Hello there! Welcome back for week 4! If you’ve made it this far, give yourself a big hug or pat on the back for showing up again. Last week, you learned one writing tool, called brain dumping, to release feelings and thoughts in a stream of consciousness on paper. We hope that you were able to start using this coping tool in the past week; however, if not, know that you can always pull it out of your back pocket in the future! This week, you will take another step towards helping yourself by examining the stories and messages that we tell ourselves. Not surprisingly, what we feed our minds, is what we believe! Negative messages we tell ourselves can hold us back and harm our well-being.
Interestingly, the formations of these messages and stories may have a root outside of you, like society's pressures, a comment a family member said, or a past trauma. Becoming aware of the root is an important step to healing because it gives closure by offering a reason for triggers and struggles. It also may empower you to move forward. What you might find during today's exercise is that many of these stories are not accurate or true. You’ll take a hard look at what stories you’re telling yourself, where these messages are coming from and how they compare to the truth. The purpose of this prompt is to become more aware of and dismember maladaptive thought processes. This may be challenging because you may really believe the negative messages you’re telling yourself, so think about finding the exception(s). Let’s look at an example so this is clearer.
I believe that my weight is the best feature about me
When I was younger, my family always complimented me on how skinny I was, and I still get praised today from them and my friends.
I’m not defined by the number on a scale.
I think my best physical features are my eyes and smile. Unrelated to appearance, I want to be known for my funny and energetic personality because it makes me unique.
~Here are a few starters to help you to begin to think about your story, statement or message:
If…then… ( EX: If I eat this, then I have to exercise it off)
I tell myself that… (EX: I tell myself that I’m not good enough)
I believe that…
I view myself as…(EX: I view myself as unattractive)
~Give yourself uninterrupted time to think about where your thoughts may be coming from. Who or What fed you these beliefs?
Now Your Turn
Prompt #4: Create a table like the example above, but allow yourself the space to write more than one if needed. List out your beliefs, messages, and stories first. Then, going through one by one, write about the roots and the truth for each.
Did anything surprise you after looking at the results?
What did you learn from introspecting and visually seeing how your thoughts compared to the truth?
We hope that this was an eye-opening and healing experience for you. We admire you for being courageous enough to pause and unravel your own thoughts. Recognize that you’re putting in the hard work and the benefits will naturally follow. We admire you for taking this time for yourself and once again, you’ll be leaving with another tool for your toolbox!
More to come next week :)