You wake up and look at the clock. It’s 3:22 a.m. You lie there and your mind instantly starts to wander. You’re thinking about the fight you recently had with your sister, the argument last night with your bf, the bills you’re struggling to pay and that important meeting next week. All this worrying has you tossing and turning the next hour, until finally falling back asleep. This constant worrying is what therapist, life coach and author Sylvia Friedman calls “spinning.”
“Everyone has problems,” says Friedman, “But a lot of times, we blow them out of proportion, and we create this negative drama before anything actually happens.”
Friedman, who grew up in a Chicago housing project and who went on to graduate from Northwestern University says that people, especially successful women thrive on the drama, which creates chaos within them and causes nervous anxiety.
So, why do we crave the drama? Sylvia says it comes down to one very important thing: a lack self love.
“Self love is really about what people think they deserve, and how worthy they think they are” she says, “If you don’t have self love, you can’t handle things that might be painful to you.”
Friedman recalls losing her father and her boyfriend (who she calls the love of her life) within 3 days of each other several years ago, and says that what got her through it was remembering her father telling her to always love herself.
“All I could think of was that both of them would want me to continue on and keep living and raising my children.”
Sylvia says women who lack self love endure these consequences:
1. They punish themselves if they make a mistake versus just trying to fix it and move on.
2. They worry about excessive pleasing of their spouse and children and rarely think of pleasing themselves.
3. They don’t recognize their talents and abilities and the good they do.
4. They begin to feel like martyrs because they are not receiving
5. They don’t know how to say thank you to others.
6. They are generally very negative, towards everything, including themselves.
7. They tend to lie and/or omit things.
Another problem associated with lack of self love and “spinning,” are physical effects. “People repress their feelings, and then the body begins to speak.”
Sylvia says she sees a lot of clients who end up with chronic diseases such as acid reflux, and extreme digestive problems due to stress.
So, how do we focus on obtaining self love? Sylvia offers three suggestions.
1. Ask for what you need. Tell your spouse, “I’m hurting. I need you to nurture me right now.”
2. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. Don’t be or act like a victim.
3. Learn how to be more vulnerable. Many people think being vulnerable means being weak. Not true! It’s healthy to be vulnerable.
4. When it comes to worrying about things you really can’t control (or that you can only control to a certain extent,) Sylvia says, “stop spinning,” and focus on self love!
“When you find yourself spinning, say, ‘There I go again. I’m spinning. I’m going to stop doing that. I’m going to get the job done today and I’m good at what I do. I’m going to do everything I can that is in my control.”
To learn more about Sylvia Friedman: www.sylviafriedman.com