A Chain of Becauses
A lot of good arguments are spoiled by some fool who knows what he is talking about. Miguel de Unamuno
There are times in life when it’s a good idea to just stop talking. I found a wonderful article from Leigh Newman on the five times in your life when you should simply close your mouth. There was one particular time she wrote about in her article that stood out to me like crazy.
When you’re talking in a chain of becauses.
When every sentence you speak begins with the word because, you need to step back, take a deep breath (as in at least two minutes) and then be kind to yourself.
I am such of fan of Leigh Newman’s writing because (whoops – there’s that word!) she has such insight into the human condition. Not the boring college textbook-type of insight, but smart, witty and always on point. Here is the part of her article that really hit home for me:
Something dark happens when I wake up early in the morning. I begin to talk to myself. That me-to-me discussion goes a little like this: Because I didn’t save x dollars this year, my son won’t have enough money for college. And because of that, he will have to take on huge, crushing loans. And because of that, at age 21, he’ll have to take a job he hates to pay off all that debt. Or, worse, he won’t be able to get a job. And because of that he will have to declare bankruptcy by age 30. Then nobody will ever hire him. He’ll have to move to India to live cheaply off the grid and I’ll never see him because I’ll be retired and broke and won’t be able to afford the airfare. And so the becauses continue until I feel so guilty and horrible, I can hardly get up to make breakfast, which my son needs me to make because…he is 7 years old.
There are all kinds of ways to silence that chain of becauses that leads to panic and self-loathing. You can meditate. You can go for a run. You can read a book. Or you can go in and look at your sleeping child and realize you have more than a decade to figure out this problem, because what comes after a because is not up to fate, but up to you and the future that you build out of your actions and decisions—not your words.
Whew!!! The chain of becauses can go on forever and forever and forever. Why? Because your mind goes down the rabbit hole when you aren’t paying attention or because it’s early in the wee hours of oh-dark-thirty and your sleepy mind has already begun to race or because you just know because of one action, another action will or won’t happen because…
Jeez – how many of us have dealt with this issue? How many times have your becauses spiraled out of control because of guilt, shame, frustration and anger – all aimed at yourself? How many times has needless worry over a simple decision sent you on the endless because trail? It only gets worse.
Guilty. Yep. Real. Guilty.
Sometimes I wake up at 2:30 AM for a bladder call and I simply cannot fall back asleep. It is then that my drowsy, half-sleeping/half awake mind goes berserk with all the minutiae stored away for moments just like this. The more I try to fall back asleep, the faster my brain rolls through all the becauses and then goes back for more. I have had nights where I watched the clock tick through every single hour and by 6 AM, I’m exhausted from all the horrible becauses going through my mind.
I’ve tried testing Leigh’s advice on silencing the deadly chain of becauses with varying degrees of success. Reading and meditation (or is that medication?) have their place. Reading a book makes me drowsy. (However, reading a college textbook will make you fall asleep in twenty seconds flat.)
Anyway, I’m working on the meditation part but with a brain full of becauses, meditation is difficult at best and usually an exercise in futility. I believe Louise Hay said that meditation is easy – simply focus on your breath. I can’t begin to count the times I’ve tried – and failed – to simply focus on my breath. I am an absolute pro at focusing on my breath while my mind is racing through all the becauses that could take place at any moment – oh, and along with concentrating on whatever affirmation you’re supposed to think of while meditating and focusing on your breath.
It makes my brain go completely off the rails. :/
Most of the becauses we imagine will never happen, so why do we do this? I believe we’ve been taught if we worry about a because then we can somehow keep it from ever happening. Or even worse, if we go through our endless list of becauses, we are actually doing something instead of doing nothing. And doing nothing makes me crazy.
It is my goal from this day forward to attempt to try to resist the endless becauses residing in my brain. Why? Because the becauses simply make me old before my time. I’m exhausted from trying to avoid all the pitfalls of life. I know in my heart that life will simply happen and take care of itself if I simply stop becausing myself to an early grave.
Because you read my blog, I get to keep writing. Because of a full heart, I live a life of grace and mercy.
And so do you.
I’m so grateful for each one of you who click through my emails each week. I’m so grateful I get to share my hopes, dreams, fears and joys with you – because you are very important to me and I wish each of you grace and ease in your own life.
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