By Laurie Raymond, MSC, LAC
It might sound a little bit “Stuart Smalley---Saturday Night Live-ish” but it could not be more true - If we are not our own best friends, who will be? As I have worked with clients in Mesa AZ in counseling, I have seen a variety of life hardships that can become overwhelming. If we don’t speak kindly to ourselves and remind ourselves daily of all that we have accomplished, and all that we are, ESPECIALLY during stressful times, who else will? And by that token, is it really anybody else’s job anyway? No. It isn’t. We have to do it ourselves. We have to save ourselves. If we truly believe our souls are of infinite worth, and we should, then we’d better talk to ourselves like we do. This is not just light and fluffy feel good psychology. It’s empirically and scientifically proven that if we say good things to ourselves, we begin to feel better about who we are. It changes the brain chemistry and therefore, changes the thought patterns derived from that new brain network. It produces better feelings and consequently, better behaviors.
Here are some gems I’ve picked up along the way from my work in the industry. I’ve told me clients to put these thoughts on 3x5 cards and say them out loud before a stressful situation or when they’re feeling low. It won’t create a magical solution to problems, but it’ll help change the way you feel about yourself. And when you feel better about yourself, you can handle life’s challenges in a way that’ll make you feel more confident and experience more peace. And I can’t think of a soul out there who doesn’t want that.
When you feel stress spiraling out of control, tell yourself these things:
- There’s no need to doubt myself in this situation. What other people say does not matter. I’m the only person who can manage my emotions.
- I don’t need to prove myself in this situation. I can stay calm.
- As long as I stay calm, I am in control of the situation.
- I can feel my emotions escalating. It’s time to relax, slow things down and step away for a moment.
- I don’t need to feel threatened here. I can breathe, relax and stay calm.
- Nothing says I have to be strong and confident all the time. It’s OK to feel unsure or confused.
- I’m doing the best I can. Nothing says I have to do more than that.
- It’s impossible to control other people and situations. That’s not my reality. It’s theirs. The only thing I can control is myself and how I express my feelings.
- If people criticize me, I can handle that. I cannot, nor do I need to, please everybody.
- If someone wants to have a meltdown, I can choose to stay calm. Their behavior does not have to affect my own.
- It’s nice to have other people’s love and approval but even without it, I can still love and accept myself.
- Mistakes are OK. In fact, they’re better than OK. They mean I’m not afraid to learn.
- People are going to act the way they want to. Not the way I want them to and that’s OK.
- If I feel angry or sad, it must mean I’ve been hurt or scared and I should explore that in a safe environment with a friend or therapist.
These are just a few tips I’ve picked up along the way in counseling at my office in Mesa AZ, and as I said, I continue to practice them myself.
I’ve heard it said many times, the brain is just an organ and we can learn to control it. It takes practice. It takes patience. It takes a desire and commitment to change. But when we do, the results can be pretty amazing. Like finding a new best friend. And this time that friend is YOU! Now who could be a better, constant companion than that?
If you need help with life hardships, or would like a free 15-minute consultation with Laurie, please give us a call: 480-668-8301 or www.FamilyStrategies.org