36. Regarding Self-care pt. 2


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Good Morning Families, today is Wednesday May 13th 2020 and it is now time for a moment of SEL.

Today we are looking at self-talk. Do you ever catch yourself talking to yourself? Do you ever hear your internal thoughts going by as words? Maybe you see them as pictures or scenes? Maybe you hear or see something really positive and helpful. Maybe it’s something that lifts you up, maybe it’s something that gives you the energy you need to go after a goal. Maybe it’s not helpful. Maybe is unpleasant. Maybe all of these happen for you at different times. Who knows? You do.

Self-talk is all about thoughts, that happen in some form, verbal or otherwise and either occur either with or without our direct awareness or intention. When there is awareness and intention to this type of thinking we would say it is conscious self-talk. When there is no intention or awareness of this type of thinking we would say this is unconscious self-talk. Self-talk can be positive, or it can be negative depending on what you do with it. Unconscious and conscious self-talk can take many forms but here are some of the more common styles or patterns, and remember, these could come in the form of words or images or both.

Maybe your talk or visualization could be described as rehashing. Rehashing is where you are playing a scene over again and again, like a loop. When you are rehashing you are not really adding new details and you are likely re-experiencing or compounding the emotions that were there before. If the scene that is being rehashed was pleasant, that may not be the worst thing, but often, it’s not pleasant and either way, you want to have the awareness of what you are doing.

Maybe you're blaming. That would usually accompany some type of hurt. In blaming our self-talk revolves around assigning blame to someone or something for causing us that hurt.

Maybe you are catastrophizing. That’s when you are thinking the worst possible “what if” or even the worst possible, “I wish he would” regarding a future, situation or outcome. This definitely accompanies unpleasant feelings. I mean the word catastrophic is being used so, yea.

Maybe it’s rehearsing. That would be running a potential scene over and over and practicing the just perfect thing to say or do. This is not inherently bad or good. Rehearsing for some act of kindness can be healthy. However, you’ll still want to recognize that you are doing it. Also, rehearsing can accompany catastrophizing, particularly when you are rehearsing for the next type of self-talk, aggrandizing.

Aggrandizing would be like creating a scenario whereby the status of your own power is increased and likely elevated above others. It’s important to see the difference between aggrandizing and self-efficacy. With self-efficacy you are using intention to see yourself as capable of doing something or reaching a goal. Aggrandizing is more of an appeal to the ego. This can often be a sneaky sidekick to rehearsing as you imagine your power increased over those who you feel have done you wrong. Now you get to say “Off with their heads.” It may be closer in emotional content to thoughts of revenge or vengeance or vendetta.

These thoughts may be happening with or without your full awareness and attention. So that’s our work for today. Try to recognize these thoughts.

Sometimes, when we run on habit, we may not even realize that our internal thinking, verbal or abstract may not be promoting wellbeing. For many students, this leads right into self-bullying. Often, I see students who the biggest bully they ever face is in the mirror. The unconscious self-talk, verbal or otherwise, can create or recreate hurtful things. But, here’s the great news, you can make a conscious choice to stop the cycle!

Step one, recognize it when it’s happening. Recognize your self-talk. That one step sometimes is all that is needed for breaking the cycle.

Once you recognize what’s happening, try giving what you are doing a label. That’s step two. Name it to tame it. Are you catastrophizing something? Are you rehashing? Are you blaming? Are you rehearsing? Are you aggrandizing? What a cycle!

If you find yourself doing any of these things, and you recognize your self-talk and you’ve labeled yourself talk, you may then want to replace yourself talk. This can come in many forms. You can give yourself a moment to feel proud that you have recognized your thinking. If you recognize this pattern and it carries with it some unpleasantness, you can use your awareness to offer some compassion which we’ll talk about on Friday, to the emotions you may be experiencing. You could try to validate your feelings, the same way you would to a hurting friend or child, by recognizing them.

Maybe you could try saying to yourself something like this. “Wow, it sounds like you are hurting. Makes sense that you are saying these things.” “I would probably feel the same way if…” Once your feelings are validated in whatever language you would use, you could then try to offer yourself some balancing information. Maybe the catastrophic thinking is related to fear, maybe you could calm that fear by offering a helpful perspective. There are many ways to help. In fact, there is a thing called Cognitive Behavior Therapy. It has science behind it. Though the process of it has been around for thousands of years, the most current and therapeutic use comes to us from Arron Beck and you can visit him and his work at www.beckinstitute.org.

And I encourage you to do so. We will actually be talking more about this on Friday. But for the rest of today I want to leave you with 3 songs.

First, the song Television by the band Idles starts with this line, “If someone talked to you, the way you talk to you, I’d put their teeth through. Love yourself.” Here’s a snippet.

Pretty good call out if you are saying things to yourself that aren’t helpful.

Second, the pre-chorus on Kendrick Lamar’s song Real asks the question each time it comes around, “But what love got to do with it when you don't love yourself?” Here’s a snippet.

Dang, great question to be asking. Promotes some deep thinking.

Third, A Quien Le Importa by Thalia. The line “Mi destino es el que yo decido El que yo elijo para mi” or “My destiny is what I decide, what I chose for me”. That’s some positive self-talk for sure, it says you get to choose who you are. Hear a snippet.

Of course, there’s always some positive self-talk from Lady Gaga. And though Born This Way will always come up first I would prefer her song Hair. Mainly because the late, great Clarence Clemons is playing a sax solo on that track. Oh, and its uses hair as a metaphor for self-love through self-expression.

I hope you enjoy the music. We look forward to connecting with you in whatever way we can tomorrow. Until tomorrow, may your thoughts and feelings be with you.

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