Tag Archives: self-talk

Your Value and Hope are Not Decided By Holiday Circumstances

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

ngaw2pGCircumstances cannot choose for us how we think about ourselves. What I mean is, whatever is going on in life is not powerful enough to decide for us how to interpret our value or hope. 

That is because we are complex beings maneuvering through complicated lives. There is no all-this or all-that perception of the world that actually works. 

Wouldn’t it be easy if it did? Imagine if everything was categorized into right/wrong, healthy/unhealthy, and wise/foolish. What if all decisions were a simple matter of looking in a textbook? 

I don’t know. Sounds boring. It certainly takes the joy of freedom of thought out of the equation. One such freedom is the ability to choose how to perceive our value and hope and the value and hope of others. 

In answering a podcast host’s question today, I mentioned that the measure of our value and hope never changes. God’s love is constant, and his eternal promise is for all who believe on his Son Jesus. What flexes is our beliefs about ourselves, God, and the world around us.

Three questions

Here’s a challenge I try to do and invite you to join me.  When confronted with a sense of failure or lesser worth, or when hope begins to fades from view,  ask 3 questions:

Who is speaking this message to my brain? If it is a person, seriously, what is their problem? They are wrong. If the culprit is negative self-talk,  challenge the message. 

What is the meat of the message?  Is the worthless feeling coming from loss? Is the lack of hope coming from fear?  Knowing and focusing on the root issue helps us find ways of dealing with it. 

Is this who I want to be?  I was asked once if I wanted to be valued for being depressed or for finding something worthwhile to offer the world. Awareness of the choices we have – how to see ourselves, others, and God; who we want to be, and what steps we will take toward becoming that person – gives us power. Change is a possibility. Will we go for it? 

What is happening to us or around us cannot determine our value or hope. Value is inherent. Hope is always present.  Believe it. 

p3sR2m0Today’s Helpful Word

Lamentations 3:21-23

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

 

*forest path pic by MIMICA; autumn sky by TACLUDA: both  on rgbstock.com

For more on today’s topic, see  How to Gain and Maintain a Mindset of Hope 

Is Anxiety or Depression a Choice? It Depends…

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2017  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

Is anxiety or depression a choice? It depends. We can purposely replay the past, or focus on all the negative what-ifs because we like doing so.  However, obsessive or racing thoughts about personal histories may occur because we do not have the tools to process them. 
Perhaps we find some reward in playing the victim.  Excessive destructive self-talk is more likely based in false core beliefs of which one may be unaware.
 
Fear of the future, rejection, or failure may not be resolved for some people by only thinking positive thoughts or shaking it off.  Peaceful options are more easily attained by those who experience nervousness or blue days once in awhile instead of anxiety or depression. 
 
While nearly everyone in existence is capable of throwing the occasional pity party,  those who fight to manage chronic anxiety and depression are practicing the opposite of self-pity and bitterness. Each day, people with these disorders function as best they can despite their brain telling them they cannot and should not. Management is a deliberate, purposeful decision to pursue honesty and healthy thinking. 
 
Time is wasted on judging how well a person is doing by what is seen on the outside. We do not know anyone else’s battles. If you believe you have chronic anxiety or depression, or are concerned for someone who might, seek professional help until you find what works.

 Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 18:13
“Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.”

 

 

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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

*pictures from qualitystockphotos.com

What Thoughts Are Ruining Your Day?

 

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2015 Nancy Virden

Yesterday, a woman stopped at my table at a craft fair, and noticing the list of topics I offer as a speaker, commented on food addiction. During our brief discussion, we each acknowledged the power of suggestiovector image of a idea bulb in brainn. You know, the “see food” diet.

You are in charge

Have you ever walked past your bed and thought, “I could use a nap”? It is possible you were not even tired before that thought occurred.

We do have control over what thoughts dominate our mind. Some of our thinking events are just habit, and like any habit, they can be exchanged for new ones. 

Think of a thought habit you do not want. If you will take the time to complete this exercise, I believe you will be surprised at the positive outcome.

Make the exchange

1) What consistent triggering event do you experience? (Example: Your mood drops when you sit on the edge of the bed in the morning,)

(2) What is your brain suggesting to you during this triggering event?  What are you thinking? (Example: “Now I have to go to work and face…” or “I don’t have anything to wear I’ll look good in.”)

(3)What is your thought habit? (Example: Associating this moment and seat with stress or negative self-talk.)

(4) What thought habit would you prefer? (Example: Associating this moment and seat with the power to make life better.)

(5) What decision do you want to make? (Example:  “I want to feel better in the morning and will exchange this thought habit.”)

(6) How will you make your exchange? Be creative with your senses and apply what you know brightens your mood. Here are some ideas.

(a)Change the environment.  (Redecorate the area; move the bed.)

(b)Change the context.  (Make this the spot for foot rubs, saying prayers, reading, or calling friends.)

(c)Change the  atmosphere. (Keep the room cheery by opening windows; invest in a coffee maker that starts before you do so you wake to the scent)

(d)Use grounding techniques that help keep your mind on the facts. (Place on the nightstand a list of accomplishments or positive affirmations from other people)

(7) Make a quality decision for when you will start. (Example: I will buy the coffee maker after work; I will write down the positives people say about me today.)

(8) What is the first action you will take next time this triggering event occurs? (Example: Read the list.)

If  you take charge of your thought life,  more happiness will greet you in the morning.

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Comments are always welcome.  NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

*picture from qualitystockphotos.com

It’s OK to Honor You, You Have Value

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2015 Nancy Virden

“It’s okphoto-24769692-guy-in-loveay to honor you. You have value.” I will never forget the day a psychologist said this to me. 

I rolled my eyes. Outwardly I joked, but his words had almost knocked me off my seat, and made me feel uncomfortable. What is there to honor? What does honor look like?

My family of origin did not practice honor amongst each other. It was not a safe place to show fear, sadness, doubt, excitement, or love. What does honor look like? For over two years I wondered if that statement could be true. Is it actually permissible to honor me because I have value?

Thanks youportrait of a mid adult female with heart shape balloons,  gifts, and special moments- these are some ways we honor others. Respecting people’s boundaries and speaking courteously are two other honoring characteristics. How about we each learn to do these things for ourselves?

Need support? We can ask for it. Affirmations lacking? We can look for healthy people who can offer some, or better yet be courteous in our self-talk. Have a special source of joy? We can make sure it is a regular part of our life.

Does this sound selfish?

Truth is, we will struggle to show honor to anyone else if we do not believe in self-worth. How will we ever believe in God’s infinite love? 

Honoring ourselves includes honoring our values, because no one likes a phony (especially if that phony is in the mirror.)  What is important to you? Who do you want to be?

I still ponder the statement,  It is ok to honor you. You have value.  Perhaps I will always wrestle with this idea. Nevertheless I try to  practice it. That is one gift I offer to myself. 

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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

-pictures from Qualitystockphotos.com

Beliefs: Why Change Them?

Compassionate Love:Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness    (c)2014 Nancy Virden

photo-24747927-downcast-womanIf your beliefs stay the same, you stay the same.

I heard this line on a confidential recovery-based conference call. The speaker was sharing her metamorphosis from denial about her addiction and unmanageable life, to dependence on her Higher Power and support from others for recovery. Her original false and negative beliefs told her she would never find a way out.

Significant people in her youth had planted a seed, a sense of low-worth in her mind. As she grew, some experiences with rejection served as “proof.” For years, her self-talk emphatically repeated this message. This seeming confirmation of her worthlessness ran through her mind several times a day.

If your beliefs stay the same, you stay the same.

Realizing her way of life was not working, she opened herself to new ideas. Challenging those old beliefs became her fight of a lifetime. Overcoming addiction was relatively easy compared to recognizing her worth.

Retaining her good intention of giving everything over to her Higher Power was also difficult as the thought slipped in and out of her daily routine. A stubborn self-reliance blocked her path to true recovery. “Tiny steps one day at a time” became her mantra.

By committing to self-care and the long recovery process, she began to know the presence of her Higher Power more readily. Is that because she was now worthy of his attention? No, Her Higher Power, who is Jesus, had been there all the while.  They teamed to tear down the barriers she had built between them.

If your beliefs stay the same, you will stay the same.

As this woman told her story,  I along with recovering addicts across the country heard our own. She was an  inspiration to many who struggle.

This part of her experience I hope to also have. In a few days I will return to the residential treatment center I was sent to last summer, only this time as an alumni speaker. My goal is to impart hope and encourage women to believe inner change is possible.

If your beliefs stay the same, you stay the same.

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NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline   1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

*picture from facebook.com

 

 

 

 

Accept Your Past While Embracing the Present You: 12 Self-Talk Exchanges

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2013 Nancy Virden

“The reason it is easy for me [to not hold the past against you] is because the Nancy I know is someone who wants to change those negative thoughts and behaviors, who wants to make a difference in this world, and is learning that she already has. That is the Nancy I embrace.”  These words from my therapist will not be forgotten.

They challenge me to give more weight to present positive experiences than to past negatives ones. I’ve learned we can choose to focus on what was or to look at the hope we have today. Here are some of those options.

(1)I have made mistakes – I am learning from my mistakes

(2)People have hurt me – I do not hurt myself

(3)I have hurt others – I make amends when I can

(4)I failed to be who I wanted to be – I am able to make better decisions now   

(5)There has been great pain in my heart – I am allowing myself to move forward

(6)I have felt worthless – I can be proud of my efforts        

(7)I have believed negative messages – I am challenging false beliefs 

(8)I was not safe from others – I am safe for others

(9)Relationships never worked – I am changing me           

(10)I have blamed externals for who I am – I hold the power to be who I want to be

(11)I did not want to live – Now I seek to make life meaningful

(12)My life has been hard – I am strong to have made it!

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NOTE: I am not a trained or licensed mental health professional. I am not a doctor. I speak only from my experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or if you are concerned about someone who is,  please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

*photo from rgbstock.com                                                                                                                                                                   

Choosing to Live

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness    (c)2013 Nancy Virden

pretty teenage girl laughingThis blog is short today because I am preparing to conduct a seminar on Saturday. An interesting lesson I am learning is that we can be supportive to ourselves and often are not.

There are those of us who need to keep an eye on depression’s symptoms, and prepare for the red flags by having an action plan ready. My response to the first observation of isolating, negative speech, and low motivation are to deliberately reach out to people, change my self-talk, and keep moving. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

Think about it. How many of us like change, especially in the moments we feel less worthy, more hopeless, and uninspired? Change requires energy and effort driven by one thing – a previously made decision. For me the decision to fight back, to not allow major depression or even suicidal thoughts to take me too far away again, was made at a time of clarity and I haven’t looked back. Much.

I get weak, sad, angry, pessimistic, hurt- you know, like everyone. Because I have depression always in the back corner just waiting to emerge, I have to work at keeping it pinned back there. Sometimes I grow tired and do not fight so well. On those days or weeks I can feel myself draped by darker thoughts.

The decision. The decision! One year ago I chose to try and discover what enjoying life means. That is why I make a phone call, reconsider my speech, and stay busy with work.  It’s not easy at all.

I ask regularly, What kind of person do I want to be? I want to honor God, leave a positive legacy, and help people who struggle with depression. No, I do not want to be a suicide statistic.

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NOTE: I am not a trained or licensed mental health professional. I am not a doctor. I speak only from my experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.