What do You say to Yourself You would Never let Anyone else to Say to You?  (Negative Self Talk)

happy-smiling-sun-summer-background-happiness-pixmac-clipart-46615343I often encounter people in the course of my work who tell me “I am my own worst enemy” and I believe it. It is so easy for us to believe the worst about ourselves, to put ourselves down, to litter our days’ thoughts with negative self talk.  Somewhere in our past we’ve been delivered the message that to say positive, uplifting things about ourselves is to be stuck up, arrogant, self involved, and egotistical.

Of course there is a balance when it comes to being self-centered.  I would like to take back that phrase and remove the negativity associated with it.  When we hear ‘self-centered’ we think of someone vain or arrogant, who thinks they are better than everyone else.  I would like to use the phrase to mean that someone is balanced in his or her life, knows their place in the world, what their passionate work should be and is able to stay in the here-and-now to live life to the fullest.

I think the actual dynamic that is taking place when we put ourselves down is threefold.  First, we can make a negative statement with the hope ‘it won’t get worse than this’, second, if we say it out loud, someone will disagree, say something positive about us to contradict the negative thing we said, and third, we can stay comfortable in self-doubt and keep ourselves from stepping out of our comfort zone.

Take some quiet time and, in your notebook, list some negative things you say about yourself that would hurt you deeply if someone else you love said to you.  Now go back and think on these things, think on why it would hurt if someone who loves you said these things to you.  Now remember, your first duty in life is to love and cherish yourself as the sacred, miracle you are.  Why would you allow yourself to hurt your psyche by saying these things to yourself?  Go back to your notebook, re-write those negative statements in to positive ones and re-read them every day remembering you wouldn’t let anyone else say those things to you so you won’t anymore either.

Feelings, my friends, are not Facts…

When I first realized this many years ago, I was quite shocked by the truth of the statement.  As human beings, it is our job to assign emotion to everything and everyone in life.  The connection of emotion is what makes us human.  Our emotions filter our interpretation of truth and fact.  If I was to say:  the sun was a bright pinky-yellow this morning as it rose, many of you would conjure some type of emotion associated with a past sunrise that you encountered, thus your interpretation of past sunrises is painted with your version of the truth of those sunrises.

It’s pretty harmless to have your own filtered version of a sunrise, however, where we can get in to trouble is when we take life affecting moments, immersed in emotion, and consider our emotions around those moments’ facts.  It is easy to get in a goodhealthV2-paperrelicscycle of over-thinking about a person, event, or issue when there are a lot of conflicting or overpowering emotions involved.  We get sucked in to thinking our reality-filtered by our emotions-is fact.  Our reality is not necessarily the reality we should be taking in to account.  Our emotions tug us in the direction of a heart’s desire or a financial need or a family burden.  The need or want attached to those things give us a distorted version of what is.  Our minds trick us in to thinking the feeling-filtered perception is fact because that is easiest to believe.  Face it, as humans we are very attached to our feelings and we are all, to a degree, egocentric.  “My ideas, ways of doing things, beliefs are the best…”  If we didn’t buy in to our own beliefs and patterns we would be wrecks.

What do you do then, when you may be in a cycle of over-thinking or uncertainty over some emotionally charged issue?  You aren’t sure what is fact and what is your emotion-induced fiction, swaying you in the direction of your heart?  You journal.  Get out your Traveler Notebook and start writing down the emotions you are feeling, the raw facts you know for sure, your perceptions of the facts, and any feedback you might garner from close associates.  Add it all up, sum up the information, write from a third person perspective, dispassionately with  neutral observations, then take a step back.  Leave it, walk away, let the thoughts settle.  Ponder them on a long walk, over a hot cup of tea, remember to believe in your own best self and return to your written words.  You will, I promise, have gained a perspective.  Write it down, the unfiltered perceptions and why your emotions tugged at you so much.  Remember however, even though feelings are not facts, they are what make us gloriously human, so beautiful and fragile, and each emotion is worth feeling and savoring.

I’m Fine…………..really……….part 2

Have you ever identified a lie that you tell yourself to justify something in your life that you don’t want to change? I’ll give you an exalow-self-esteem-380x2601mple. I was a very skinny kid – a rail if you will. When I grew up and started having kids I started putting weight on, just a little at a time but it added up until I found myself at 40 years of age with about 40 extra pounds….a lot for a 5’4″ woman. But I always had thin wrists, tiny if you will and I would tell myself I wasn’t that overweight because my wrists were so thin. This is an example of telling yourself a lie to justify something you are or aren’t doing, in my case to justify not having to confront my weight issue. It sounds silly to say it or even to see it written down but I actually used this ridiculous lie for years to not confront my weight issue. And truthfully, the lie harmed no one but myself.

Lies we tell ourselves appear harmless on the outward appearance but they can be life damaging because they keep us in a rut. Ruts can be very comfortable and feel safe when in fact they are holding us back from true joy and success. You may tell yourself lies about your job or the relationship you are in. No one else in your life may even be aware of these lies and you yourself may not be fully cognizant of the lies.

Look at areas in your life that may cause you discomfort or stress. Are you lying to yourself to stay where you are? The lie may make you temporarily feel better about the situation and may make you stop thinking about it for a while but it will pop up again. Confront these lies and lay out the truth of the situation….my wrist size has nothing to do with my overall weight and health. Once you clearly see the truth through the lie you can then write out a plan for change based on the truth – not the lie.

I’m Fine……………….really.

The average person tells 4 lies a day, that’s 1,460 per year, for a total of 87,600 by the age of 60.  We all, at one time or another have told this little lie.  There are multitude of reasons you say you are fine when you aren’t.  There may be rules of confidentiality that restrict conversation, there may be reasons you don’t let your guard down to certain people, there may be time constraints or you don’t want that level of intimacy with the person asking how you are…maybe your barista asked and at the risk of getting horrible latte’s thi'm finee rest of your life you say you are doing well when you aren’t.

However, there is a monumental problem with saying you are ‘fine’ when you are not.  What is that you ask?  Simply this: when you say, out loud, that you are fine and you are not, you are really trying to convince yourself you are.  It is well known that some women and men who experience child sexual abuse never tell, never speak the words of the abuse out loud.  The reason for this is that if they never say the words out loud they can pretend it never happened…..so saying “I’m fine” is really the opposite dynamic going on.

The bottom line is, we all have moments, days even, where we are not fine by any definition.  Struggling, sadness, loss, helplessness, aggravation are all part of the human condition.  You have permission to not be ok, to not be fine.   So next time someone asks you how you are, and you don’t feel so fine, find other words to respond with, words that will not betray your heart and soul, words that will be true to your feelings.  The more you are genuine and honest about how you really feel, the more you will experience joy and peace.

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