S1E5 - The Pit in the Stomach: Can We Make It Rock Our World?
Before I think or talk about how mundane and annoying this feeling, the pit in the stomach, usually seems, the answer is yes, absolutely, it can rock our world! I never used to think that, though. I’m the sort of person who often plans what to say in my head for days for a simple conversation about something I have strong feelings about that I didn’t express earlier. When I was in school (even college which was a few years ago now), I went over speeches for academic classes over and over because I thought that if I could just say exactly what I planned on, everything would be ok and the anxiety would have been worth it because it made me prepare well. As a mainly classical violinist, only recently have I felt a desire in certain intimate performing situations to talk to the audience, and they really appreciate it each time and make me want to do it more. People love to know that we care and think deeply about what we do, and I love to know what other people care about too! It has been a long journey for me, an ongoing battle with feeling like everyone knows I’m really just an inadequate, uninteresting, bullheaded human being. Which, you know, we all kind of are since when do we let ourselves really delve deep and reach our full potential with a project we have? But actually, we’re also all pretty great! We could do more, and hopefully with more balance in life and time for the things that actually matter that will come to pass for each of us. Until then, humbleness blended with confidence is a scary balance, and more often than not I feel that pit in my stomach telling me I need to hunker down and numb myself and stop wanting to accomplish more. “It’s too much,” my stomach tells me, “you’re not good enough.” **Pause, angry voice** STOP IT, PIT IN THE STOMACH, WHY ARE YOU REALLY HERE??? **Pit in stomach voice** “Oh, well let me sing you a little ditty - I’m a karma karma karma karma karma chameleon. I’m here to stay, I’m here to stay. I’m here to talk with you, I’m here to rock with you, chamilamilamilamila chameleon!” **Back to me** Wait, what? Stop for a second, you’re here to rock? Wow, I never thought about that before. That pit in the stomach suddenly becoming really groovy is a game changer, but how do remind ourselves it’s here to communicate? It’s scary, but not the mean thing we might think! One thing I believe is that we need to let ourselves out of our comfort zones, past discomfort into the zone of letting ourselves be who we are. Because honestly, being uncomfortable is out of my comfort zone, thinking always that something is wrong. I’d much rather burst into a random song and mess it up then be like **Pitiful voice** arghmelksjdfowhf;alskdjf I’m so scared, I can’t say anything. **Normal voice** And that chameleon song is something I actually started singing this past Friday morning when I was asking what the pit in my stomach would say. Let me back up and tell you that I’m in the middle of a huge internal process. I’ve journaled a lot in the past few months, and I’ve talked to people in a lot of situations that were highly stressful for me specifically because of communication. I felt embarrassed and scared, but in the end very relieved that I had these conversations and let both sides be heard. Sometimes I don’t know quite when to let something go and I still take things personally a lot, but good communication is a muscle that used time after time seems to become stronger. The past week or so, for the first time ever, I am engaged in fully reading and enjoying a self-help book. It’s called “How to Be Yourself,” written by Ellen Hendriksen, PH.D (she also has the Savvy Psychologist podcast, which I highly recommend). The book is specifically about social anxiety, but really taps into things that work for all different forms that anxieties take in our minds. And she asks us what the lurch in our stomach would specifically tell us could go wrong. We can’t say everything any longer. Wait, what? We have to be specific about our fears? But isn’t that just dwelling on the negative? Nope, not at all. It’s showing ourselves that our minds are often very confused and not rooted in the reality of who we are. The pit in my stomach has become that telltale sign that some anxiety is healthy and trying to take hold, and it wants to help us know that! Feelings, emotions, fears, all of these things and more are part of every human’s thoughts. Often we think we’re being super pragmatic with a situation and feel relieved when we make it to the other side unscathed, but that is a huge stressful thing, constantly rolling details over in our minds and being like, “it’ll be over soon! I’m not gonna die, but basically everything else bad could possibly happen.” Personally, I’ve spent years overthinking, putting myself in a limbo of practicality I can’t escape, ruminating (yeah cows, we have multiple stomachs, too! Thought stomachs in our weird brain digestive system.). I want to feel like I’m doing what I can and not holding myself back, and I realized the whole “you get what you give” thing is absolutely true, within ourselves as well. We can’t just sit back and think it’ll all work itself out after a while if we let it go. We need to embrace our fears and show them it’s ok to be scared and unsure. And to leave this moment with a hope for what I want to work on - here are 3 things I always want to be: dedicated, kind, and assertive. What values do you hold that are the most important to you?