The conversation in my head
Special to The Union
Editor’s note: Savannah Hanson’s column this week was written by one of Hanson’s clients, Suzie Saldana.
Recently, I have learned that investigating the conversation in my head and clearly understanding how I speak and listen to myself is of great significance. It’s become clear to me now that it’s “the story in my head” that dictates my attitudes, actions, reactions, feelings, behaviors, happiness, and peace of mind. I’ve learned that my interpretation of things is hugely based on what I tell myself. Learning this has been an eye opening experience.
As a people pleaser I’ve thought my job was to be the hero caretaker of all. I had no idea how this false idea of heroism was negatively effecting me. I had become dependent on others for their acknowledgement of my greatness. When it didn’t come, I was crushed. My feelings were continually being hurt at others’ lack of respect, appreciation and acknowledgement of what I do. I can think of many past occasions where I was exhausted by my inability to be good enough, find joy, love, peace and feel real happiness. I had become grumpy, impatient, critical of others, depressed and unhappy with everything in general. My body felt broken as did my mental mind.
Recently I was faced with changing my entire situation and possibly stepping away from a life’s worth of work to break free. Going through this experience has taught me profound and life changing lessons. As miracles would have it, running away was not the answer. I am fortunate to have some very qualified and gifted people in my life who have helped me gain a completely different perspective. I’ve learned that it is my own attitude that dictates how my life will unfold. By changing my attitude, my entire life has changed.
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By just looking at myself, I have been astonished at how the conversation in my head effects me and those around me. In taking an inventory of my grievances, complaints, feelings of being unappreciated, sadness, and general unhappiness, I can now clearly see how firmly I was feeling sorry for myself, attributing my continued unhappiness to the actions of others. This attitude kept me on the defense, and I didn’t like it. I had created for myself a generally angry attitude.
I was of the opinion that if others changed for my benefit I would be happier. The list of infractions going on in my head had me convinced that I was right. I talked to myself in heated arguments and would go round and round, defending my opinions and thoughts. I can now see my own part in my continued misery. I was not willing to be honest with myself about my complaining. I was placing blame on everything except for me. As soon as I became willing to think differently, everything changed.
I am currently learning how to be honest with myself. In the past, I attempted to be a hero and thought that was my destiny. I have slowed things way down and have learned how to be quieter. If my opinion is not asked for I no longer give it. That was a hard one for me.
By stopping the conversation in my head from running for a touch down, I am much more open to listening. By questioning myself about my own thoughts, I no longer have to judge, criticize, disagree, complain, disbelieve, defend, and conveniently create numerous feelings for myself, just in my head. By stopping that, I feel so much more available. I can empathize and accept others behaviors, seeing them as innocent rather than guilty. I no longer instantly judge them and what they’re saying. I’m learning what it means to be present in my various situations. I had no idea how absent I really was from the “now.” Learning this has changed everything.
Becoming aware of what was going on in my head and addressing it honestly has been phenomenal. Allowing myself to be myself has opened doors and taken down all of the walls I had built up. I am no longer feeling sorry for myself. Behaving differently has greatly improved every single aspect of my life.
I had the key to happiness in my own pocket. Learning how to be honest with myself has not been easy. I was trapped in the conversation in my head, believing my own thoughts. Clearly understanding my own part has been a positive and rewarding experience for me. I used to feel broken, used up and empty. I now feel free, whole and happy. I’m grateful.
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