by Diane Wing, M.A.
Anger, depression, sadness, helplessness, and hopelessness are all exacerbated by using generalizations. These are statements such as, “I can’t do anything right,” “Everything in my life sucks,” “Everybody is stupid,” and “Nobody cares about me.” Challenging the veracity of these statements delivers you from suffering from the negative emotions they trigger.
The italicized words are the generalization, applied to the entire scope of the statement. When you take a hard look at how you talk to yourself, a pattern of generalizations emerge. This negative self-talk promotes lower-level vibrational patterns that serve to upset, demoralize, and demotivate. Instead, take apart the statement and see how much of it is true and how much of it doesn’t apply to reality.
For example, the statement, “I can’t do anything right,” is commonly used when you make a mistake or something doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped. There may be some things you’re not good at, but it’s unlikely that there is nothing you’re capable of doing right or well. In fact, making a list of specific things you do well goes a long way in challenging statements you make about yourself.
Even the smallest accomplishment counts on the list. For example, “I am great at organizing closets.” This may seem minor if this type of task comes easy for you, but many folks have disorganized closets and would love to have this ability. Take it a step further and include a statement about how this skill benefits yourself or someone in your household.
How about feeling like life has nothing good to offer. That word, nothing, is the key to plunging into a depressive episode. Instead, look around you with an objective eye. What are you grateful for? Do you love your pet and take joy in the relationship you have with him/her?
Think about what you like doing and make a pledge to balance the things that bother you with doing more of the things you enjoy. At the same time, list the specific things that you don’t like about your life and seek to change them. Make an actionable list of ways to shift the detriments.
If you feel like nobody cares about you, this could translate into feeling unlovable. Is that really, true, or could it be that some of your behaviors are off-putting or that you may be hanging out with people who don’t appreciate you? Depending on the answer, get some feedback about how others experience you or evaluate the types of relationships you attract. Patterns will come forth that point to the issue that needs to be addressed.
If you feel like everyone in the world is stupid and the way people behave makes you angry, think about what in particular you’re reacting to. Is it acts of judgment, hate, and prejudice? Is it the way you feel about the way people treat you in particular? Anger can be cathartic when the reason you’re angry is identified.
Understand what about that topic or person is triggering the anger and rephrase the statement accordingly. For example, “It makes me angry when you put me down,” in which case you can express that and set boundaries with that person or “Injustice upsets me,” and then ask yourself what you want to do about that particular injustice, if anything, or recognize that certain things are out of your scope of control.
Overall, rather than using all-or-nothing phrases, be specific about what is bothering you and recognize when the opportunity to make significant changes presents itself. Make your own door to enter into a new life and new way of being. You are a creator and have the power to create your ideal life.
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Copyright Diane Wing, all rights reserved