I’ve been spending a lot of time over the last few weeks watching Facebook forums designed to help people overcome struggle and emotional pain. Whilst I wholly acknowledge the awesome intentions of most of these groups, I was truly disturbed and upset by some of the concepts they were instilling into their people – specifically the idea of ‘powerlessness’.
Wow! In my game, understanding the untapped power you possess to change your self-talk, your mind and your life is EVERYTHING! If you are the master of your own destiny, you can steer it wherever you like, right? However, one particular group I was monitoring had 8,981 members so it must be doing something right, surely? I must be missing something. I decided to be patient and just listen.
I’m not saying there weren’t people who were feeling like they were winning over struggle but there was still herculean effort underneath their comments and they ALL talked about how many times they’d had to rise up from relapse. It was palpable. The motivation they had had to conjure up and keep hold of was immense. Why should it be that hard? How long can one, vulnerable human possibly sustain that? The reason was obvious, at least to me…
…these folks were being told that unless they admitted they had no power over their compulsive behaviour, they were going to get nowhere. That was the first alarm bell. Making a decision to accept you have no power (in any situation) is to shackle yourself. So how can that level of disempowerment be the way out of life long struggle? There’s no logic in that for me. “Realising you DO have power that you never understood before is what you need if you keep getting knocked down”, I screamed at the monitor! “Learn something new!” “Do something you’ve never done before and then you’ll find yourself somewhere you’ve never been” I cried. “Don’t listen! You have the power to INSPIRE yourself and to beat this crap forever, not just for a while!”
Eventually I had to withdraw from the group because the frustration just wasn’t good for me (as you can imagine). Trying to offer a challenge or a new perspective in a deeply disempowering culture taught me another lesson – you’re gonna have a bad day! The powers behind that kind of inflexible indoctrination will NOT LIKE YOU when you do that. Look, it’s their forum and I was asking for attack by questioning their ideas. I realise that. It was quite the learning curve, though.
It’s really made me think hard about the whole concept of ‘victim’. There are a lot of people with a lot invested in staying victims. If you are a powerless victim, then your suffering is not down to you. I’s not a happy place to feel victimized but for some, at least it’s familiar. No one wants to hear they are responsible for their own CURRENT suffering because the ego quickly takes over and it’ll interpret that as a BLAME statement and a criticism. IT’S NOT.
Let’s make that the first mental shift. You can be blameless but still responsible for keeping yourself in a suffering space. It doesn’t make you weak or bad in any way but understanding and accepting your part in it gives you POWER! The power to decide. The power to move and change. Once that happens, you’re half way there.
Creating helpful self-talk is an awesome place to start the power shift. What is more disempowering than constantly being told you are helpless and miserable, being bullied and badgered? We all know what that’s like when it comes from someone close to us but to have it within us 24/7 is just soul destroying. Make it stop! It’s not about thinking ‘happy thoughts’ or ‘snapping out of it’. That happens by itself when your self-talk is supportive. It’s about learning the deepest kind of self-awareness and making life EASY! Shift once and then forever only tweak! True story. Start with these simple steps for starting the process of learning how to uncover and rework your bullying inner voice:
Step 1: Just Listen
Ask yourself “What SPECIFICALLY am I telling myself about this?” and just listen. If you think you don’t have a voice talking to you all the time, drive around in your car and pay attention to all its chatter about red lights and stupid drivers. You’ll hear it loud and clear. Look in the mirror. It usually has plenty to say then too.
Step 2: Don’t stress or judge
For the purpose of this exercise there is no right and wrong thinking, there is no good and bad chatter. Just let it flow in and flow out without grabbing on to it. Pay attention and write statements down if that helps. You are a witness here, not a judge.
Step 3: Acknowledge your inner voice and thank it for trying to help you
At some stage, you have programmed your inner voice to talk this way. It may have been in response to staying in a comfort zone or to fit into a bad environment. That’s ok but it thinks it’s being helpful. Simply acknowledge that you get what it’s trying to do (even if you don’t) and thank it for trying to help you.
Step 4: Tell it you’re trying something new now
Now’s the time to be kind but firm. Let your inner voice know that it’s on an old programme. You have new goals now and you need it to help you in a different way. Remember, don’t tell it to shut up or be judgey about it. Just bring it up to speed.
Step 5: Give it a new script
Tell it what will be helpful. Give it some new dialogue. Have a chat. It really wants to learn, it’s just a bit slow. Tell it what you’d like to be hearing, the kind of things you might tell your kids or your best friend if they were struggling with your issues. Be patient. This takes much practice.
Step 6: In the case of excessive repetition, use humour and move on
Like a relentless child, there may be a time after you’ve given it its new direction to just say “Yeah, yeah, yeah, you said that already. Now go and take a chill pill”. Cut the deep emotional connection to this unhelpful talk and move forward. It’ll catch up, I promise 🙂
To learn more about this cool stuff and ask about your own situation, contact me via my website at www.angelabradleyonline.com
Hope to see you there!