Ah, the voice in your head…Sometimes your brain can be a mouthy, lying little b!tch or @ss.
“I can’t do anything right.”
“I’m a bad mom (dad).”
“My kids would be better off without me.”
Back talk that b!tch (or @ss)! Join me for Stay-in-Bed Mom Blog’s (SIBMB) positive self-talk series.
Don’t trust every thought. Just because you think something, doesn’t make it true.
SIBMB is here to help you along on your self-love journey. Self-love starts with positive self-talk.
Negative thinking patterns lead to negative emotions. So how do we break this destructive cycle?
- Learn to talk back to your brain. Challenge it.
- Retrain your brain to think positively. Yes, it’s going to be a ton of work, but well worth it. 👩🏻 A happy parent = a happy baby 👶🏻
How do you shush your lying brain?
- First, recognize the negative thought as being untrue. It’s faulty or “broken”, a cognitive distortion. We all have unwanted and intrusive thoughts that pop into our brains. Some people can dismiss the thoughts and not pay them any mind. Others, like sufferers of mental illnesses, have trouble letting the negative thoughts go.
- Second, get some corrective lenses for your brain. Don’t fret. Lots of people need glasses or contacts to see. Maybe you need a form of psychotherapy and/or medication to “see” the truth about who you are and your place in the world. More on this later.
1. All or Nothing Thinking/Polarized Thinking
Also known as “black and white” thinking, you’re unable or unwilling to see things in shades of gray. You prefer to think in extremes.
“I’m a great mom (dad).”
“I’m an abject failure.”
You come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or a single piece of evidence. If something bad happens just once, you think it will happen again and again. You may see a single, unpleasant event as part of an unending pattern of defeat.
“My son has a cavity. So I suck at teaching him self-care skills and cooking for him. He’ll grow up to have a poor self-care regiment.”
3. Mental Filter
You see only the negative in a person or situation. “Coffee cup half empty” parents take out all the negative details and fixate on them.
“My almost 4-year-old son can’t write his name. Eek! He’s behind in reaching his milestones.”
Actually, he’s ahead in some areas and striving in others. See #11 Personalization for a word on comparing your kids to others.
4. Disqualifying the Positive
You ignore the positive, the flip of #3 Mental Filter.
“My son can’t write his name.” But you forgot to mention…he can count to 100.
5. Jumping to Conclusions – Mind Reading
You assume you know what a person is feeling and thinking, as if you could read his or her mind.
Your child is having a tantrum at a restaurant. You notice a woman staring at you. “She thinks I can’t discipline my kid!” Maybe. But maybe not. She may just be hungry or bored.
6. Jumping to Conclusions – Fortune Telling
You think your or your kids’ entire future is pre-ordained (school, career, love, etc.).
“My 2-year-old daughter can’t talk yet. She’ll need to get speech and language services.”
7. Magnification (Catastrophizing) or Minimization
Also known as “the Binocular Trick”, you either exaggerate, e.g. magnify or catastrophize, the importance or meaning of things or minimize them.
At your daughter’s 24 month checkup, your pediatrician firmly admonishes you to wean your daughter off the bottle. You magnify the importance of the “mistake” and assume your daughter is a poor eater and not getting adequate nutrition because you enabled the bottle habit.
At this same appointment, your pediatrician says your daughter is “thriving”, but you minimize your provider’s praise and continue to believe your daughter has made unsatisfactory weight gains because she’s been in a lower percentile on her growth chart.
Furthermore, catastrophizers, hear a problem and use what if questions to imagine the worst case scenario.
You left a bottle in your daughter’s crib one time (okay, maybe a couple times), so she’s definitely going to get tooth decay!
8. Emotional Reasoning
“If I feel that way, so it must be true.” Emotions are strong in us and can easily blot out our rational/logical thoughts if we aren’t on alert. We may mistakenly believe our unhealthy emotion reflects the way things actually are.
“If I feel I’m a lazy mom (dad), then I must be one.”
9. Should Statements
“Should statements” appear as a list of rules about how every person (e.g. a mom or dad) should behave. When you see other people – perhaps other parents – break the rules, you get angry. Or you may feel guilty when you break your own rules.
“I really should cook more for my family and not eat fast food so much. I shouldn’t be so lazy.”
Musts and oughts are bad guys too!
If you direct “should statements” towards yourself, the result is guilt. On other hand, if you direct “should statements” towards others, then you may feel anger, frustration, and resentment. Stop the “Shouldstorm”!
10. Labeling and Mislabeling
This is really an extreme form of #2 Overgeneralization. You believe you have no control over your own emotions and emotional reactions. But’s that’s not true! You think a thought (e.g. oftentimes an erroneous thought), and then emotionally react in a particular way.
You assign value to yourself or others based on one instance or experience.
Your Pinterest Panera or Chick-fil-A copycat recipe didn’t turn out like the picture. Your kids tossed the food on the floor. So you react.
“I’m a loser.”
“I’m completely useless.”
“I’m an idiot.”
Mislabeling is when you use highly emotional, loaded language.
“I’m a fuck!ing idiot.”
You literally take everything personally. Everything others do or say has something to do with you. Additionally, you may hold other people responsible for your emotional pain. Conversely, you may take on the “blame” for every problem — even those clearly outside your own control.
“We were late to the playdate and caused everyone to have a bad time. If only I had pushed my husband to leave on time, this wouldn’t have happened.”
If you fall prey to this cognitive distortion, you may also compare yourself or your kids to others to determine who is “better”.
“All the kids at the playdate “played nice” and shared, but not mine!”
A Final Thought – From the Pillow
Positive psychology = positive parenting
So give positivity to feel positivity. (We’ll get there.)
Would you talk to a friend like this? Then, don’t talk to yourself this way.