The Voice Within: 5 Defeating Messages
Licensed professional’s would typically agree at some point that there is a certain process in which the human mind attempts to manage, categorize and create. I personally think this is part of the design that we are made to be and points to a definitive pattern or template that every life has in that we want to make order out of chaos.
I found an article that touched on this for me in that it talked about how we need to understand how our self talk is defeating and creates ongoing messages that send out emotional distress to our internal and external network.
Positive psychology would indicate to ignore the negative and focus on the thinking that brings pleasure. Perhaps that is something that works for a time, but I have found that it is a temporary fix for things that have deeper causes and concerns.
So in the article 5 Things You Need to Stop Telling Yourself by Kathleen Smith, PhD LPC the article focused on 5 internal messages that are common to a lot of thinking that I hear from some of my clients. The 5 things were:
I must be loved by everyone at all times.
I must be successful at everything.
I must be upset by things I fear.
I must avoid all conflict.
I must have control over everything.
I kind of got excited about seeing these concepts because I remember how some of these things are easily refuted and we would go over these things repeatedly in training.
I know this is a little geeky of me. But this is what spurred my attention and helped me remember in my own thoughts that I need to make sure to pay attention to and watch my internal dialogue.
How this relates to a counselor you might ask? Some of you would believe that we have it all together… well news flash… I work on these things too.
I struggle with wanting to be loved just like most of my human kind. I know it’s one of the things within us that really is a drive. The desire for love. SO much research has been had on this topic in its various levels and forms. In Kathleen’s approach she takes a look at how much this “MUST” creates an imbalance.
In the end I have found the most peace with the thought that my love tank empty or full is really crying out for intimacy with my Creator and the longing that I have was specifically put there by Him as a way to know that I need Him.
When I look to human relationships, they never seem to satisfy, because they are imperfect. But even in their imperfection they mimic or are a dimly lit form of what a true and clear image of who and what He is when I can see the Hope of the Creator within the other being. When I am able to focus on the good within them that is not self serving, I can see their value differently than if I was longing for them to fulfill some need within me.
When I understood this, then the understanding increased a dim glimmer of hope that there is a source of truth and perfection who loves me, and is infallible, rich and compassionate with this love. Sure I am fallible. I fail all the time, but if I focus on His infallibility and His love of service He did for me of literally dying to self, then I don’t have to be a works based, hyper active doer of good toward all because I am seeking to fix some internal working I don’t have within me. Don’t get me wrong. Doing good to all is still good. I am really pointing at challenging the fear within me that if I am not perfect then I am un-loveable. This is far from the Truth.
Tapping into the resource of being loved by Holiness is hard to fathom for most. I am still working on it daily, but its depth is profoundly moving and secure when I do attend to its love. I have strength when I am nothing. When I get out of the way. When I choose to bend my focus back to the One who matters. I am safe. Thank you! Almighty God.
This idea is something that challenges me, but in the real stillness, I shrug my shoulders as I acknowledge it’s an impossibility to fully achieve. What I think of success now is simply that I am successful at not being successful. So many of us are striving for purpose from perfection, and it’s such a rat race that does not satisfy.
I have worked at being so many different things and different situations in life only to have the variables twist, turn, and change. I am really talking about the jobs that somehow come and go because I attempted to control my environment and each time this happened I would find myself brimming over with tears and pain of an internal voice that would say seem to scream - SEE I TOLD YOU SO!!! I TOLD YOU YOU’RE NOT ENOUGH AND I WAS RIGHT…
…or maybe the silence that seems to drip in relationships that no longer connect is the harshest. No calls, no texts, no invitations, just me weeping at the disconnect and loneliness that seems to haunt. After a while it seems to take on a life inside as though there becomes a belief that I am untouchable epitomized and I am too broken to be associated with or any other version of negative expletive that you can imagine which seems to invade and paralyze.
When encourager’s are sought out, some would throw it back in my face that maybe I just don’t know enough. Maybe I need to work harder. Maybe it’s not quite the gifting you are needing or expressing the right way but for a small fee…, or keep trying, you’ll make it… or have you prayed about it?
Well to this, I don’t have to listen to the perfection in my mind. I don’t have to fear the terror by night that keeps me awake. I know I am not successful at everything because I can remember how the tears welled up in my spouses eyes when my tongue was slicing through the air, or my child who is running from my angry voice to cower in the coat tails of its mother. I can recall being asked to come to the office and finding out it was the last day that I would ever see the office.
But these are all versions of success that are based on some outward trapping or that I have more resources than so and so. Well, however many toys you have will be handed down to those who are left behind when your very breath is taken from you and most likely not taken care of or cherished like you cherish that part of your identity.
Ecclesiastes 4 written by the wisest man who ever lived, seems to summarize the pursuit of success or advancement and notes…
Eccles. 4:16 …this too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Do I really have to be upset of fearing what you will think of me if I don’t write about being afraid of fear… Nah. I’ll let you wonder what I am afraid of… because there are things that I can fear, but fear itself is a useful emotion to me to drive me toward safe.
Because really this isn’t anything to be afraid of either. Conflict when done well is the effort of 2 people to be heard and to believe that the other person is loving, wanting the others best and wanting to work out the pain as much as you want to work it out.
When true selfishness enters the picture, with an attitude that winning is the only way, conflict takes on a whole different context and meaning. This sounds like
“I let you hurt me for too long and so I am going to be your Judge.”
“You can do whatever it takes as long as I benefit from your work, and your going to pay for every mistake or pain you caused me.”
“I’ll stay as long as it takes to get you back, or make you miserable, and upon your misery, I will declare victory.”
This is so painful to watch where people won’t take a moment to hear how much their effort to control their own pain by lashing out in desperation to attack their relationship ends up slicing their own hearts even deeper and causing the very life to drain out of a relationship that was so beneficial to both partners. All due to selfishness instead of selflessness.
Sounds like a cartoon character that is power starved. “I seek DOMINATION!”
For what purpose?
As I was writing the thought - “to kill and destroy” - came into my mind…
John 10:10 says the following…
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
I don’t know about you, but I think I am wanting the latter half of that verse rather than experiencing the first half. It speaks to to me of how Christ came to surrender his perfect life so I might have life and the next verse in context indicates that very thought…
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
This message is so contrary to the “get yours” that I hear in so much of American society. I pray for strength to lay down my own desire for fame, riches, or knowledge, and begin to see where I can lay down my whole self so that those around me will know of their value.
These are the thoughts that have just poured out today, and tomorrow I know that there might be more or a wonder if I was just exposing too much or if there was something that I missed. Bottom line I think is to challenge my “must” language because my “musts” don’t create anything but a sense of defeat and emotional pain.
I pray you experience freedom and life in the one thing that will satisfy and get you into Heaven. In Jesus Name Amen.
If this post was something you deal with too and are still struggling with it, I’d love to take the time to get to know you more if you are in the area of the country that I live in. I work with lots of people who need the space, time and ears to be understood and heard. From different areas of North Texas is where many come to visit with me. You can call and let me know your wanting to get on my appointment schedule, or even sign up on my calendar online. I hope to hear from you soon. 972-716-3841