What I Do When I Feel Overwhelmed (The Power of Words)
I have an incredibly valuable source of power that I unleash when I feel overwhelmed, uncertain, powerless, or helpless. I hold it tight and I’m very passionate about it. And I’m really excited to share it with you today.
Learn How to Deal When You Feel Overwhelmed
I invite you to listen to my latest podcast today, so that when you feel overwhelmed, you’ll be armed and ready to disempower any negative interpretations you’ve made.
[03:50] Our thoughts and words are powerful.
[06:48] Culture has “watered down” certain words and concepts.
[10:54] When we use exaggerated words, it sets us up for failure.
[13:28] It’s making us fragile.
[18:41] Let’s disempower our negative experiences.
[21:42] Challenges make us stronger, not weaker.
[23:10] Let’s be more discerning and selective with the words we’re using.
[24:09] We can choose how to interpret our challenges and circumstances.
Is Feeling Overwhelmed with Life a Choice?
I believe that feeling overwhelmed with life is a choice that you get to make.
You choose whether you’re going to be in a victim mindset or in an empowered mindset.
You get to decide if you’re going to give away your power to:
- other people’s opinions
- the weather
- your bank account balance
- the weight on the scale
- your PMS
- your child’s tantrum
I used to live that way. The same fears, insecurities, and judgments that I used to have still pop up automatically, but now they’ve become so much quieter and don’t run the show.
I want that liberation for you too.
I think part of growing up is that you take charge of your own narrative. Your own thoughts. The thoughts that choose to give power to, and the thoughts that you refuse to give power to.
I believe that is your biggest source of power when you feel overwhelmed.
Claim Your Power When Feeling Overwhelmed and Depressed
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and depressed, think about what words you are choosing to describe your circumstances.
In the book The Coddling of the American Mind, we learn how certain concepts such as Trauma and Safety started off meaning one thing, and over decades, have grown to mean more. They call it, “concept creep.”
Trauma used to indicate a physical trauma to the body, and today that concept has crept to include emotional trauma, and also include things that we simply just didn’t like.
Have you heard phrases like this (perhaps even coming from you?)
- “Changing that blow-out diaper was traumatizing.”
- “Being stuck at home with my 6-year-old is brutal.”
- “My toddler is a terrorist.”
- “Bedtime is torture.”
- “That tantrum was a nightmare.”
- “I can’t bear this much longer.”
- “Welcome to the terrible two’s!”
- “My kids are going crazy.”
- “This is going to kill me.”
I find it very jarring when people use words like these with regard to raising children.
And I get it, it’s just language. I don’t judge others in my head when they say those things, and I certainly have said those things too! Because our culture influences us to form these habits and desensitize ourselves to the power of words.
The problem is this:
When you use exaggerated words,
you set yourself up for failure.
You subconsciously send a message to yourself that your situation is more terrible than it really is.
How to Have an Anti-Fragility Mindset
By labeling regular, run-of-the-mill challenges of raising little kids with such extreme terminology, we are making ourselves fragile.
We become blind to the deep depths of our resilience and what we could potentially handle. Disappointment IS something we can handle!
Instead of building our resilience muscle,
it seems to me that culturally, through our language,
we’re building our fragility muscle.
Yes, staying home with our children for a few weeks/months is challenging. It’s exhausting. Stressful. It’s really disappointing to miss out on stuff. It could be all of those things.
… but is it brutal? Do we want to use the word brutal? Do we want to use the word awful, horrible, unbearable? Or do we want to save those words for experiences that are further along on the intensity spectrum?
Your Thoughts Become Your Actions
What we need to teach ourselves and our kids is that “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” We are in a culture that’s teaching us that, “what doesn’t kill us makes us weaker.”
Adversity, challenges, difficulties, pressures, stress – If we believe they make us stronger, then they do. And if we believe that they will break us, then they will.
And that choice is ours. That power is ours. And the power of how we describe the situation to ourselves and to others is what makes all the difference.
I invite you to be discerning with the words that you’ve used to describe your kids, their behaviors, and your challenges.
“I Feel Overwhelmed Because…”
By finishing the sentence, “I feel overwhelmed because…” you’ll hear a good indication of your circumstantial interpretation. One of the things I always like to remind myself is that I get to choose my interpretation, whether it be a diagnosis, a loss, or any challenge.
The same goes for you. You get to interpret your circumstances as something that is terrible and awful, that you can’t handle, that makes you not good enough, that means the end of the world, or that means all sorts of bad things.
If you choose to, you also get to interpret it as something that is happening for you that will make you stronger, that is a challenge you can rise to, that is not as bad as some people might think it is, that has silver linings.
Given that you have the choice, why not choose the interpretation that feels better?
Resources to Help Change Your Interpretation
- Book “The Coddling of the American Mind”
- Want to connect to like-minded parenting junkies? Join our (free & awesome) FB community Love Parenting with Avital.
- Mom Burnout Got You Feeling Like a Failure? Match Your Expectations To Your Reality (Video)
- How to Gain Self Confidence and Boost Self Esteem – The Choice is Yours (Podcast)
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Conclusion: When I Feel Overwhelmed, Here’s What I Do
I ask myself if the words I’m using to describe the situation are speaking to my subconscious in a way that’s holding me back. Is my choice of words weakening me? Or am I finding an inner voice that strengthens me?
And so that’s my invitation to you today. Don’t charge the negative experiences with additional heavy language, but instead empower yourself with positive, silver-lining, making-lemonade-out-of-lemons language.
I’d love to know what you do when you feel overwhelmed, and how this topic felt for you in the comments below!