Pessimism is not your friend. It does not have to be your enemy. Have you ever heard the phrase, “if you don’t know its broke you can’t fix it?” Part of being in charge of your life is learning how to listen to your self-talk, and TALK BACK!
It sounds a little crazy. I’ve just asked you to talk to yourself, which doesn’t always have the greatest social response. I’m asking you to do it mindfully, not on autopilot. When you are having one of those days that the world has turned against you and you find yourself missing old coping strategies…use this time to benefit you.
Take our your faithful journal and start writing what it is that you say to yourself in these times of dread. How do people support you or not. How is your career? Your home life? Your health? Your sex life? Don’t censor yourself and certainly don’t worry about being grammatically correct. That would just piss you off! At some point when your pen stops moving so fast…because I’m sure it could go on for days…take a breath and try and put on a “hat”.
First of all, you have already helped yourself by writing some of this jumbled negativity down. Its a mess living in that head of yours, with what you put yourself through. If this is all you can do today put the journal down and know you are not done!
The therapeutic side of the lesson is well underway…writing your woes. I stated at the beginning I wanted you to take back charge. Learn! To do that pick one of your phrases and respond to it. It isn’t always easy, especially if you are feeling sarcastic. So take one phrase and force yourself to look at it and answer it with three different “hats”.
Hat 1: The child. Without justification, explain the thought to a child. Perhaps to yourself as a child. For the purpose of this exercise assume that you care about this child and you never want them to feel the same way. What can they do? Write down whatever comes up for you. This self-reflection is what the exercise is about.
Hat 2: The lover. I would wager that your most intimate partner has heard most of your negative talk, and perhaps of the remorse that follows. Write it down. Our partners have a way of helping us build our thickest walls of protection so as not to be hurt…but they also have a way of melting them down and getting to what’s real.
Hat 3: Your ideal self. Be honest…how many times have you caught yourself talking shit and yelled, SHUT-UP? You know the harm. Your inner-most self or ideal self is in there thinking what the heck is he doing with all this potential! How do you answer to yourself for your negative thought? Don’t just write down your confirming thoughts…I want to know the thoughts that you are trying to crush out. (read that part again!) In between your thoughts, there’s this little voice that’s saying there’s hope. I want you to write down more about what’s being said between the lines, as it were.
At the end of the day, you get to choose what to do with this information. The more you do this exercise…the less jumbled the negative self-talk becomes and the abler you are to call upon what you need to hear to push forward. The goal is to be successful!