When Eamon was little, the Cognitive Distortions I would fret the most over were the ones where I imagined things never-changing. When these moments were particularly bad, I had myself believing the boy would only and always eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. I remember potty training felt particularly stressful because I was irritated with the endless changing of the diapers and I felt sure he would never use the potty. Quite ridiculous but it caused me much anxiety.
It wasn’t until I read one of the many “how to raise your children books”, and I read many, which said “Don’t worry about the peanut butter and jelly addiction. Have you ever heard of a college kid only eating PBJ’s when he went to college?” I do believe there are probably a few kids out there with major food phobias when they’re 18 yrs old. But mostly stuff always changes, it just takes it’s time.
What if those unrealistic tales we told ourselves were actually true? My life would be way different. I’d still be with my ex-husband exhausted and bruised, depleted and depressed with no hope for my life. What if I had believed me when I’d told myself It would always be that way. I wouldn’t have had these lovely children. This nice annoying man as my husband. This house on the water that I became my true self while living within it.
For me the moral to the story is, if the bad/sad feeling starts when you’ve just told yourself a predicting story about how it will always be or how it will never be…
You just did yourself an enormous hope-stealing injustice.
Your life may in fact be like this for a little while…until something changes. Always is a very very long time. And yes, you should be depressed if that sincerely is your life’s sentence. But if maybe it’s not going to be always, then maybe you can be OK with a little longer. Until something changes. Or you change something. Our perspective is based on what we’re telling ourselves. Catch yourself telling you a mean untruth and tell her to take it back. You are always entitled to your hope.
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