Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Turn down the volume (on negative self-talk)

I dropped the lemon peel! AAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!

...and then it would begin...the flurry of negative self-talk that would rant and criticize me for being...clumpsy, not focused, lazy ("you could have made more than one trip to the garbage can you know"), stupid,...and falling short of perfection at every turn. "How could I possibly do or be (fill in the blank of a desired goal here), if I can't even get a lemon peel to the garbage..." It was downright abusive. And yes, to this day, I am sensitive to the language and tone...I can pick it out of the subtlest of comments...and it has become a gift and a way to help others...

So from where I stand now..."Really? REALLY?? You want to let dropping a lemon peel derail you for life? To ruin your whole day?" But I used to...I know, I know. ..there is a lot worse happening in the world right now...children starving in 3rd world countries, etc, etc...but really, how do I put a life together when it seems like everything I do is wrong?

Now for some, reading this makes absolutely no sense " Where is she even trying to go with this?", "She sounds completely flipped!" ...but for some, it cuts deep...and it is to those who I am speaking to and serving here...in this moment, in this message. It will be jumbled and it will jump ALL over the place and if you can stick it out, through the two voices in my head that are trying to put together one message, then it may help...Help you to feel understood,  to feel you are not alone, and to possibly offer a glimmer of hope...

..the stand off officially started 5 years ago...one late night/early morning where I was "disturbed" out of sleep by her critiques again...I had enough! She was NOT going to continue to rob me of sleep or to continue these unguarded attacks anymore...I was tired...tired of getting no sleep, and tired of hearing this cap in my head. So I met her with some tools and I would like to share them...

Turn #1 Stand firm!


Now this came to me in a waking vision that would make a great movie one day, but a loud resounding voice, prior to the moment I am describing, said "Stand firm!" (LOL Was it God talking to me? Was it due to the many years of compromised sleep?...very possible) And I did! I woke up full and ready! 3 am baby! Every single day! She was punctual with her attacks, and I decided to make the time productive. (Yeah? You're gonna wake me up again at this time?...watch me and you...) Every time the banter began, I got productive...dishes, laundry, cooking, baking, working out, etc. Activity was the first thing I put in the place of the noise. (Ha HA! What was that? Oh I can't hear you...too busy...lifting these weights...grunt!) I made a list and I picked away at. And it worked ...for a bit...

Turn #2 Learn a new language


At that point where activity became habitual, there was space in my head again...so I filled that space with reading. The bible was the first thing I turned to. LOL people wondered how I could be so consistent with my quiet times, and this was part of the reason why. To shut up and down that nagging negative talk! It really did help to save my life and I was also given a great gift of insight into what I was reading. it showed me how time and time again, many of those in the bible went through the same thing! LOL this struggle and inner battle is by far NOT new to the human experience. ..I looked into other books and literature as well. ..Nonviolent communication was a biggie...other "self-help" books and "personal development" literature...all these help me to acknowledge what I was going through, gave tools in how to move forward through the negativity, and filled my mind and head space with some good stuff to hear for a change. But when things got a little derailed,  it created a window of opportunity for the critic to emerge (I hadn't dealt with her officially...yet!)

Turn #3 Adjust what you see and face what  you hear...


Here came that space again...the space for the clammer, the critique, the maniacal laughter of a new level of attack...still punctual she was, but as in Ecclesiastes, everything is meaningless,  and she started bringing circumstances and other people into the conversation. I will admit, it was a VERY challenging time, with not only the voice in my head going at me, but others in my life...I almost wanted to die. I felt like a lamb going to slaughter. ..what could I say? There was nothing I could do, say, or be to change the negative views and hatred that were flying at me, inside and out...and then I realized I needed a bubble! A bubble of rainbows, and sunshine, and unicorns...where was my dang happy place!?! But before I could have that, I needed to clear the space first...I changed the way I looked at my circumstances...and the truth was, I couldn't change in the way that my circumstances wanted me to...it was not healthy and I couldn't be what they wanted without denying all that is good about me...and then it was HER turn! Through the help of nonviolent communication techniques, I began a new conversation with her.? I let her speak so I could get to the root of the need she felt was not being met...support, encouragement, appreciation...not being met. And then I asked her for help...

Turn #4 Know your role! And get driving...


Now it was official...time to adjust the dial of what I was listening to and saying. She agreed to help...and was still criticizing me! I needed to get to work on meeting needs. LOL and she needed something ELSE to focus on instead of negativity. So I established that from now on the primary focus will be to love and encourage me and that she is welcome to let me know when things are not on track and that I will listen and observe (support), and that we can both work together to keep moving forward (LOL like Thelma and Louise, but I am doing the driving (and I choose the radio station and volume) and she is in the passenger seat.