I’d like to introduce you to my negative reel. She visits me with different voices, but most often she sounds like that passive-aggressive girlfriend that seems nice but says things that make me feel self-conscious. For example: “Oh honey, those pants are so cute… but are you sure they don’t accentuate your large hips?” “I’m sorry you feel overwhelmed but you took on these responsibilities and you’re going to disappoint everyone if you ask for help… just sayin’” “Now be sure to look pretty. No one wants to see you upset about something silly like that.”
You get the point. My negative reel seems like she’s well-meaning for the most part but she sets me off into this spiral of second-guessing myself and scares me into submission.
For most of my life, I thought my negative reel was my friend. She reminded me how to act properly, she reminded me to stay “normal” and fit in, she guided me to stay on an acceptable career path, and she pushed me to keep accomplishing the next milestone towards my life goals.
Nice friend, right?
I thought she was the reason I was successful. Without her I would be unmotivated and her “real talk” was what got my lazy ass moving to reach my full potential.
Then in 2018, I received my first reiki attunement and something burst out from inside of me. I started feeling… and most importantly, I started listening to that feeling. I started exploring those feelings and sensations reawakening in my body and they didn’t make any sense! I didn’t know what they meant because they had been pushed down and ignored for so long.
I remember sitting on the metro commuting down to DC one morning. I had decided to stop listening to my morning news podcast and instead use the time to meditate. I knew I had to take advantage of just sitting and listening to these fascinating feelings and thoughts that for once were not my negative reel! I asked myself:
If you had to choose between real life and magic, which one would you pick?
It took me a moment to consider but my response was very clear… magic of course! I mean, I wouldn’t turn down an invitation to attend Hogwarts to stay at the Dursleys (that’s for all those Harry Potter fans out there).
And this was the moment that I started recognizing and pinpointing my negative reel. It was hard. She would take over sometimes and I’d go back to my old habits for weeks. But that’s when my tools came in handy to bring me back to my feelings in my body and quiet that negative reel in my head.
With a few years of practice and with the support of the ming+ming community, I’m getting much better at noticing my negative reel before she brings me into my negative spiral. I can bring myself back to “my why” to remember why I’m working towards my goals in the first place. And I keep choosing magic, which is what I define as the decisions that feel right but may not “make sense” to my negative reel.
My negative reel girlfriend is still hanging around, but I’m getting better at keeping her quiet so she’s not the center of attention anymore and I’m choosing to listen to a different voice… my true voice.
My hope is by sharing my negative reel, you can find the connection to start identifying your own negative reel. Because at ming+ming, we believe that you can’t change what you don’t know.
With love, Ming-Wai
P.S. If this story resonated with you, share it with me in the comment section below. Also, you can follow along with my related stories and try my favorite tools as I work through my personal growth journey...
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