“Self Talk Dictates your Life”
By: Javan
April 11, 2012

People in Indianapolis seek marriage counseling for many different reasons. Family Tree Counseling provides a unique approach to marital therapy to the Indianapolis area through the Family Systems approach. Focusing on family of origin issues provides a great deal of information about how we manage intimacy in marriage. The experiences we had as younger people, formed our ideas about ourselves. We carry these ideas as stories about ourselves and the world. The stories we tell ourselves about who we are influence who we become, how we behave, decisions we make, and how we feel about ourselves.

What story do you tell yourself? What do you think to yourself when you feel panicked, anxious, nervous or stressed? What do you say to yourself when you are running short on time, feeling busy, or overwhelmed?  What story do you tell yourself about your self-worth because of the situation or the circumstances that you’re currently living? What is your story and how are you stuck in it? What fear are you feeling because of the story you’re telling yourself? Does this feeling allow you to remain paralyzed, powerless to change your situation? Do you say that you are not providing as well as you could as a wife, as a mom, as a father, as a husband, as an employee, or as an employer? These valuable seconds of self-talk influence you and the environment around you. It is valuable to make these distinctions about your self-talk if you wish to influence your beliefs about yourself and others.

Thoughts and self-talk are powerful influences. The brain responds to these tapes constantly throughout your life. In turn, the body responds as well. As a child, your slate was blank, tabula rasa. Your thoughts were innocent, based on survival….basic survival. All you needed was simple. Through much of my recovery work, I learned about my own mental blocks that allowed me to remain trapped at moments in life where I felt I wasn’t making progress. I realized that being stuck was being created within my thoughts and self-talk. My body was also responding to the negative stress of feeling overwhelmed and busy. Somehow, all of that negative stress would weigh on me, like a heavy blanket and zap my energy. What I needed was to slow down and listen to myself. Regardless of what was happening in the world, I had to stop and listen to my self-talk.

self-talkWhen we say to ourselves “I am….depressed, angry, upset, irritated, frustrated, etc. We create a state of being for ourselves. We are not describing a situation; we are ascribing to ourselves a value on our self-worth. This becomes the core value of you.  You teach yourself to be that thing, the dominant negative or stressful belief. If this is not what you desire in your life, you need to shift your self-talk or beliefs about your automatic thoughts that say you ARE this negative situation or negative feelings. Thoughts happen in a split second, come and go, so it takes a conscious effort to be deliberate about listening to your self-talk. self-talk-2

This type of shift in thinking is not the same as stating the opposite of what you feel or say to an automatic thought. For example, the automatic thought, “Crap, I am so dumb, can’t believe I forgot” and then saying, “I am not dumb.” The damage to the self-worth has already begun again with the automatic thought. Automatic thoughts cannot be consciously changed until recovery work begins. It takes time, like a journey, to stop having negative automatic thoughts. It is a conscious and deliberate change that occurs over time, with help, through recovery work. The automatic thoughts are based on family of origin and life experiences that you have taken on that continue to replay negative messages about your self-worth. “If I don’t do this, we’re not going make it!” “If we don’t have or I don’t do x, y, and z….then I will keep feeling shame, self-loathing, etc.” Through recovery work at Family Tree Counseling, serving marital and individual counseling to the Indianapolis area, these types of tapes can be eliminated and replaced with self affirming and truthful tapes that help you to create a more affirming life for yourself.