Do you ever have a day when you had high hopes for something, and it all went the wrong way? Do you ever feel like whatever you try to do turns out just plain wrong? Do you have a voice inside your brain that says you are fat, stupid, ugly, incompetent, disorganized, hopeless, unworthy, and useless?
Then does eating badly take those feelings away? Make it stop hurting for a few moments at least? Take the edge off the pain?
Then do you feel guilty about eating? Tell yourself you have no will power? “How stupid could you be? When will you ever learn? And the voices from before come back again at an alarming rate?
Take a deep breath (or SEVERAL) and come back to here and now, today. This is your moment and the only moment you have. Notice that you can step back from the thoughts.
What is recorded here are called Automatic Negative Thoughts. Do you see how they repeat themselves over and over? Do you notice that often the pronoun “you” is used? So, who is speaking? If I were speaking to myself, would I not use the pronoun “I”?
And if someone else is speaking, who is the person speaking? And who is listening? And do you notice how that “other than you” voice always leads you to abusive or self-destructive behaviors?
We do not have 100% control of these negative thoughts. But we CAN respond to them. We do not have to invite them to share a cup of tea and stay awhile. We do not have to obey them. We can tell them to LEAVE. We can tell them we won’t continue listening to them. We can call someone who loves us and ask for reassurance. We can read a nourishing book. We can pray.
One of my favorite tools is to imagine myself sitting by the side of a stream with someone who loves me. Even with my Higher Power. I can talk with my friend about the things that are floating down the stream. I can watch them tumble and roll and splash. But I do not need to get in the stream with them. I can just watch them float on by.
Many years ago, I read a book called “What to Say When You Talk to Yourself”. The book has been quoted and repeated in a number of other places and writings. What the book said was, that whatever I say to myself is what my subconscious mind thinks I want; my subconscious mind turns it into its job to bring those things into my life. So, if I think depressed thoughts I get more depressed. If I think about money and fear I won’t have enough money for the bills, at the end of the month, there isn’t enough money for bills. If I ruminate on chocolate chip cookies, a “loving” coworker brings them into the office.
The book asked me to make a list of five positive sentences. Present tense. Believable. “I am a good and decent woman and I am doing the best I can.” “I work hard and I am good at my job”. “I am determined to learn to use the computer effectively.” (That’s my current favorite!) “I am beginning to eat abstinently.”
A part of my mind listens. Depak Chopra calls it “the Observer”. This is the real Theresa. The person I truly am. This good healthy, caring part of me needs to take charge and make the decisions for my life. This is the part of me that knows what foods and food behaviors are good for me, and which are the result of past times. This is the part that can lead you to who you want to become. Let that part decide what to do.
My favorite spiritual teacher, Wayne Dyer, said that we should pay close attention to what we say to ourselves in the last five minutes before we fall asleep at night. Our subconscious mind will marinate on those ideas for the rest of the night. So, pay attention to what goes into your subconscious mind at night. Make it be what you want to see growing in your life.
And pay attention to what thoughts you allow to take over your mind. Let them be good and healthy and lead you to the life you really want.
Take the actions that “The Observer” wants you to take. Do not allow the negative thoughts to control your actions. (even if I DO want to strangle him, I am not allowed!). Find the choices that lead you to health and happiness.
These are likely to be new behaviors, and difficult. Calling for help. Prayer. Exercise. Sleep. Meditation. Healthy food. Laughter. Decluttering. MD’s. Bill paying. Saying No, thanks. Drawing boundaries. Respecting others’ boundaries. Making a list of things you are grateful for. Sunshine. Rain. Flowers. Smiles. Even computers!
May you be rewarded with the life you dream of, or parts of it!
Let us know how you are making it! Tell us when you need help! Were these suggestions helpful to you? Was someone else’s suggestion something you want to share?
Tell me what your critical inner voice is saying. We would love to help counteract that voice. What would be helpful to you?
Blessings to you,