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I never really understood the damaging impact of ruminating, yet it is something that you and I can do so easily without even realising that's what we are doing!
I am generally not one to ruminate...well I wasn't until the accident which did a great deal of damage not only to my physical body but also to my life in general. That's when it all began...asking "Why me?" thinking "if this hadn't have happened, I would have been..." and having these negative "what if" thoughts whilst reliving the moment which ruined my life and turned it into the worst nightmare I have ever experienced.
You see, my then young 'seedling' of a business which I took a leap of faith to set up, was set to make more money than I had forecast in what was only its second year, I was thrilled...actually that is an understatement, I was beyond ecstatic!
Can you see where this part of the story is going?
Well at the very beginning of that 'would be' successful and amazing year...the accident happened and in a very brief moment of carelessness (on part of the other driver), my life changed for two and a half long and challenging years, my health changed forever.
So what did I do? Of course, I ruminated almost constantly for the first year and a half, all my hard work, the graft, the days that just rolled into each other as I worked relentlessly, day and night to do the things that would make the business successful, I could smell, taste, feel the success, actually I could see it by the number of commissions and bookings I had...then the accident happened, actually on my way to a new client at an embassy...I felt sick and angry every time I thought about it.
My eldest daughter, who was diving at the time of the said life changing event, always pulled me back to reality when she saw me ruminate, she too was guilty of this as her injury still troubles her, but for her it was the shock and the psychological impact. She was in her final year at university and was finding it terribly difficult to complete assignments due to the constant pain and discomfort...she did it though, however, her predicted first became a 2:1, she had worked so hard for that first...can you see the reason for her rumination now?
Despite having a good reason for feeling as you do after a nasty event. Rumination is quite damaging, it changes your thinking into the negative, it creates a negative energy that makes you sluggish...actually, it turns you into a completely wet blanket. The experience for me was so damaging that I didn't want to be around myself! Needless to say we both got some help for this stuff; mind issues sometimes need to be talked though with someone detached...that's nothing to be ashamed of.
Being the little fighting troopers that we are, we took it upon ourselves to snap the other out of it if caught ruminating. I used all the NLP techniques I had to hand and they helped a little at first and more as time went on.
I can see, I'm making myself sound like a little helpless lamb here, that is not the reality, yes, I felt that way for some time. I was very angry, damaged and losing business as I was able to do nothing at all in the six months after the incident; my arm was numb enough to act as a pin cushion or perhaps even a knife block...seriously, my neck was just short of being broken...both still play up to this day and the blinding flash headaches, I wouldn't wish them on my worst enemy.
What killed me inside for a good year or so was the loss of so much of the business I had bust my guts to acquire and make successful. This killed me even more as I am the sole breadwinner in my home, the girls rely on me to provide...that's my job as a single parent, I was terrified that we would end up with no food on the table, no roof over our heads, no quality of life; until the accident, I had done a bloody great job of it (even if I say so myself!).
I hated that the girls had to see me in such a vulnerable and weak physical and psychological positon, they have always seen me as bold, strong, a 'doer'. I want to be a strong role model to them.
There was no way I was going to let this slip away from me completely without putting up a fight. I worked whenever I could and as hard as I could to salvage the business. This was not a great deal at the beginning, in fact, during the first year and a half I felt a bit like the sloth from the movie Zootopia; my head wanted to do lots in a day, my body however, was having none of it.
Now, almost three years on, I look back and wonder...did all that ruminating do me any good? Nope, I know it didn't, it made me sad, angry and sluggish, and as a result I was not as productive as I could have been so, it was, in reality, slowing me down from moving on.
I no longer ruminate; now, on a day that my body reacts at its extreme to the aftermath of the accident (bad, painful days are now a permanent part of my life), I accept it for what it is and work from my bed...it is what it is and nothing can change what has already gone, it's done.
From time to time I do look back and think about all the positive stuff that happened during that time:
• My girls really stepped up, now I know they can manage without me ( I used to worry about that all the time)
• My little one, then 14 years old, grew up and did things without having to be asked (that's beginning to slip a little lately...but I don't mind)
• We were a strong team, in fact I'd go as far as saying we were formidable
• My NLP skills are so much more refined through using them daily
• My Meditation skills have improved beyond recognition!
• We still had food on the table and a roof over our heads...we had enough strength to manage that
• I know who the VIPs in my life are, the ones who ode the tide with me and did what hey could to help
• We have learnt that nothing comes without fighting for it, not even the help you're promised from your insurance company. This for me was a sad realisation but a very good lesson
• Knowing that I can keep fighting even form my sick bed...yes I am a lioness!
• It prompted me to think of ways of ensuring business continued, even when I can't, a contingency plan is now in place
This may have been the most difficult experience in my life but the lead up to my divorce and other such past event come a short distance behind it. I know that life will throw more unwanted, unpleasant challenges at you and me, that's life. I hope that by understanding the impact of rumination, you will become more aware and catch yourself when you're doing it.
Why go round in circles about things that you and I both know cannot be changed? They can teach us so many things that perhaps we wouldn't have discovered or appreciated had that event not happened.
My philosophy now; I don't want to waste a single moment ruminating over what is gone and cannot be changed. You are the creator and director of what happens next; get on with it, don' let that moment in the past hold on to your mind and impact your life going forward.
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P.S rumination is different to nostalgia...nostalgia is good, read more here