Posts Tagged With: critical voice

Day 331: Preparation

Yesterday, I bravely (if I do say so myself) volunteered to give another presentation about my therapy groups.

Unexpectedly, the presentation will be a week from today.

I’m glad it’s only a week away.  Less time to prepare, less pressure for me.

Now, I have to prepare for the presentation.  

Except I really don’t have to prepare.  It’s a topic I know enough about, for sure.

I know more than my audience knows.*

As a matter of fact, I know a lot more than that.   How could I not?  I do the groups four times, every week.  Also, they are my passion.

I’m sure I will have enough to say about them.

So really, what do I need to prepare?

Nothing. I just need to show up, with a prop or two.

In the past, there’s another way I have prepared for presentations. I’ve worried about them. I’ve imagined a negative outcome. In other words,  I’ve had cognitive distortions about:

  • What could go wrong.
  • People thinking I suck.

Hmmm. That about covers it.

I think I can forego that aspect of the preparation, this time.

What data do I have to support letting go of worry — doing it differently — this time?

I have good data for that. That is, every other time I’ve done a presentation this year about the same topic, it has gone very well.

Actually, I’ve rocked.**

So there’s no reason to expect that I will do anything except rock, this time.

I mean, I’m sure that my critical voice could come up with lots of arguments for why THIS TIME will be different. For example ….

This is a different audience. You haven’t done a presentation for several months.  The past is not necessarily a predictor of the future. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

This is what I would like to say to my critical voice this morning:

Image

Just to make sure my critical voice hears that, here’s a hundred more (viewer discretion advised):

I think that should hold my critical voice, for the week until my presentation.

So here’s a prescription —  an antidote — for myself, this morning:

Rx:  For one week, administer “Shut Ups”, PRN***.

Before I end this post, I want to write about preparing for one more thing:

Thanksgivukkah.

I just looked for a definition of “Thanksgivukkah” on-line, and this is what I found, from livescience.com.

It’s a once in more than 70,000-year event: The first day of Hanukkah this year coincides with Thanksgiving.

As I wrote in an e-mail to my cousin Lani, a while ago:

I’m not sure what we are doing for Thanksgivukkuh.  Trying not to feel the pressure of 70,000 years.

That concludes today’s blog post, my dear readers.

Thanks to my family,  The Moderate Voice and mewlists.com (for the “Shut Ups!”), to preparers and thanks-givers everywhere, and to you — of course! — for reading today.

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* Years ago, my sister told me that helpful definition of a good-enough teacher.

** I’ve already linked to this same post about bragging, but what the hell.

** Pro Re Nata (Latin), meaning “take whenever needed.”

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Day 317: Challenging Negative Messages

Yesterday, in a therapy group, we did an exercise where we challenged negative messages.

As I tell people, I have yet to encounter a human mind that does NOT generate negative, self-critical messages, like these:

You’re too selfish.

You’re not smart enough.

Why try anything?  You’ll  fail again.

You are weird.

You are worthless.

Arrghh!  I hate writing those messages. And whenever I do this exercise in group, I hesitate to invite critical messages, because they are SO painful and toxic.

But every time I invite these messages in, we have a chance to look at them anew.  And challenge them.

Here’s how the exercise works:

People think of some familiar critical messages. Then, a group member is chosen to be the voice of a critical message, repeating that message over and over again.  Other members can challenge that message, however they choose.

For example:

Critical Messager  You’re too selfish.

Challenger:  I am NOT too selfish!

Critical Messager:  You’re too selfish.

Challenger: What you call selfishness is just me taking care of myself.

Critical Messager:  You’re too selfish.

Challenger:  I am SO SICK of you telling me that. That doesn’t help me.

Critical Messager: You’re too selfish.

Challenger: I am no more selfish than anybody else.

Critical Messager: You’re too selfish.

Challenger: What about all the times I haven’t been selfish??

Critical Messager: You’re too selfish.

Challenge: My friend says I’m not selfish enough.

Critical Messager: You’re too selfish.

Challenger:  SHUT UP!!!

I personally LOVE doing that exercise, because I usually  get to yell, in a socially acceptable way.

Some things I notice, whenever a group does that exercise:

  1. People do NOT want to be somebody else’s Critical Messager.  They say, “I don’t want to say that horrible thing to somebody!”  (This gives me the opportunity to invite them to apply that kindness to themselves.)
  2. In response to  challenges, the Critical Messager usually changes tone — softening, hesitating, even stopping.
  3. People often express gratitude for the exercise, when it’s over.

If you don’t have a group of people on hand, you can still do a form of that exercise, by:

  1. Writing down a critical message.
  2. Challenging that message, in as many ways as you can.

I just looked for an image to support that, through Google, and this is what I found:

challenging-negative-thinking

Thanks to ExpertsMind.com, for that.

Ending messages, for this post:

Negative messages are like any other bad habit.  Practice, practice, practice changes.

And support helps, too.

Thanks to role-players everywhere, critical thinkers, habit-breakers, and to you, especially,  for reading today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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