Episode 45: Witnessing the wins
You are listening to the Life Reconstructed podcast with me, Teresa Amaral Beshwate, grief expert, best-selling author and widow. I’m so glad you’re here because in this and every episode, I shine a light on the widowed way forward.
Hello and welcome to episode 45. In this episode, I explain why an unsupervised brain is a negative brain, and I offer a simple strategy to witness your wins.
Researchers believe that the normal human brain has about 60,000 thoughts per day. Some are conscious while others are subconscious. And, approximately 80% of those thoughts are negative. And that’s not even a grieving human statistic. No doubt it’s much higher for a person who is grieving.
In episode 21, I explained why negativity is quite natural. It’s a sign of a properly functioning primitive brain, which has only one goal - to keep us alive. The more negativity it can spot, the more likely it will achieve that goal of keeping you alive.
Which was definitely helpful back in the day that the chances of being attacked by a tiger were high.
It’s less helpful today when most people are not in any kind of danger.
But even in the absence of real danger, the brain is still hard wired to look for the negative. And what it looks for, it finds.
In life after loss, there are plenty of negative, difficult and profoundly sad circumstances for the brain to find.
An unsupervised grieving brain will naturally stay stuck in the mire of misery. Simply because it’s hard wired to do so. Nothing has gone wrong.
We simply need to give the brain a bit of supervision. Yes, life after loss is incredibly difficult. AND, there are the little wins, the tiny victories, the day-to-day accomplishments.
In the early days, those little wins were getting out of bed and taking a shower. Later they’re fixing the Wi-Fi, calling an electrician and tackling the stack of paperwork. It’s assembling, sorting and taking the trash out. It’s paying the bills, figuring out the passwords and meeting a friend for lunch. Wins are large and small, sometimes they’re thanks to YouTube, or the neighbor who showed up to help or the support of your church community. It’s preparing taxes, cooking a meal and pulling weeds. Wins are everywhere.
And yet, your brain will refuse to see them. It’s simply not hard wired that way. Remember, negative is natural.
So, we have to direct our brains to see the wins, big and small, every single day. Here is a very simple strategy that will help you so much: start a list of wins. And keep adding to it. This will force your brain to see all of them. Spend time with your list. Feel the pride, the sense of accomplishment. Spend time with those feelings. Soak them up.
Notice that even when it felt like life had ended, you put one foot in front of the other. And you keep doing that today.
This journey is hard enough. Don’t let a day go by without finding your wins.
Seeing your wins is one part of loving yourself more. Which is the topic of my February, 2024 webinar. I’ll offer 7 ways to nurture the most important relationship you have, which is the one with yourself. I’ll explain why self-love is difficult in general, and especially in life after loss, and what to do about it. I hope you’ll join me on Tuesday, February 13th at 1:30 pacific time/ 2:30 mountain/ 3:30 central/ 4:30 eastern. The link to join is in the show notes.
If this episode was helpful, please share it with a widowed friend. I’d also be grateful if you would rate and review it. And remember that I believe in you, and I’m here for you. Take care.
If you’ve found this podcast helpful, I invite you to join Life Reconstructed, my coaching program exclusively for widowed people. It will help you step forward toward a life you will love again. Simply go to thesuddenwidowcoach.com and click work with me.