I seriously considered ending this blog here. I mean, need I say more?
Remember the one rule we learn when we’re little: “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”? I’ve always wondered why no one told us to apply this to what we say to ourselves.
It would be one thing if what we said to ourselves was based solely on facts. The problem is, we never stick to the facts. Rather, we like to add all manner of insinuation and insanity.
Let’s look at some examples: *
Fact: “I just yelled at my kids.”
Translation in head: “I just yelled at my kids so I’m a shitty mother. There is something seriously wrong with me. Why can’t I get it together?”
Fact: “I don’t have a job.”
Translation in head: “I don’t have a job. What kind of loser is unemployed for x months?”
Fact: “I lost a client.”
Translation in head: “I lost a client. I am unsuccessful. I’m a fraud. I suck.”
Fact: “I wasn’t invited to this gathering.”
Translation in head: “I wasn’t invited to this gathering. I don’t fit in anywhere. People are always leaving me out.”
Fact: “My jeans don’t fit.”
Translation in head: “My jeans don’t fit. I am a useless, lazy, fat piece of crap.” (Some people’s voices are very nasty).
When I press clients to stick to the facts, some insist that their translation of events is entirely accurate. Alternatively, they’ll divert the question by asking, “Why do we have to talk about this?”
I understand. Feelings can often feel like facts, and when we’re in the throes of them, it’s oddly more comfortable to keep wallowing, than it is to find the mental crowbar to dig us out. Old feelings are familiar, and our brain craves the familiar.
We have records in our mind, stored feelings in our body, and inaccurate assumptions we made (or others made about us) long ago, on which we now hesitate to loosen the grip. Who are we, if not this stack of insults, martyrdom and negative emotions we’ve been living by our whole lives?
Nonetheless, please know, it’s a choice. Also please note the consequences. First and foremost, it feels like crap. Personally, I don’t advocate the choice to feel like crap. It does nothing, for no one.
Second, as I’ve mentioned before, these negative thinking and feeling cycles put our bodies into Fight or Flight. Why is this important? Because if your body is preparing for some made up disaster, there are no resources available to problem solve or to create more of what you want in your life, rather than what you don’t want.
In other words, our autonomic nervous system has switched on. The throttle is being pulled back and the plane is taking off. We are nothing more than a helpless passenger flying headlong into a storm, and directly away from the Island of Peace, where soft breezes and crystal clear skies abound.
Now, you can keep sipping from the drinks spiked with delusion on board (recognizing they are far from free), or you can unbuckle your seatbelt, stand up, dust the pretzel dust off your pants and march yourself into the cockpit where you tell the pilot in no uncertain terms, “Land. This. Plane.”
It’s your choice.
*Disclaimer: If you have never had any thoughts like this ever, you are in a very tiny, likely less than 1% of the population. First, I’d like to say congratulations! Second, you likely have far more energy than the average bear, so please go out and put the resources to do good in the world.