Sunday, July 18, 2010

Do You Play Musical NST with Friends and Family?

Caroline, the oldest of three similar-looking middle-aged sisters, all smart, self-aware, and long-time, experienced negative self-talkers, tells a story about the siblings’ shared habit. The pattern developed over decades, unplanned but predictable. Any one of the sisters would start by putting herself down, while the other two jumped in rapidly to reassure her that none of her self-criticism was true. In fact they would comment that the negative self-talker was smarter, prettier, thinner, more talented, funnier than the reassuring sisters. One of the reassuring sisters then moved on to self-denigration, and the other two became the reassurers. The musical chairs continued with different sisters occupying different roles as the pattern played on.

 The three were looking at recent photographs, when the middle sister, JoAnne, said to the youngest, “You said I looked great in these pictures. How could you say that? Look at my fat cheeks. Uck! And my hair looks terrible. I look fat and matronly.” Alert for the usual volley of disagreement and reassurance, she faced an awkward pause instead. Then Caroline said, “JoAnne, you’re pointing at the picture of me, not you. You’re saying all those nasty comments about me, not you.” A moment of shock followed, then a jolt of laughter. Suddenly they confronted the ridiculous ritual that the negative self-talk habit had generated. JoAnne would never have been critical about Carolyn’s appearance. Because she thought the photo was of her, not JoAnne, she reflexively jumped into negative self-talk mode.

A bad habit — shared by many American women who engage in the common, harmful negative self-talk habit; a consistent pattern of frequent, often automatic, critical inner monologues. “I’m a loser.” “How stupid was that move?” “I never handle these situations the way I should.” “I look like a blimp.” We allow it to rule our thoughts and feelings, to take over our common sense and self-worth, to misdirect our behavior. If you do it, you're wasting time and energy, self-esteem and productivity.

Time to get a grip and dump the NaSTy habit. Stay tuned or read back to the beginning for more info, suggestions, clarification!
Do You Play Musical NST with Friends and Family?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

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