Sunday, December 9, 2007

More on Silencing Those Negative Messages Within

In her comment on the last post from Lynn from Spilling Ink in Public shares that despite working hard on changing her negative self talk, she cannot get the feeling side of her to accept that new information. I suspect that Lynn is not alone with this problem. Many of us, singletons and multiples alike, have mastered the fine art of getting into our heads to such a degree that there is little connection between what we think and how we feel, even though that is the way it is "supposed" to work.

The only way that changing negative self talk will work is, as Lynn has observed, being able to make the changes in the feeling part of ourselves. That is where the "fun" comes in.

I say "fun" in a tongue in check manner because those of us that have successfully separated our feelings from our thoughts will not think this is fun. Being in our heads most likely it will be seen silly or even unnecessary. But the fact is the only way that changing self talk will work is by accessing the child part of us. That means the child must be engaged. Without the participation of the child, there will be no headway.

So how can the child be engaged? That is where the "fun" must come in for the child. Just like any small children, our inner children can be taught to change how they see the world by "play therapy." Every one will be different in what their inner child sees as something "fun" to participate in so to engage the child, the adult brain is going to have to listen closely and not discount how the child would like to proceed in this "play."

For me, it was artwork. My inner children could be drawn out to participate in the exercises to change my inner self talk by decorating my "new rule book." At first they did not believe the new messages BUT they appreciated being able to decorate the pages in a way they saw would be good if the rules were real. It was a big start.

Working on coloring the pages of the new rules gave them a chance to try on the feeling of that new rule, even if it was only for a few minutes. "I am NOT bad!" brightly decorated with stickers, water colors, crayons, felt time pens and finger paints carried a strong message even though it didn't feel like it at the time.

I set aside a portion of time each day to work on this rule book. I listened to all the inner messages about what supplies were needed. AND, most importantly I kept my adult head out of the execution of the exercises.

That translates to I actually let myself enjoy working on the exercises. I even allowed myself to play during the scheduled times. Blowing bubbles during part of my page decorating became a big deal. Getting my husband to blow bubbles with me, became an even bigger deal. In the process, my inner children began to heal and accept that the negative self talk really didn't fit.

Now, some might think that this was necessary because I am a multiple. But I can assure you that I had several therapy friends who were not, that did these exercises too with equally good responses.

Did I feel silly working on this rule book? I really did at first and awkward also comes to mind. I also found that I felt a lot of fear about it. Challenging those old rules was really intimidating. The child part of me expected to be chastised for even daring to think opposite what we had been brainwashed into believing. Just the fact that we started the project and lightening didn't strike us dead was helpful in discarding the old messages.

It occurs to me the reason that this works is you must first treat the child better for the child to learn that she deserves better. If the thinking adult part cannot make time for the child, you can talk all you want about the negative self talk being bogus, your actions speak much louder than your words. You must truly accept the child and embrace those childlike qualities for the child to believe you can be trusted. Only if you can be trusted will the inner child even consider the possibility that you might be right about the negative self talk.


keepers said...

you are so very right! we did not begin to progress until we accepted our littles and their feelings and accepted them. once they knew we accepted them and were willing to protect them they began to open up and we all began communicating and progressing in our healing. letting them do things, like letting JM take them to 6 Flags, can be so supportive and growth promoting.

peace and blessings


Kahless said...

Yes, my therapist is trying to get me out of my mind and into my body at the moment. It is hard, but I am giving it a go.

jumpinginpuddles said...

maybe today isnt a good day to start reading blogs like this, but its not always smooth sailing and soemtimes working through things like you say is aweseome but no ones mentioned set backs and stopping doing the work because the pain of doing this was far too great to bare. Or what the child alters/ inner child was doing/sharing was so incredibally painful the adult parts put a stop to it because it was too unbearable. See even simple tasks as drawing and painting or for us writing can raise a whole standard of things you never expect. Does that mean we wouldnt continue maybe not but also maybe, just wanted people to know it was ok to have set backs and they dont suck as people if that happens when it comes to inner child work.
Sorry like i said maybe today wasnt the best day to write on such serious blogs and you can delete this is you wish RR

Enola said...

"there is little connection between what we think and how we feel, even though that is the way it is "supposed" to work."

That is so true. I find myself thinking about how I ~should~ feel and then putting on the appropriate facial expression. Your exercise sounds interesting - I might just have to try it.

arthist99 said...

Great advice for EVERYONE. I really needed this about now.

Fallen Angels said...

Hi RR...just wanted to let you know that I replied in comments on my blog.

Rising Rainbow said...

keepers, isn't it amazing how much healing can occur by dealing with the inner child or chidren, whichever the case may be?

kahless, learning to let go of that control is very scary. I know how difficult it can be but hang in there. It will be worth it.

jip, I think that everyone has setbacks. It seems to be a frustrating part of the process.

I would never delete your comments. Your insights are important to me and to others. It's ok to see the darked side sometimes. That's part of this too.

enola, oh can I relate to wearing a mask. I used to be soooooo good at that. Now, I'm not good at it at all and even feel naked sometimes without it but still would never go back.

I hope the exercises are helpful for you. And try to think about ways that your child in particular might like to express herself.

arthist99, you are right about that. Taking care of our inner child is good for everyone. I hope that you are able to find someting soothing for yours about now. It sounds like she needs it.

fallen angels, I will go and check it out. Thanks for letting me know.

Marj aka Thriver said...

Yes, I am still working on my inner children/child parts trusting me. Stickers and coloring have been helpful. Another project that's been wonderful is this: I built, painted and am decorating a dollhouse. I also make time to PLAY with it!

Thanks for the great ideas and for the insights you left on my blog the other day. I printed out your comment and took it to therapy with me yesterday!