Thursday, April 17, 2014

Willfulness vs. Willingness

Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking about willingness and willfulness, probably something to do with the fact that it seems like every time I have a conversation about my ED, it comes back to those two words. In DBT, there is a lot of talk about willingness vs. willfulness. Marsha Linehan describes willingness and willfulness like this: 

Willfulness is... 
Sitting on your hands when action is needed, refusing to make changes that are needed. 
Giving up. 
The opposite of "doing what works," being effective.
Trying to fix every situation. 
Refusing to tolerate the moment. 

Willingness is...
Doing just what is needed in each situation, in an unpretentious way. It is focusing on effectiveness. 
Listening very carefully to your wise mind, acting from your inner self. 
Allowing into awareness your connection to the universe--to the earth, to the floor you are standing on, to the chair you are sitting on, to the person you are talking to. 

In skills group, we've talked about how willfulness tends to create more black and white thinking and, willfulness usually ends up hurting you in the long run. We also discussed how you have to decide whether you want to work on being willing, but your motivation has to come from yourself. 

I  don't feel like being willing at all right now. I don't feel like being effective, listening to my wise mind, acting from my inner self, or allowing into awareness my connection to the universe. I feel like sitting on my hands and not making changes. I feel like giving up. I don't feel like tolerating the moment. I don't feel like doing what works. 

I feel really willful. 

I've been working with my therapist a lot about how to be more willing, and the last time I saw her, we talked about how even though I am doing things as if I was willing to do them, but I'm not feeling willing at all. And she said that willingness does not equal feeling willing, but that willingness means doing the next right thing, even if I don't feel like it and I hate it. Willingness is a behavior, not an emotion! 

I don't have to feel the least bit willing to be engaging in willingness. I just need to be doing the next right thing in that moment. Which means eating my next meal or my next snack. It means taking my meds every day. It means getting up, taking a shower, and leaving my house every day. It means doing all of these things, even when I'm having a bad depressive day, even when I'm overwhelmed with anxiety, even when I'm having a bad body image day. 

And maybe, just maybe, doing these things will seem less robotic and feelingless. Maybe one day, I will actually feel willing, instead of just behaving willingly. Maybe one day things will get better.

But for now, I guess I'm just stuck going through the motions. As the saying goes, "You don't have to want to... Just be WILLING." 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

20 Things I Want to Accomplish in My 20s

Today I am 20 years old, which is pretty awesome and exciting, in all honesty. Your 20s are supposed to be the best years of your life. Ann Brashares wrote, "I look back on my 20s. It’s supposed to be the prime of your life, the most vital, the most beautiful. But you’re making your critical decisions and sometimes your most critical mistakes." And here I am starting out on this ten-year adventure of beautiful, vital, and critical decisions that will drastically affect the course of the rest of my life. And in these next few years, there are some things that I definitely want to learn and do.

20 Things I Want to Accomplish in My 20s

1. Graduate from Gettysburg. First thing is first--I want to finish my remaining two years of school

2. Travel and see the world. For real. I have a passport, and there is going to be no other time in my life when I am free to do as I please (for the most part). I don't have a full-time job and I don't have kids, so there's nothing stopping me from exploring and seeing all that there is to see! 

3. Get accepted into a good grad school and start a fulfilling career. This is a super practical thing that I need to do. And grad school is only two and half years away! Right now, I'm wanting a PhD in clinical psychology, but that could change in the next few years. Grad school, though, is inevitable for me in my 20s. 

4. Learn and practice self-care. One thing that I am very ineffective at is taking care of myself, especially when things get busy and life gets hard. I'm going to have years and years of struggles and challenges ahead of me, and knowing how to take care of myself is going to be crucial. 

5. Take risks. Risks are uncomfortable for me, but you don't live by staying safely in your comfort zone. The old quote is that "Ships in the harbor are safe, but that's not what ships are built for." They are built for sailing, and we are built for living. 

6. Learn from and let go of the past. The past is the past. Things that happened in the last 20 years, although they affect me in this moment, they are not the present. The past contains lessons, but I won't find my future and my life by living there. I need to take what I can from the last years and go forward in life. 

7. Surround myself with the right people. I want people in my life who encourage me and help me to become the best me that I can. It says somewhere that you're a combination of the six people you spend most of your time with. I want friends in my life that offer hugs, challenges, laughs, cries, pain, warmth, and kindness. I want the right people in my life to help mold me. 

8. Go on a road trip (or trips) with my friends. 

9. Learn how to make and keep a budget. I'm not going to be living off of my parents forever. One of these days, I'm going to be out on my own, making my own money, and I'm going to have to know how to be responsible for it. 

10. Stop comparing myself to others. My life is my life. I'm 1 person out of 8 billion people on this planet--there's no one else that is exactly like me. 

11. Develop healthy habits. I want to be able to exercise in moderation, feed my body, have good sleep hygiene, and everything that I need to be the best person that I can be. 

12. Stop expecting life work out perfectly, just as I planned. It doesn't. Ever. Do that. So, yeah. 

13. Find a mentor (or two or three). Someone who's been here and can help guide me through the next years of my life. 

14. Take lots of pictures. Memories are priceless, and one day, I might not be able to remember so clearly. A picture is always worth a thousand words. 

15. Learn how--and when--to say "no." Most important. I am not Superwoman. I cannot do everything. 

16. Accept my body for what it is. As Julie says, I will never be a different height or a different shape or have a different complexion or a different hair color. My body is what it is. 

17. Write more. About my life, about others, about anything. I just want to write. 

18. Dive deeper into my faith. I want to figure out where I stand and what I believe in more than a "go-to-church-every-Sunday" way. I want to read the Bible and know the Bible, not just what it says but what it means and why it says what it says. 

19. Get a pet. I want something cuddly to come home to at the end of the day. Eventually I'll be out of school and will be able to have a cat or a dog in my own apartment.

20. Learn how to love myself as I am. Not if I got better grades or weighed less or was a better friend. As I am, in this moment. Period. 


"Follow Your Arrow" by Kacey Musgraves
If you save yourself for marriage
You're a bore
If you don't save yourself for marriage
You're a horrible person
If you won't have a drink
Then you're a prude
But they'll call you a drunk
As soon as you down the first one

If you can't lose the weight
Then you're just fat
But if you lose too much
Then you're on crack
You're damned if you do
And you're damned if you don't
So you might as well just do
Whatever you want

Make lots of noise
Kiss lots of boys
Or kiss lots of girls
If that's something you're into
When the straight and narrow
Gets a little too straight
Roll up a joint, or don't
Just follow your arrow
Wherever it points, yeah
Follow your arrow
Wherever it points

If you don't go to church
You'll go to hell
If you're the first one
On the front row
You're self-righteous
Son of a-
Can't win for losing
You'll just disappoint 'em
Just 'cause you can't beat 'em
Don't mean you should join 'em

So make lots of noise
Kiss lots of boys
Or kiss lots of girls
If that's something you're into
When the straight and narrow
Gets a little too straight
Roll up a joint, or don't
Just follow your arrow
Wherever it points, yeah
Follow your arrow
Wherever it points

Say what you think
Love who you love
'Cause you just get
So many trips 'round the sun
Yeah, you only
Only live once

So make lots of noise
Kiss lots of boys
Or kiss lots of girls
If that's what you're into
When the straight and narrow
Gets a little too straight
Roll up a joint, I would
And follow your arrow
Wherever it points, yeah
Follow your arrow

Wherever it points