My eldest child is leaving for college in 3 days.. Need to do something about how I’m feeling inside. I decided just this minute to do an exercise of Inquiry from Byron Katie, Loving What Is:
I’m afraid that my daughter won’t be able to handle herself emotionally at college. So I will do “The Work” on this statement.
My daughter won’t be able to handle herself emotionally at college.
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true that your daughter won’t be able to handle herself at college?
I needed to get still and sit with this for a good few minutes. Ok.. No.
3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
I feel nauseous. I get headaches. I can’t relax. I feel constricted. I can’t be there for her in the present. I make myself sick. I can’t sleep. I can’t stop eating carbs. I feel horrible.
I feel scared that I have damaged her in some way because I have not been the best mother. I feel scared that I have negatively impacted her with my anxiety issues. I get scared taht history will repeat itself and she will go through what I went through in college- non stop anxiety and panic attacks and feelings of insecurity and not being truly happy because of the anxiety. I’m afraid that having these thoughts will somehow transfer over to her and become real. Nutty as that sounds. I’m afraid that her life will be ruined.
4. Who would you be without the thought “My daughter won’t be able to handle herself emotionally at college?”
I would be at peace. I would just be present and go through this life change in our family without all my inner turmoil and drama. I would be able to support my daughter in my thoughts and actions fully, without my emotional baggage.
I would not project my past, which I’m sure is exaggerated in my mind, onto her. I would not dwell in negativity all the time. I would be lighter.
My daughter WILL be able to handle herself emotionally at college.
Now find statements to prove this:
She will handle her life, just as she is doing now. She has handled her life for 18 years. And when she has needed help, I have been there for her.
She is more than ok. She is truly capable of living away from home. She did it easily last summer. She did it her way, not my way or my husband’s. She is in no way a younger version of me, making the bad choices I made in my youth and having no intervention and support for her. Yes she is taking medication (sertraline) and it is helping her, thank God. She has a very good therapist and she has to be in touch via text through out the semester. In no way is she going to be left floundering if she has irrational anxiety or any issue.
She has already connected via Facebook with her roommate. She has already connected with her adviser and got a job on campus as a Calculus tutor. She changed her major on her own and while I was shocked I was so happy for her. She is making her way in life. No input needed from me! Amazing!
I’m afraid that I won’t be able to handle myself emotionally while my daughter is at college.
Because look what I am doing right here. I am not handling myself. I am making myself sick. I am having all these irrational feelings and I am living and reacting as if they are true.
I WILL be able to handle myself emotionally when my daughter is away at college.
I am doing the best that I can. I am practicing mindfulness and am working and doing yoga and keeping up with my program to help me keep anxiety and panic attacks at bay.
We have had some wonderful, peaceful moments this summer. Sitting on the porch having tea, folding clothes together. She even came with me grocery shopping a few times, something she never did in the past. That is a real connection.
I know that my feelings and emotions may be heightened over the next few days. This is the biggest change in our family since my dad got cancer. But this is a good thing. She is smart and starting her life at college, after all! And this period of time will come to pass like everything else.
The dust will settle and All Will Be Well.
Thank You Lord! I feel so much better now…
I wish you peace,
To learn more about this type of Inquiry to help you with stressful thoughts please see here:
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