CHAPTER XXII – Did I say that?
I am Jude. And I admit that I talk to myself. We all do. However, It is only when we stop to consider the transcripts of these internal discussions, that we begin to realize how critical and unforgiving our self-talk can be.
Can you remember the last conversation you had with yourself? Was it an affirmation of your inherent greatness? Did it offer encouragement or inspiration – or was it something else?
Everytime we falter, fall short or make a mistake, our inner critic responds with negative messages that affirm all of our insecurities, shortcomings and self-doubt.
How many times have you caught yourself saying,:
“I am so stupid”,
“I’m just not creative”
“I’m never been good at that”
“What was I thinking?”
“Sometimes I wish I had never been born”
When will I ever learn?
“Sometimes I hate myself”
If only I…..
The Consequences of Negative Self-Talk
When we internalize these self-limiting beliefs, they become significant stumbling blocks to our growth and development. Our inner critic is quick to downplay any successes or personal victories we experience and to catastrophize all of our mistakes.
It encourages us to question all of our abilities, lower our expectations and avoid pursuing any new interests or opportunities. It convinces us to live small and to remain comfortable.
We direct piercing and perfectly placed insults at our most closely guarded vulnerabilities. We assail ourselves with condemnation and reprobate. We are merciless with these targeted assaults and the consequences can be devastating.
These self-actualizing thoughts find fertile ground in our insecurities and insinuate themselves into our subconscious. We find ample evidence of their validity in our failings and slowly begin to accept them as self-actualized truths.
In doing so, we undermine our dreams, ambition and resolve which generally results in increased levels of stress, anxiety, depression or worse.
How can you change your thoughts?
- Be cognizant of your self-talk. Recognize what you are saying to yourself. Take an inventory of your inner thoughts without imposing any judgements or criticism. Simply, become more aware of your internal conversations.
Once you begin examining your inner dialogue, you will be able to identify negative and self-limiting ‘chitter chatter’. This increased clarity provides you with the opportunity to begin challenging unhealthy beliefs and behaviours, and ultimately change your life.
- Look for evidence to affirm or dismiss any negative thinking that you recognize. Be an objective observer of all of the relevant information that is available. Develop a curious mind and investigate the veracity of any negative statements.
Is there any truth to what you are saying to yourself or is it based on assumptions and conjecture?
- Begin meditating regularly. It can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. It can focus your attention on your internal self-talk and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress.
I have been making meditation a daily practice. My immediate focus has been on regulating my breathing and attempting to clear my mind. It is extremely frustrating but I am slowly getting more comfortable with corralling my racing thoughts, even if it is only for a few breaths at a time.
- Adopt a mindset of abundance and gratitude. Focus on all of the love, joy and fulfillment that you currently have in your life. Appreciate the vicissitudes of life and seek to learn the all of the lessons that they can provide. Be grateful for your connection to the Spirit and everything in the universe. It’s the antidote for negativity.
- Be gentle with yourself. Demonstrate the same patience and compassion you would extend to others. Provide yourself forgiveness, empathy and latitude. Acccept that at times, you will feel confused, ashamed, stressed, and helpless.
I have been attempting to apply some critical analysis to my thoughts, feelings and negative self-talk. As I begin to pay closer attention to my internal conversations, I recognize how corrosive they have been. I remind myself that they have been crafted by my subconscious to deliver maximum effect.
Consequently, I am challenging my inner critic and embracing the power of positivity. I am seeking to replace any hurtful and self-deprecating comments with assertions of my inherent greatness and infinite potential.
We have to be conscientious. Words have power, especially when we direct them at ourselves.
Side Hustle – Unshackled Solutions Life Coaching and Consulting
I am only in week three of the life coaching program but there have already been some moving parts and logistical challenges. We have lost our instructor and several participants have dropped out due to personal reasons.
However, the interactive instruction and collective review of the program material has been interesting and beneficial to date. Most importantly, we are obtaining practical experience coaching one another and providing valuable feedback.
There is universal consensus on the benefits of life coaching. The most successful people in the world have coaches and mentors that provide them with valuable direction, support and advice. I want to utilize these tools, skills and abilities to positively impact the Afrikan community.
I am not sure how just yet, but I am fully committed to exploring this important and overarching goal.
Your Next Best Read – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I have heard positive descriptions about the Book Thief in the past and have even seen commercials of the critically acclaimed movie. In fact, the novel is considered, by many, to be a literary masterpiece.
However, it was something I normally wouldn’t read. I only began listening to the audiobook after receiving a personal recommendation from a young lady on my high school basketball team. And I can’t thank her enough.
Quite simply, the book was perfect. The plot swept me into a stirring narrative about a young adolescent girl living in Nazi Gemany, but it was so much more. The author presented rich, well rounded characters that I fell in love with, including the unexpected narrator.
The book introduced a series of surprising elements that created suspense and intrigue and conjured big conflicting emotions.
However, more than anything else, I was struck by the richness of the author’s writing and the images it evoked in my mind. He provided colorful accounts of the oppressive and suffocating conditions within Nazi Germany but he also captured the limitless power of words, unconditional love and kindness.
Characters suffer cruel fates but are also great examples of personal sacrifice, heroism, friendship, and courage. I soon won’t forget Papa, Leisel, Rudy, Max, Rosa Hubermann – or the narrator.
The Book Thief is most definitely your Next Best Read.
What’s Good – Positive Reflections
Over the weekend, my wife and I went to a live theatre in Halifax for the first time in over two years. It was nice to get out, have a great vegan meal and enjoy ourselves.
The bonus was that it also provided a reason for my wife to get dressed up. As per usual, she was stylish and beautiful, and I couldn’t lowkey keep my eyes off her, but I digress.
We saw Beneath:Springhill: The Maurice Ruddick Story, a one-man play about a small group of miners who survived nine days underground during the historic Springhill mining disaster of 1958.
Known as the singing miner, Maurice buoyed the spirits of the other six miners with his voice and inspiration during their underground ordeal without food or water.
I didn’t realize that, at the time, it was the deepest mine in North America, reaching depths of two kilometers(2Km). I will say that again – TWO KILOMETERS into the depths and darkness of the earth. I can’t imagine.
After they were eventually rescued, all of the miners and their families were invited to a resort in Georgia by the Governor. Maurice and his family were ultimately allowed to travel to the United States with the rest of the rescuers but it was colored by racial politics. They were forced to stay a mile away from the resort in a local Black community because of segregation laws.
I was aware that the Ruddick family was forced to reside with nearby African Americans during the trip. However, I wasn’t aware that the government of Canada attempted to prohibit Maurice from accompanying the other miners on the trip. It was only after the others rallied around their comrade and threatened to boycott on his behalf, that the government relented.
Jeremiah Sparks’ 70 minute one-man performance was incredible. His singing and acting captured the desperation, hope and joy that characerized the tragic ‘58 bump. Well done brother. Well done.
Get this! I recently met Lawrence Hill.
That might not mean much to some of you but for me, it was a pretty big deal. My new role in HR has provided me with the opportunity and honour of working directly with the Black Employee Network(BEN) within Federal corrections.
The BEN working committee is a collection of passionate, talented and committed Black employees from various sectors and classifications across the country. These brothers and sisters are exemplifying Black excellence through their efforts and intentions.
We extended an invitation to Lawrence to participate in a national virtual event a couple of weeks ago and he graciously accepted.
The collaboration resulted in a Fireside Chat with Lawrence Hill, an intimate conversation between Lawrence and the first Black female executive in Corrections Service Canada. It was a momentous occasion and an overwhelming success.
The icing on the proverbial cake was the chance to meet one of my literary heroes while preparing for the event.
I have often heard the adage, you should never meet your heroes, because they are sure to disappoint you. In Larry’s case, he didn’t let me down. In fact, he exceeded my expectations.
Larry, as he likes to be called, was accommodating, kindly and incredibly humble. There was no pretense or self importance. He was ordinary in the best way possible.
True to form, Larry offered to join our monthly BEN Book Club in March to discuss his new novel Beatrice and Croc Harry and to continue the conversation about his creative writing and the Black experience.
So take it from me, don’t be afraid of meeting your heroes and heroines, they just might surprise you. I am Jude.