Jan 20, 2010

TRULY SPEAKING: 4 Basic Types of Self-Talk

Summary: What happens in our bodies—and to the world around us—when we ignore or suppress our feelings is often quite unpleasant. When we short-circuit the process of acceptance, we don't do ourselves or anyone around us any favors. You can break down the way you're feeling into 4 basic categories to help yourself gain more self-awareness and eventual acceptance.

So, your co-worker got credit for the job you did again. Big deal. Happens all the time. At least you're still employed. ... Right?

Then why are you sighing and slamming the stapler? Why did you snap at your spouse and yell at your kids to "just shut up already!" yesterday—when you already knew this same old work scenario was about to play out today? Why did you wake up this morning with a tension headache, knowing you'd been grinding your teeth at night? If you've accepted this as "just the way things are," why isn't your life working out the way you want it to, even outside of work?

My suspicion is that you're lying to yourself.

*Gasp!* You, lie?? You're an honest person. In fact, it's your honesty—the fact that you keep giving credit to all your team members, even though you're the one pulling all the weight—that keeps getting you overlooked at the office. You even saw this pattern playing out before it happened again, so lying just can't be the problem.

Here's what I have to say to that: You may see the situation for what it is externally, but you're not facing up to what you feel about it on the inside.

While you say to yourself things like, "That's just the way things go here," and "there's nothing I can do about it, so I might as well accept it," another part of you is simmering away with unspoken (or unacknowledged) thoughts like, "I am so mad!"; "this isn't fair"; "that suck-up doesn't deserve any of the credit that I do." Do you see the problem here? You're squelching your own voice before you even admit your feelings to yourself!

Coming to terms with any negative life experience is an important means to accepting who you are and where you are. But it's a process—and to skip over any part of that process shuts it down completely. Take a moment RIGHT NOW to write down how you're feeling. Then categorize the thoughts you're having into one of the four categories:

SAD or

(NOTE: If your thoughts fall into multiple categories, this is completely normal.) These are the basic sentiments that house all the other emotions. (Hint: "That suck-up doesn't deserve any of the credit that I do" would fall under "MAD.") How are you talking to yourself in your head right now?

© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2010

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