As a Marriage Family Therapy Intern at The Well Community Church Counseling Center I spend much of my day hearing what an individual’s “self-talk” sounds like. Most people that end up in a Counseling room with me are struggling to understand their inner voice or self-talk. Self-talk includes our conscious thoughts as well as our unconscious assumptions or beliefs. These thoughts are so automatic we sometimes do not even have to think it before it happens. Our self-talk can be very reasonable, “I needed to be more prepared for the exam”, or unreasonable, “I am a loser and I am never going to pass the exam, I deserve to fail!” The unreasonable or maladaptive self-talk can keep us stuck.
Much of the self-talk I hear about is:
- I’m not good enough
- I’ll never amount to anything
- I’m just like my loser relative
- I can’t do anything right
Changing our “self-talk” is tough to do, especially if you have had negative influences in our lives. Many of us grow up with critical voices instilling doubt about our value and how we would be or turn out in the future. Our core beliefs are powerful and deep within us. The truth is, I know personally about negative self-talk. I was raised with an alcoholic father and a rage-oholic mother. I grew up with VERY negative comments directed at me that turned into my self-talk. My self-talk was unreasonable and created anxiety for me.
Feeling the unconditional love of my heavenly Father helped me tremendously
I did not realize how damaging my self-talk had become. Not until I became involved in a relationship with a man did I start to see the effect of the negative self-talk. I never felt “good enough” in any regard. I was anxious about everything and tried desperately to control situations that I had no control over. It has taken years of working with a great Christian Psychologist to help me change my self-talk. I’m so glad I put in the hard work. Now I can say I do not live with the shame and isolation I initially had, and my desire to be fully present and connected to those around me, allows me to be affirming and receptive to their needs.
I have been a Christ follower since I was 9 years old. And I believe feeling the unconditional love of my heavenly Father helped me tremendously. My self-talk as a believer in Christ sounds different. More like:
- I’m made in the image of God Genesis 1:27
- I was bought and paid for with a great price I Corinthians 6:20
- I belong to Christ 1 Corinthians 3:23
- Each day is new Psalms 143:8
To live in the light of the biblical truths above makes all the difference.
To live in the light of the biblical truths above makes all the difference. I am also very aware of feelings and my level of stress. I must challenge the lies and test my thoughts, and then I can make the effort and time to use my feelings as a cue to explore my thoughts. This helps me to be much more proactive in managing my self-talk. My prayer for those reading this blog is to believe in our true worth, even if we had or have negative voices speaking into our lives! Disciplining your mind will not only change the way you think, but in turn, will transform the way you live.
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