Kyla Winlow, LCSW
Choosing to Believe
I recently traveled to Chicago to see Harry Styles at the United Center, a venue that held over 20,000 people. After a lovely dinner with my wife, we were standing on a corner waiting to cross the street to walk into the venue when I saw my cousin. A cousin who lives in Ohio and whom I see once every few years was standing next to us on this street corner. A cousin who was celebrating her 21st birthday that night and was seated just two rows behind us in the same section! So much had to line up perfectly for us to be at that corner at the same moment. From how long our dinner took, how fast our Uber driver drove us, the security directing traffic that told us to wait at that corner, and the steps that my cousin took to arrive there at the very same moment. I choose to believe that some things are just meant to happen. For whatever reason, we were meant to share in the joy of this concert together and celebrate her 21st birthday.
What we choose to believe is so important. I can choose to believe that this surprise meeting meant nothing and was just a coincidence. And when I think that way, I feel let down and a bit disappointed. I feel my shoulders slouch as my body tucks in on itself. But when I believe that we were meant to be together that night, I feel excited and hopeful. A smile spreads across my face and my shoulders move back so that my heart space can open. The event doesn’t change but how I feel does.
In EMDR, we identify our negative belief about ourselves and then we get to create our positive belief or what we would want to believe about ourselves instead. We can believe the unkind, negative thoughts that show up in our minds or we can choose to create and believe kinder, more positive thoughts instead.
Test it out- say in your mind that you are not good enough, not ______ enough, that you will never be happy. How do you feel? What emotions do you notice? What physical sensations show up in your body?
When I do this, I feel sad. My body feels heavy and sluggish. And I feel disconnected from myself and the world around me.
Now say in your mind that you are enough just as you are, that you are adorable/lovely/intriguing, that you are enough, that you believe happiness can exist for you. How do you feel? What emotions do you notice? What physical sensations show up in your body?
I feel a grounding in my physical body when I speak lovingly to myself. I feel my feet more rooted and my shoulders drop away from my ears. I feel myself standing taller with confidence and hope.
Again, what we tell ourselves is very powerful. And if you discover that you don’t like the tracks playing on repeat in your mind, know that you have the capacity to change them.