Stinkin’ Thinkin’

I misplaced a lot of stuff this weekend. Between my natural inclination towards clutter and my inability to see so well, I was a mess, I was useless, I was a waste of space!

Does any of that sound familiar to you? Sure does to me. I do quite a bit of negative self talk. It is especially true when I am frustrated with myself and/or life in general.

According to the Psychologydictionary.org, negative self-talk is the expression of thoughts or feelings that are counterproductive and have the effect of demotivating oneself. In other words, negative self-talk does nothing positive for you, makes you feel like crap, and robs you of the energy and will to do anything productive.

I also find it really black-or-white thinking. When I was berating myself about being an absolutely worthless creature, capable of doing nothing right this past weekend, I conveniently forgot I had exercised, taken care of the dog, done the laundry and the dishes, scrubbed the kitchen floor, written a page or two, etc. All I saw was how I kept losing things (make that in reality two things) and being a HOPELESS case!

Are you listening to me?!? You really don’t have to listen to me rant, but Reachout.com, a work by our Aussie cousins, suggests you listen to yourselves. You cannot fix something you are not aware of and negative self-talk, in the local jargon, “needs fixed”. (Still trying to figure out why they don’t like “to be”. They are such inoffensive little words!) [Lin/Linda here: Sue is referring to areas of the country where rather than saying what is grammatically correct “needs to be fixed”, people say “needs fixed”.  It just so happens that it is what we both grew up with in Western Pennsylvania (me) and Central Pennsylvania (Sue). I’ve also heard it in areas of the South.]

Reachout.com also suggests you monitor what you are saying to yourself and change it!

After all, most people would not talk to their worst enemy the ways they talk to themselves. The world could use a bit more kindness and civility, even when it is directed towards oneself.

So we are back to refute and re-frame, wonderful words in psychology. For example, I could have told myself I was not worthless. I did some housework and was a loving mother to the Beastie. Walkies are just about the best thing! While there was some reality in my saying I was a screw-up, the majority of the evidence did not suggest I was useless, worthless or hopeless. I looked at reality and refuted my negative statements.

Then there is putting things in perspective, a re-framing skill. My father used to tell me my bumps and scrapes would be “better before you get married”. Same idea. Is this problem going to scar you for life? Will you be able to laugh at it later? Or learn something? Or profit anyway at all?

Lastly, Reachout.com suggests you use goal-directed thinking and see if there is anything you can do to solve the problem. Is this way of thinking helping? If not, how do I get out of it?

One thing I do, that may sound a little crazy, is try to build a chain of little successes. Not doing an accursed thing right? Put a clean dish (make sure it is clean! No sense making yourself feel worse!) in the cupboard. You have now done something right. Then go and put your shoes away. That’s two and you are on a roll!!!

It is easy to get down on yourself. Trust me. I know. Try to be aware of negative self-talk. Refute it. Re-frame it. Be kind to yourself.

Written 7/13/2016

Next: Good Enough

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2 thoughts on “Stinkin’ Thinkin’”

  1. Wow, you really hit home with me today. I feel so useless and alone with my problems. I am working on using mail delivery for my “needs” so I won’t be calling on my daughter so much. Generally once a week for groceries and prescriptions. She works 5 days a week and will start doing 6 days in Jan. so her off time is valuable. Depression is hard to deal with any time but with the loss of sight it is a little bit worse. Keep on encourageing all of your “friends” with hope. Oh, by the way, I am 83 yrs old and worked for 36 yrs as a manager so I should be able to kick my own rear into gear. Ha ha.

    Thanks again, Phyllis Good

    1. Lin/Linda here. Thank you for your comment. In addition to Sue’s terrific pages, we have a Facebook group where we can share information in a more interactive way. There are folks there who help each other make it through the tough days and celebrate the good ones. Come join us!

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