I have a special knack for “dooming”
You know “dooming”, right? It’s when you go:
“OMG! This is it, this is the end of everything! Now I’ve done it, I’ve ruined everything and I’ll be forever a failure and a loser! DOOM! DOOM!!!”
“But that’s terrible”, I hear you say.
Well… Perhaps it’s all a matter of changing the “filter” through which we see things.
True, dooming can be… overwhelming. Making a small thing into “the end of everything”? Kind of extreme.
And yet, I’ve come to realise that we do need a bit of “dooming”. We just need to doom “mindfully”.
Hear me out
I have been through major life crisis. I am tempted to say I’ve been in crisis for the past decade, but regardless, I’ve been in crisis after crisis.
And not a single person has ever said to me “WOW! Mary, that must have been AWFUL! HORRIBLE! THE WORST!!!”.
Not a single person. Ever. In a life practically made up of crisis.
A life containing, amongst others:
3 abusive relationships, suicidal tendencies, self-harm, depression since age 5, homelessness, crushing poverty, chronic unemployment.
Oh, and being single for years.
And through all of that, not a single person ever said: “wow, Mary, this is seriously hard! I am so sorry!!!”.
Two things were going on: *I* wasn’t acknowledging just how horrible things were AND nobody was giving me a hand by doing the acknowledging and saying “Mary, this is truly horrible!” (and yes, the two are connected)
It’s been a tough process, but I’ve learned to give myself plenty of “doom”. Mindful “doom”.
Mindful dooming consists of fully acknowledging just how horrible the horrible is.
The process works like this
- You notice you are going all “Doom! Disaster! The end! This couldn’t go worse!!!”
- You stop.
- You rephrase the doom. You name the feelings and you validate the feelings. You allow yourself to wish things were different. You acknowledge how big this is for you:
“OK, I am feeling super upset here. Clearly this is a big effing deal. I am really angry. And afraid. And I so wish things were different. This is actually big for me, and I need to fully acknowledge how big a deal it is because, clearly, this is a huge fricking deal”.
Instant mindful doom!
And now, onto un-dooming
Un-dooming consists of making something BIG into something small. Turning “this is the absolute worst and now we’re going to be miserable forever” into “ok, we screwed up here, but you know what, it happens sometimes”.
“This is great!”, you may think. “We want to make things into a small deal”.
I fell for that one too.
There’s very real danger in un-dooming if we don’t do it mindfully
Like I said before, I have been through a whole lot of crisis in my life. And nobody ever said “Mary! This is horrible! This is the worst!!!”
Instead people kept coming to me with “meh, no big deal”.
When is it wrong to say “it’s not a big deal”? WHEN IT IS A BIG FRACKING DEAL!!!
See? Anger. RAGE. And all because we are failing to acknowledge how big a deal something is.
Randomly going around saying “meh, no big deal” when it comes to people’s personal tragedies is not ok.
Because it’s not mindful.
The trick is to make un-dooming “mindful”
“OK. So yeah, I am pissed off as Hell. And yeah, this thing is totally ruining my life right now. I can’t sleep, I can’t stop crying. It’s horrible, there’s not other word for it. And I wish with every fibre of my being that it wasn’t going on.
AND I would also like to remind myself that these things happen. Yes, I am going through something horrible. And this is also part of being alive: sometimes we do go through horrible.
It doesn’t mean my entire life is horrible. And it doesn’t mean it will go on forever.
Right now, it is horrible. And it’s true that I cannot imagine it ever ending. Ever.
I am totally allowed to think this is a big fricking deal made of nothing but horribleness. AND I am allowed to think this is not the whole of my life.
Even though I am going through Hell and I feel like everything bad is always happening to me, I am capable of remembering all the wise people who say wise things. Such as: “human life is imperfect, we will go through hard times, and we work with them”.
- The “mindful” part means “we fully acknowledge how we’re feeling, yo”. If we feel like acknowledging how horrible this is, we mindfully doom. If we feel like acknowledging that this is temporary and a normal part of being alive, we mindfully un-doom.
- The better you get at fully recognising just how horrible the horrible is (ie: mindful dooming) the better you’ll get at seeing BIG HORRIBLE as just another bump in the road (ie: mindful un-dooming).
- My advice: try both at the same time. If you’re anything like me, you will need to make a big deal out of your pain AND you will need to remind yourself that pain is normal.
Hope this helps.
Happy dooming and un-dooming!