Do you ever hear yourself saying things like
- No one likes me.
- I don’t do anything right.
- Everyone hates me.
- I’m just a screw up.
- Nothing ever goes my way.
- I’ll never find anyone who will love me as I am.
- I’m always broke.
- I can’t quit smoking/lose weight/stop drinking.
- I’ll never be able to do that.
- I’m a total mess.
- ___ Insert your self-defeating statement here.___
I will admit. I always did that to myself and never looked at what was good about me.
What is wrong with that statement? I “always???” did that? I “never???” looked at what was good? Really?
Those are very black and white statements.
Words like always and never are very blanketing words. I am implying that I looked at only one side of the equation at all times.
To say something more correct (not to mention more loving towards myself), I can say that I have often spoken harshly about myself and that I have rarely looked at what was good but I am not a total failure as I implied with my “always and never” comments.
When I began changing the way I spoke to myself and tried using words that were more gentle, my view of myself as a TOTAL useless failure began to improve. Sure I made mistakes but every single thing I did wasn’t a mistake. Some people don’t like me… but some do. I can’t seem to lose more weight but I haven’t gained any either. I’m a total mess on some days but not on every day. Sure I am often broke… nope. I am always broke. 😉
In my not so distant past, I always felt very strongly that things were one way or another. There was very little middle ground. Then I met an occupational therapist that would put both her hands out in front of here like she was using her hands as a scale. She would raise one slightly then the other and say “Things do not have to be this or that. They can be either or both.” She was trying to encourage those of us in her classes to use more balance in our words and then with our thoughts.
Why do things need to be so black and white when there are a rainbow of options out there?
If you are having a bad day or even a bad week, does that mean you have a bad life? It doesn’t need to if you are willing to accept that life can be great and life can suck. Sometimes on the same day.
If someone is rude to you, must that mean that all people are arseholes? Sure some are, but not all.
Some people will be hateful, mean, angry, abusive, horrible, narcissistic, criminals, or a wide range of other negative personality traits but it is really important to always remind yourself that there are also good, kind, caring, thoughtful, law-abiding, compassionate people out there as well. One does not cancel out the other but they can balance each other out a lot.
In my life I was surrounded by a LOT of negative. It seemed as though terrible things happened every single time I turned around and to a far to large degree? That statement is correct. My mother was abusive and put me in to constant danger, my father ignored it, my siblings took part at times, teachers ignored the bruises, social workers came and left without so much as a raised eyebrow, a school councilor broke my trust and phone my mother to tell her about my “crazy stories”, a current day therapist really hurt me greatly and was more harmful than helpful… I have every reason to say that this world is a horrible place, people are terrible and I am not safe anywhere. I’ve seen the worst of the worst in humanity and no chipper blog can change any of that.
The kindness I have been shown by the people who read this blog has been incredible.
The programs and groups that are run to help the abused or the addicted can be found almost everywhere. I have to drive 2 hours each way to get to one but it is there.
There are an incredible amount of volunteers and some very underpaid workers that devote a lot of their time to whatever cause they believe in.
When a disaster strikes, whether caused by humans or by nature, people swarm together like bees to honey to help whomever they can.
There are some really crappy therapists but there are some really great ones too. Over this past year I have been blessed with a great one after more duds than I can count. The difference he’s made in my life is palpable.
Social workers did not hear my voice when I was young but they listen to me now in groups to find out what they missed, why they missed it and what they can look for in the future. Many of them truly care.
I can go on and on but the point is that there is positive out there to help balance the negative. We just have to make space for it.
So what if we all try to steer clear of those always and never statements and attempt to find a little more balance? Changing your words can change your world and the way you see it.
Life does not need to be either/or.
It can be either/and.