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A Word about the Lies We Tell Ourselves

A Word about the Lies We Tell Ourselves

They are almost always derogatory, negative, critical and abusive.  The words and phrases we use to describe ourselves.  “Loser,” “Stupid,” “Idiot,” “Moron” and worse!

They are the kinds of labels most of us would never think about using when describing someone else.  Yet, here we are, saying the most unkind things imaginable to and about ourselves.

 And they are lies!

I recently read a delightful book, A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman.  Ove had a very difficult early life and became very private and reclusive as a young adult.  By his mid-20s, he had never been in a relationship with anyone, that is, until he laid eyes on Sonja.  He was hopelessly and forever smitten.  But having developed no social skills, he honestly did not know what to do next.

He first saw Sonja on a train platform, and he decided to board the train she got on. (Not his train but hers.)  He sat beside her, and they talked.  That is, she talked.  Did I mention about his social skills?

He did the same thing for 3 months until, out of utter frustration, she suggested that they meet for dinner.  They decided to meet on the appointed day, at the train station, 7 PM.

 Of course, Ove was there early.  Sonja was not there at 7, 7:05, 7:10, or 7:15.

“So for each of those fifteen minutes that Ove stood waiting at the station he was slightly irritated. And then the irritation turned into a certain anxiety, and after that he decided that Sonja had only been ribbing him when she’d suggested they should meet. He had never felt so silly in his entire life. Of course she didn’t want to go out with him, how could he have got that into his head? His humiliation, when the insight dawned on him, welled up like a stream of lava, and he was tempted to toss the flowers in the nearest trash can and march off without turning around.”

She showed up, of course, and they went to a restaurant.  More Ove self-talk:

“While she was ordering, the waiter smiled ingratiatingly. Ove knew all too well what both he and the other diners in the restaurant had thought when they came in. She was too good for Ove, that’s what they’d thought. And Ove felt very silly about that. Mostly because he entirely agreed with their opinion.” 

Can you identify?  I think you probably can.  Each of us has a choice.  We can be our own worst enemy, or we can be our own best friend.  And we make this choice on a daily basis.  What we think about ourselves, and how we talk to ourselves.

Negative self-talk is only one manifestation of “Distorted Thinking.”  For a more complete treatment of the subject, please click on the image below, and you will be directed to our web site and the latest issue of Emotional Wellness Matters.

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