I HAVE A CHALLENGE managing my ongoing internal monologue. This particular difficulty often happens at the end of the day, especially following the moments after I turn the lights off, lay my head down, and close my eyes before going to sleep. With my senses dulled, a loud, tedious, long-winded monologue starts running through my mind often re-living the day's interactions, scorning my behavior, or even commenting on how I look, leaving me overwhelmed, anxious, and sometimes sleepless. This voice delivers a continuous internal commentary that, after I hear it over and over, I start to believe it's true, and it affects how I feel and has an effect on how I behave. I painfully listen to how I embarrassed myself, sorrowed by what I should have done, and disgusted by how sloppy I'm starting to look, and then I proceed to make life-altering decisions that prove the statements accurate. I am and have always been my own worst enemy.
Rejecting Bad Advice
I quit my project, contaminate my relationship, isolate myself and, in general, keep my self short of the feeling of real happiness felt from success. I have experienced people that do not understand me or think me unworthy, but I would never let them speak to me this way nor would I advise a friend to act this way and make these choices. I have never had much of a problem removing individuals from my presence who do not appreciate my personality. Nor have I ever had a problem being kind to myself. Honestly, in every sense of the word, I can be my own best friend; I always want to do what I want to do, feel the way I feel, and laugh at all my jokes. And even though I do not want to silence the voice totally, I can manage more control over what is said by reflecting the qualities of a good friend and not dwelling on useless negative comments, reminding myself of the point, and allowing myself the enjoyment of accomplishment. I know what it means to be a friend to others.
Being A Better Friend
Now when I hear that voice going dark, I try to ask myself what I would I say to my best friend; advice often the opposite of what I was thinking. I also take note of how often these statements are running through my mind. Is it obsessive, neurotic, or just mean? Am I reacting to the particular issue or a series of other minor events? I try to replace the statement with a positive one. No unicorns or leprechauns here, but rather instead of “I hate this”, and “I don't want to do this” to “is this so awful” and “are there things I can learn”. I will often ask myself to define the point. If the goal is to get along, then issues of wrong or right or the idea to quit are moot. Making this my habit alleviates my anxiety, calms the voices and ultimately changes my behavior. I find myself waiting an hour before sending that reactionary email, taking a deep breath before having a conversation, and going for a walk before doing the job. Stopping the useless monologue before I go to sleep, replacing it with positive thoughts helps keep me from standing in my way. I am going to try to speak to myself as my own best friend. JMP