here. If you don’t yet have your amazon associated with a charity I would love if you would support Square Pegs Charity. A local charity that I support as trustee and patron.
Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening, is well known for her fast speaking and her passion to make things happen. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough.
That was until she learned the importance of being heard and asking for support. In her book she describes the step by step journey she took to learn how to manage her critic turning her overwhelm into clarity in 7 steps.
Sheryl now runs retreats that encourage you to really listen to what you need to work, learn and live at your best with others and the confidence to ask for those needs to be met.
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