I was having a refreshing beer with my Long Lost Cousin, when he said:
“Lately, I’m talking to myself constantly. Sometimes I wonder if I’m going nuts!”
“Is your self-talk negative or positive?”
My cousin went silent. He was lost in his thoughts.
“Mostly negative, I’m afraid.”
“Relax cousin, I’ll try to sort you out. Bartender, give us two more beers, please.”
“We all talk to ourselves, it’s our internal monologue. What we say to ourselves in response to external situations determines our moods and makes us feel good or miserable!”
“I get so up tight over daily events, I could spit nails!”
“Give me an example, cousin.”
“Well, the other day, I was giving my opinion on some subject, I can’t remember what it was, now. But the bloke I was talking to started telling me how wrong I was, etc. He was nice about it, but I got up tight. How dare he make me out as an idiot. It stopped me from expressing my opinions for a while. I would panic and get anxious and think I’m an idiot!”
“You see cousin, your self-talk reacted negatively to his criticism. It could have been interpreted as constructive criticism. You took it as destructive. It was your interpretation that was giving you anxiety.”
My cousin smiled, and said:
“I even went to a fortune teller and asked about my bad thinking habits and anxiety. She said, it will continue for a year.”
“Then what, you’ll learn to control your self-talk?”
“No, she said, after a year, I’ll just get used to it!”
“Very funny! But the fact is people who suffer from panic attacks and anxiety are prone to engage in negative self-talk.”
My cousin drained his glass of beer very quickly. I still had half a glass left.
“Bartender, give my cousin another beer.”
He stared at the refilled glass of froth and said:
“Sometimes, I feel so powerless and helpless in situations. Almost like I’m a victim of external events. It’s a disturbing feeling. I feel like life is a terrible struggle!”
“My friend, you have some very destructive beliefs. And you keep telling yourself these negative things.”
LLC took a long swig of beer.
“I feel I can’t control my life.”
“See cousin, it’s your wrong interpretation of your human condition. You have to see things differently!”
“What can I do to change my negative beliefs?”
“You need to use some affirmations that counter your mistaken ideas about things.”
Now, I needed another beer!
“Well, lets see, counter “I feel powerless.” By “I’m responsible and in control of my life.” Counter “ I am a victim of externals”. By “Circumstances are just what they are, but I can choose my attitude toward them.”
“I think I’m getting it now. It’s all in the interpretation and my reaction to events.”
“You’ve got it, my friend, you’ve got it!”
Then, a beautiful woman sat on the stool next to my cousin and whispered in his ear. “I’ll do anything you want for 50 bucks!”
He gave her the 50 dollars and said:
“Here…go paint my house!”