Dec 28, 2020
During the last several months of her life, my Mom received phone calls and visits from many friends. The two that stood out to me the most were Ruthanne, her childhood best friend, and Sharon, her cousin. These two were at the top of her list to contact when she passed away.
The day she died, my brother and I split the responsibility of making those phone calls. Among those I called were Ruthanne and Sharon.
I had several conversations with them in the days that followed. Ruthanne wanted to know funeral arrangements and there was a portable oxygen machine that Mom had borrowed from Sharon that needed to be returned. In fact, when I returned that machine a couple of my brothers came along with me and we got to hear some family stories. Sharon even gifted me some family heirlooms, since she never married or had any children.
Ruthanne has two sons, but no daughters and she lamented that to me in one of our phone conversations.
By the end of that first week after Mom’s passing, I had committed to myself to stay in touch with both of these women who are in their early 80’s. I hoped they might help me feel close to my Mom, and that I might be a friend, if not a sort of daughter-substitute.
In the 6 weeks since Mom’s passing I have pushed off calling them at least as many times. Sure, I was busy with Holiday preparations, but there was something else behind my procrastination; Fear.
What if they wondered why I was calling them? What would we talk about? What if it was awkward? I even tried to rationalize that I wasn’t obligated to stay in touch with them. I had told them I would keep in touch, but they had said the same thing and they hadn’t called me yet. Was it really MY responsibility to call them? Besides, I’m so busy. I don’t have the time to make a social phone call!
And so it went EVERY time I thought of calling them. My brain can be so dramatic some times.
If you’re a regular reader of my Blog, you may have noticed a pattern here; my brain really likes to fight for the path of least resistance, even with things that aren’t very challenging. Not making a phone call and staying quiet would be so much easier than making a phone call and possibly feeling stupid. Sit back, stay in my cocoon of emotional protection, that’s what my lower brain argues for. I’m hoping by now you might notice it in your own brain’s way of thinking too. If it’s not making phone calls that feels scary, it’s definitely arguing for another way to conserve energy.
But the part of me that wants to connect and keep my commitment, fights back. The part of me that knows this really isn’t a big deal is calmly reassuring me.
I asked from this part of me, “Why do you want to do this?”
I did a self-check: Do I want to do this? I felt a strong YES.
Ok then, if I want to do it, Why?
Always know your Why. Then go back to it when you’re feeling less than committed.
My Why – Because I love these women. They remind me of Mom. I want to be a friend to them.
The fear began to dissipate. I had an idea: Mom would ask about them rather than just talk about herself. I can do that. That made me feel courageous.
My higher brain was taking the lead.
It may help to remember it this way: Higher Brain in the Drivers’ seat, Lower Brain in the Passenger seat. Invite the negative emotion to sit next to you in the passenger seat, but never let it get behind the wheel. You rarely get anyplace when Fear, Confusion, Doubt or their “Thought Friends” are driving.
Inviting it to join you for the ride means you aren’t fighting against it. Imagine what kind of driver you are when you’re fighting with the other people in the car: Distracted. Dangerous. Ineffective. The ride is miserable!
So this afternoon I put Commitment and Courage in the Drivers’ seat and called Ruthanne and then Sharon. With both, we fell right into conversation. Both showed concern for me, both expressed their love for Mom. It wasn’t awkward at all, we talked and laughed like friends do.
I cried tears of joy when I got off the phone. I had almost talked myself out of having that wonderful experience. Another bonus; This little act of bravery will be pulled up from my memory banks the next time I think of reaching out to them, and I now have evidence that I am capable of being successful at it.
You can start Driving again, one emotional victory at a time.
P.S. This process of creating Courage to stick to a Commitment provides self-proof that you are Capable, which produces Confidence. This system was identified by Dan Sullivan and is known as The 4 C’s. Using it in combination with coaching can help you reduce wasted time and stress and make great strides in your life! Schedule a free Discovery Call with me today to really show yourself what you are capable of. https://meredithgcoaching.as.me/