What we think and say to ourselves creates our feelings. So we want to tell ourselves confidence, positive and encouraging things. We want to do this because what we tell ourselves creates our feelings and our thoughts and feelings guide what we do.
A therapy client of mine ‘Mark’, (37 years old) had given up alcohol 2 years before. By his own admission he couldn’t drink without messing up his life. The problem he was having was the recurring thought that he, “Had no control.” It bothered him that he had no choice but to be sober which he interpreted as being out of control and this was painful to him. No amount of intellectual reasoning he did helped how he felt. He even said to me, “Susan, I know I could look at it as I am in control or I’ve got even more control now that I don’t drink. Doesn’t make me feel better though.” We explored what he could tell himself that would make him feel better. He started with, “I make choices all day long. I am in control.” He left our session and practiced this till our next session a week later. He told me that it almost worked. He said he realized he liked his life and that he’s made it good. That’s it I said! “I like my life and I’ve made it.” That’s yours for sure. He shortened it and made his personal encouragement statement, “I like my life.”
It doesn’t have to be complicated!
Before you do the following exercise notice what you tell yourself. Your clue where to begin is when you notice emotional discomfort. What did you just tell yourself? Chances are you will find that you’ve just told yourself something that is not very encouraging or even down right mean.
What would you say if you were talking to a good friend? Would you say the same thing you are telling yourself? I often ask my clients what they’d say to a 10 year old. Would you speak to a 10 year old like you are speaking to yourself? This invariably gets a reaction from them like (a little smile), “Well of course NOT.” Experiment with the following exercise and be gentle on yourself please.
- Write down 3 encouraging, positive statements for yourself.
- Practice using them for a week.
- Modify them after a week. Continue using the statements that uplift you and make you feel more confident.
Be well and BE nice to yourself,