Friday, January 23, 2015

Ignore the noise.

Ignore the noise. That's the motto flowing around Patriots Nation lately. (If you didn't know, I am an avid fan of the New England Patriots.)

That's hard, becasue the team I adore is being accused of something when the investigation isn't complete. I won't delve into my feelings on #deflategate here much, but the concept of ignoring noise has been resonating with me lately. I think it does for everyone.

Sometimes, it's hard to ignore the noise. As a writer, I am constantly bombarded by rejection. Told I'm not doing something right. It's a lot of noise, and while I don't want to take it personally, I can't help but do that. Writing is my profession, but it's very personal to me. (As are the Patriots, whom I often empathize with for being good people and constantly being berated even when they don't do anything wrong.)

How does one ignore noise? When you deal with anxiety, the noise is loud...blaring in your face. What if that happens? Run away? I can't do that... the messages we send ourselves are not only negative, they kind of blare in our faces. Especially if you're in the midst of a panic attack, when you feel fear and "hear" the voice so loudly, you believe it's true...even though you know you're not in danger. You still feel like it.

These days, I do not experience as many severe panic attacks, but that doesn't mean the world isn't a noisy place. Whether it is your boss telling you you've done something wrong or a "friend" telling you that you've chosen to root for a group of [alleged] cheaters, there's plenty of noise. The worst of it comes from people who hide behind a smile and are outwardly mean.

Then there are other forms of noise. Our self-critic is quite a noisy one, as is the healthy part of us trying to process things in our lives and make sense of it all. Then there are other things...maybe not messages but just everyday things that create noise: Commuting, checking your phone, helping others, etc. It's all a ton of noise.

That begs the question: Why the heck do we listen to it all?

We don't' have to listen to the noise, and we certainly don't have to take it all in.

When I started healing from my anxiety issues, I found that I became super-selective about what I listened to and what I was telling myself. I focused on what was good for me. I focused on only accepting the truth. I learned to filter out self-criticism, perceived criticisms and blatantly negative messages that otherwise used to consume me.

It took a lot of freaking time. And a whole bunch of practice. A lot.

It did not come overnight.

Or with one choice to "ignore the noise."

Over time, though, it got easier.

This week, I have been bombarded with noise, not only from the media hounding "my boys," but from agents rejecting my book idea, picky editors and a packed-full schedule. I've had to discern what I will let affect me. Knowing that you can choose to ignore certain things is the first step to learning how to filter out what doesn't matter in life, I think.

And when all else fails, laugh. Because you can.

There will always be positive noise, and that's what you need to focus on. As for my football dilemma, I chose to focus on my favorite Pats player who always keeps things light. He's the type of person I want to be--someone who inspires others to embrace positivity. Thanks, Jules.


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