A while ago I got an e-mail with an opportunity I felt was pretty intriguing; be part of a “book tour.”
A company called Women On Writing was featuring an author named Chynna Laird (he lastest book is called “White Elephants) who was offering guest posts to help inspire and educate those who may have a similar story.
After reading the description of “White Elephants,” I absolutely could not pass this up…
“…a remarkable story of abuse, survival, and her triumphant recovery into becoming a healthy, well adjusted wife and mother…It offers hope that, no matter where you come from, life is what you make it.”
I may not want to be a mother, but I sure do need some hope, and I definitely want to triumph in my journey to get well!
I replied back with an immediate YES and asked if she would be willing to contribute something on negative self-talk, since that is one of my biggest obstacles when it comes to doing the right thing in recovery. WOW confirmed and the date was set!
I will be reflecting more upon this piece next week when I return from my little “break,” but I hope you can get as much out of this as I did.
Change Those Mental Tapes:
Overcoming Negative Self-Talk
When you live in an environment that is abusive, life is unpredictable. You don’t have that conscious choice of what happens to you or when. Someone else makes your decisions for you. After awhile, you actually start believing what that person is saying or that the horrific way you’re being treated is deserved. Those are what I call ‘mental tapes’.
Mental tapes are statements we record then repeat to ourselves over and over. When you are abused, those tapes are filled with negative statements like, “You are stupid.” “You are ugly.” “You are worthless.” “You can’t ______.” Or such things are perceived from the way you’re treated. You might hear these tapes, and replay them, so often it becomes much easier to believe such words than those more positive things. But you have the power to change those tapes.
There are people around us who have gone through immeasurable trauma. Events that most of us can’t even imagine experiencing, never mind surviving. But these people make it through. How? By believing they’re worth fighting for. By believing in themselves.
Now I can’t stress enough that if you are still in the situation or with the person who is enforcing those tapes do everything in your power to change that now. Before taking any further steps to healing you need to realize and remove the source first.
Trust me, I know how difficult it can be removing that source. Mine was my mom and specific people I realized triggered the tapes to roll whenever I visited with them or spoke with them. But getting rid of that source is necessary in order to be able to have the fresh start you need and deserve. If you need help in making those initial changes, don’t be afraid to reach out.
Once you’ve taken the courageous move in removing the main source of your pain, you then need to continue on with that motion. I found there are four main steps one has to take in order to overcome the negative self-talk that holds us back from becoming who we’re meant to be. Each area has a bunch of baby steps involved that you take on as you build your inner strength. But the following are the general ideas.
The first step in changing those tapes is turning away from them. Believe me, I understand how hard it can be to ignore those negative thoughts after you’ve been bombarded with them for so long but you have the strength within you to do it. When they play or you catch yourself repeating them, turn to a positive distraction like reading, journaling, exercising, meditating or call a friend. Remember that those tapes only have as much volume as you allow them to have. The more often you turn away from them, the softer they’ll get.
The next step is remembering the good stuff inside of you. When those negative tapes have been allowed to play for a long time, we can’t always see past them. But all of that good inside of you is still there squashed flat under the weight of heavier self-damaging thoughts. I know how painful it can be to breath life back into those things but it gets easier over time. Start with just one thing, drawing strength from it, and turn to that when the negativity creeps in.
Next it’s important to surround yourself with people who are on the same path you are. You need that support to keep facing forward. My grandfather used to say to me, “You attract what you put out.” All that means is when we emit negativity, we attract it either with people who are also negative or those who take advantage of such people. If you maintain a positive outlook, putting that out to the world to see, that’s what comes back to you. And I can’t stress enough how important it is to have that positive support.
The final step in stopping those mental tapes is to clean out the rest of the toxicity in your life. You’ve had the courage and strength to separate yourself from the main source of those tapes. Now it’s important to eliminate all the other toxic elements that could be possible triggers to veer you off track. Do you have other addictions or stressors? Are there other people you’ve noticed stir up those old feelings? Are there certain foods or situations you’ve noticed that influence the way you think or see things? Those are toxins that you need to get rid of. Toxicity breeds toxicity and it’s hard enough keeping yourself on a positive path without having potential triggers lurking around.
It took me a long time to realize that nothing will completely erase what I went through all of those years ago. But despite everything and everyone, I was given the chance to go on. To me, that is such a precious gift and something I cling to whenever those negative tapes try starting up again. To those in the initial stages of the healing process, know that it does get better. As you get stronger, the tapes get quieter until they stay mute. Hold on to that hope.
If you want more information on Chynna, please check out her site, and definitely, DEFINITELY, remember her message of inspiration in times of need.
See you tomorrow with another special guest on perfectionism and creativity.
Happy Thursday 🙂