What feelings come up when I say “anything can happen?” When you’ve been through loss, it can seem really scary. In today’s episode we are flipping the script and opening up to how not knowing what’s coming next can be the best thing ever.
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Music by ZingDog on Pond5
And I actually was just coming down here to record my podcast and it’s summer, so I was letting my kids play some video games as you do when you’re moming in the summer.
And my son, who is eight, he’s my rainbow baby. He want, he’s kind of grouchy about what’s going on with the video game and, and I kept saying, well, why don’t you guys work it out? Why don’t you set a timer? Why don’t you take turns? Everything I suggested he would say, But that’s not gonna work. But they’re just gonna play something else, or they’re not gonna do this, or nobody’s gonna wanna do this.
And it was the perfect example. I just had to laugh because that’s what we’re talking about today. We’re talking about our brain and how it is wired for negativity and it wants to believe that something bad is going to happen, right? And this is because our brain is set up to keep us safe. A lot of times looking for danger, looking for problems, watching out for bad things that kept us alive.
That keeps us alive sometimes now, but for the most part it just makes our lives kind of miserable. And was thinking about this song by Kane Brown and Lauren Elena. And if, if you’ve been around for a long time and you read my blog, I actually wrote a blog post about this way back before I had a podcast, and I’m not gonna quote it here, but if you’ve heard this song, it’s called What Ifs.
And it’s a song basically, you know, He’s singing, what if this is it? What if this is the relationship that is our last relationship? It’s our last first kiss. We’re gonna love each other forever and everything’s gonna be good. And she’s kinda worried, you know what if something goes wrong and what if this isn’t right?
And he breaks her heart and it’s just back and forth. You know, him kind of saying, This could be amazing in her saying, I don’t know. And it’s a beautiful song, and I love the message, and I use it as an example a lot because it’s so clear, is two people in the exact same relationship having completely different thoughts about what the outcome will be or what they want to do, and their experience is different, right?
If you go into a relationship feeling worried that you’re gonna get your heart broken, You’re probably not gonna show up at your, you know, your most favorite self. You’re gonna be worried, needy, jealous, all of these things. But if you show up to a relationship being like, this is the one, right? This is it.
You’re gonna show up completely differently, even though it’s his totally same circumstance. So today I wanna talk to you about, Learning to cultivate the skill of being open to all the possibilities. And this is so important for those of us who are living a life after loss, after we have maybe lived our worst nightmare, we have had the worst thing happen to us.
It can be even harder to believe that things are gonna turn out in a good way. Right? So what we need to do when we notice these thoughts is, To question our brain. Now, like I said, our brain is wired for negativity, and it is going to offer you all the doomsday thoughts and an example of this is how we catastrophize our lives.
So if you are thinking about having another baby, first of all, go buy my ebook, smooth stones coaching.com/ebook. It’s only $9. It will walk you right through this process. And we’ll say, should I try again? Well, your brain is gonna offer you, well, what if I go through another loss? If I go through another loss, I won’t be able to handle it.
This is gonna destroy our marriage. This is gonna be awful for our children. Uh, I might ruin my body like I might die, right? There are just so many scary things. Or like, I’m not gonna be able to breathe for nine months. I’m not gonna be able to handle the anxiety. I’m not gonna be able to handle going to appointments.
I’m not gonna be able to do it. We have a lot of doubts about ourselves and what we can handle in a pregnancy after loss. It’s okay that this comes. It’s natural and normal, and especially if you’re not used to paying attention to your brain or managing your mind, that’s just gonna happen. So what do we do?
Well, you answer your brain and say, maybe that might happen. Those things might go down. Who knows. But you can also say, thanks, sprain for trying to protect me by imagining the absolute worst case scenario. Thank you for doing your job right. We love our brain. We love being a human. We’re not gonna get mad at our brain for doing that.
We’re not gonna judge ourselves. We’re gonna say, I love you brain, thank you. But no, the truth is that everything we imagine for our future, Is a story. It is fiction. It is something we are making up. So if you’re making it all up anyway, why not make up a story that you like or a story that serves you, A story that creates feelings you actually enjoy feeling, right?
Instead of worry, dread, overwhelmed, doubt, all of those. Most of us say that we don’t like worrying, but. We still choose worry, and like I said before, a lot of angel moms believe that this is just it. This is it. This is how it is. Now, my baby died. I’m always gonna be scared, I’m always gonna be worried. I’m always gonna have anxiety, and it’s just inevitable that I would jump straight to the worst case scenario and that bad things are just gonna happen to me.
But that is not true, and that is like the epitome of what I wanna tell you in this podcast is like, that’s not true. You are not trapped in a prison of misery, right? You still have so many choices. You still have control of your brain. You may have nervous system responses to things, right? And you can learn tools to be able to calm your nervous system.
And heal your nervous system. You may have really well worn neural pathways going right now that jump to the worst case scenario, but you can change those. One way to do this is to write down all your worries on one side of a piece of paper. Then write down other ways this could turn out. An example is if you made an offer on a house and you didn’t get it.
Your brain wants to say, we’re never gonna find a place. There’s no house I’ll love as much as that one. We are so unlucky we’re gonna end up living in a van down by the river. So we kindly thank our brain for offering us those thoughts. Notice how your brain loves these words, like never and always, which is almost never true.
But our pouty brain likes to use them, so be careful of this, especially in relationships. Absolutes are rarely correct, but your brain blocks out Anything else. So, like I said, if you’re in a conversation with your husband and you’re like, you never put the kids to bed, or you never take out the garbage, or you’re always on your phone, right?
Those are just red flags and that’s just your brain doing what it does. It’s seeing only the negative, but we gotta call ourselves out for that. These absolutes and these type of words are a red flag that your unconscious brain is running the show. And we don’t want our unconscious brain running our relationships or our hopes to our dreams about the future or our attitudes, honestly, because like I said, it’s always gonna go negative.
So to turn these thoughts around, you gotta try using your imagination for good. You can think things like we are going to find a place. The house we get in the end will be the perfect for us. We are not gonna give up. There is a home just waiting for us. And if you are religious or whatever you believe in, but something I believe is heavenly Father is leading us to exactly where we need to be.
Right? God is in control and, and we thought that we were supposed to be in this house, but we were wrong about that. And that’s another way you can calm down your brain. Just be like, yeah. You might be wrong. It’s okay to be wrong. We don’t have a problem with that, especially when our brain is freaking out.
Let’s do one more example that I see a lot. Uh, something like a six-year-old refusing to do their homework. There’s lots of tears fighting and ex Let’s do another example that I see a lot. Let’s say you have a six year old who is refusing to do their homework and there’s lots of fighting in tears, and it all goes on for like two hours until you finally get this tiny little worksheet done.
Now, thoughts of the brain. Is going to offer are like, he’s gonna fall behind. I can’t handle this for another 12 years. Right? Our brain wants to go right to that. Like, oh my gosh, I’ve, I’ve got till this kid’s 18, I’m failing. As a mother, that is a classic that your brain will offer you anytime anything goes wrong.
It’s like, it’s my fault I’m failing. It’s the worst. Or you might think there’s something wrong with him, like, no other kids struggle like this. No one else is doing this. Again, notice those absolutes or he’s never going to be a success, and he’ll live in my basement forever again, catastrophizing. Now these thoughts come up for parents a lot.
Anytime your living child doesn’t act the way we want, it can quickly spiral. And for any of you who haven’t had living kids yet or have, don’t have kids in your life yet, Listen, be prepared because as much as you love those rainbow babies, these thoughts will come to you, I promise. Um, but yeah, just notice how this projection into the future is pretty bleak, and there’s gonna be a lot of reaction, right?
Like when you are thinking, this kid’s never gonna leave my house. He’s gonna live in the basement forever. Because he won’t do like one little math sheet. Can you see how emotional and how charged that’s going to be? So you need to be careful with that, right? So love your brain for doing its job. Calm yourself down, take some deep breaths, and then actively choose new thoughts like he is right where he needs to be.
I can totally handle this. I was made to be his mom, and we’re gonna figure this out. This is exactly how six year olds are supposed to act. I don’t really like math homework either or he’s gonna have an amazing life, and some things will be hard, but it’s not my job to control it. And you can think this is not a problem.
This is a skill that you can learn. And the more you practice, the easier it gets. And a lot of times I’ll say it’s not about just putting a positive spin on everything. It’s not about sunshine and rainbows, but honestly, You can do sunshine and rainbows and positivity sometimes, especially in response to your brain wanting to do, be really, really grouchy and negative, right?
Do it. Think of the best case scenario. Think of sunshine and rainbows. That is what we do with our intentional thoughts, right? Whatever helps you feel good, you want to do that and helps you have hope in the future. So if right now you’re thinking, wow, I think I do this a lot and I let my unconscious brain lean to the negative and I worry a lot about the future.
I want you to use your imagination to envision yourself in the future. Being so good at managing your mind. You have peace, calm, and confidence. You know, your brain wants to lean negative, so you just allow for it, but you don’t let it drive you. You have quiet positivity and hope in the future that nothing can take away.
This is absolutely possible no matter how much loss you have been through, no matter how bleak things look right now, and I know there are some of you listening who feel like you are in an utter dark downpour, and everything that can go wrong has gone wrong. This is still available to you a hundred percent.
You have no idea what’s coming around the corner can be the most exciting and liberating thought. Instead of the scariest, all that we experience is for our good and what’s coming next will be perfect. Will it always be comfortable? Nope. 50% of the time it will not be. That’s just life. But you can relieve a lot of the worry, fear, procrastination and suffering by opening up to a beautiful future.
Let yourself dream, make the big audacious goals. You think you have no business making friends? What if it all works out? Give equal airtime to good outcomes. As you do to bad, and hopefully at some point you’re leaning more towards the good than the bad. But right now, at least try 50 50. What we think creates our results, so imagining amazing things for ourselves and for our future will make it much more likely to happen because what we believe is what we create.
We use the self-coaching model, and if you’re not familiar with it, we talk about circumstances, thoughts, feelings, actions, and results. So circumstances are just the facts of our lives. It’s the things that happen, but then we get to choose what we think about it. What we think creates how we feel. How we feel is going to drive our actions, and how we show up what we do and what we don’t do, and that will create our result and our results.
Always tie back to what we’re thinking. So I just have seen this so many times. I have so many examples, and I want you to think of an example in your life. Like what is a time where maybe you were all worried and all worked up and then something amazing happened, right? And we realized, you know what? All that worry just was not worth it.
Everything is worth it cuz you learn something, right? You realize that worrying is never useful. It doesn’t change the outcome, it just makes our experience worse. So I was thinking of a couple quick examples and then we’ll wrap up, but I have a few friends with babies who, when they were born, the doctor said, you know, they’re never gonna walk.
They’re probably not gonna talk, they’re not gonna do all these things. And you know what? Those doctors were wrong. My friends who have these little boys. Those kids are amazing. They are blowing what the doctor said out of the water, and I’m sure that those moms had a lot of time where they worried about their children.
But you know what? They believed in their kids because that is a mother’s love, right? You are gonna do everything you can for your child, whatever that looks like for you to give them the best chance at success. And they have. And those kids are amazing. They could not have imagined when those little tiny babies were born way too soon, when they went through loss and when they had just all this stuff piled on them, they couldn’t have imagined their children.
Now in all that they are doing, But they did see it. They did want it. They wanted the best and they created it for them and for their children and, and I see that every day. I know that it can feel hard to think of the future and think what if in a good way, but that is my challenge to you, especially this week, but always.
Write down all the things you’re worried about right now, and then write down all the ways this is totally gonna work out for you, right? Because the common denominator is you. You have a lot more control over your experience in this life than you think. It doesn’t mean everything’s gonna be perfect, but it means that you are gonna know who you are and who you wanna be and how you wanna show up, and you are gonna create the life of your dreams, and you’re gonna look back and you’re gonna be proud of yourself.
I am so proud of you for being here, for wanting more for yourself and for loving yourself enough. To take the time to listen to a podcast that I hope brings you joy and, and just hope for the future. That’s what I’m here for and that’s what I do with my clients. I love doing this one-on-one and applying it to your specific situation.
So if you have something right now that you’re just like, I can’t see a good outcome, I can’t see my future, I can’t, I don’t have the strength to even believe that I could get what I want. I wanna help you come to a connection call, go in the show notes or go to smooth stones coaching.com. I will help you in my three month, one-on-one coaching program to find you again and to find hope for your future, and to make your big goals come true.
I have seen amazing miracles with my clients. I want that for you two. I’ll see you next time. Are you tired of feeling like your baby was somehow your fault? Go tostones coaching com and get my free mini course. How to Stop Blaming Yourself After Loss.