At the top of the pandemic, I put a lot of pressure on myself to maintain productivity, home, and my friendships. Coupled with the nonstop bad news in the media, it didn’t take long for my mind to get ahead of me. With the world on hold, I’ve been spending a lot more time with my thoughts lately. Both the good, uplifting ones and the negative, hindering ones. When my brain is uplifting and validating who I am, it’s a glorious thing. But, the opposite position robs me of confidence, time and, even, energy.
I made the decision to restart therapy to help me unlock some self-compassion and address my anxiety. During our first session as I discussed who I was and my challenges, I unloaded a lot of statements that I believed about myself. Limitations that I’d come to accept as my truth.
Instead of going along with me, my therapist asked me, “Why do you believe that?” It was a simple question that stopped me in my tracks. I wasn’t kind enough to myself to challenge those negative self-beliefs, but I had someone in front of me who would. Thank God.
Coming out of that first session, I realized that I have to identify negative self-talk ASAP and deploy strategies to protect my mental. For me, the most impactful way I’ve found to disrupt a potential spiral is to immediately ask myself, “Is that true?”
The premise comes from one of my favorite scriptures. If you’re trying to control negative thoughts, Philippians 4:8 gives us the blueprint on where to focus our minds.
Does asking the question solve the problem forever? Well, no. I’m not perfect. The question doesn’t always remove all feelings of worry, sadness, insecurity – but the disruption makes a big difference. And, that’s perfect for where I’m at right now in my journey. I am taking small steps that gradually empower me to take better care of my mental and physical health.
How do you cope with negative self-talk?
[If you are wondering if therapy is for you or looking for a therapist, I recommend checking out Therapy for Black Girls to get started.]