Throwing around negative words about myself makes me feel like a magician sometimes. One minute the derogatory comment is there and then POOF! I’ve moved the listener on to the next trick that’s so twinkly and bright, they don’t even realize what’s happened. I’ve become quite good at it actually, this art of being negative. The funny thing is, until recently I wasn’t even aware I was doing it.
When I first decided that I was going to work on my mental health – in particular, my, ahem……self-loathing, it was solely because it was brought to my attention front and center. After my mother was struck by a hit-and-run driver last July, I began going to therapy. After the first few sessions, my therapist wanted to know if I was aware that I put a negative ‘spin’ on comments when I spoke. No, I said. I try to be a positive person. I know fully well that things could always be worse. However, as I continued to talk she’d interrupt me over and over again – pointing out every time I used the words couldn’t, don’t, can’t, shouldn’t, and won’t. With every positive phrase I tried to say, a negative word or phrase would quickly follow. By the time I left, I was so frustrated – so borderline furious that my sentences were being monitored and critiqued it left me emotionally drained for days afterward.
Being made aware was the easy part, let me tell you. Changing the way one communicates however, is like being told that from this moment forward you no longer speak your native tongue. Now, you must suddenly speak German or Italian. No more English for YOU.
I didn’t want to feel like a hypocrite, and I certainly didn’t want to be ‘that’ person who mentally drains everyone around her because she ‘sucks all of the good energy right out of a room’. It’s funny, because I always thought I was a glass is half full kind of gal. I guess I never took the time to notice that it was hall full all right, but not of water; rather some cloudy, stagnant version of water.
Have you ever heard of the phrase, ‘Good deeds begin at home?’ That is where I decided to start – at home; in my head where all of those sour little thoughts lie in waiting; where negativity breeds. How do I emit positive energy if I refuse to give any to myself? I have to believe positive things about myself first before I can start incorporating that kind of behavior throughout the rest of my life.
I’m tired. I can’t fake it anymore. This is where the challenge begins.