One of the first things I began work on with my therapist was the negative self image that I had on myself.
It began simple enough, whenever you have a negative thought or idea, identify “the Judge” the person inside you making the commentary. Just identify the entity, whether they are an angel vs devil on your shoulder, just identify that part of you and acknowledge it. Wave to it, say hi, I see you Judge!
After the session, and in the days following it, I waited for “the judge” to appear.
Years of negative and constant inner talk, and after one session my mind has gone eerily quiet.
Then, a day before my next session, I am watching Meteor Garden and I feel it, this thing in the darkest recesses of my mind, staring back at me with menacing eyes. I slowly feel as if someone is constricting my heart. I hear words, you shouldn’t be watching tv, you should be doing something else, look at yourself, you started therapy and you’re still pathetic.
That’s when “the judge” appeared
And it was ugly.
The kraken. The mythological sea monster had taken the form as my judge and seized upon what I didn’t know until very later – my true identify – a golden orb and was drowning it in a very deep, dark place in an ocean, suffocating and poisoning the light within the orb.
I was horrified and fascinated.
So, naturally, I drew it out.
Behold The Kraken vs The Golden Orb
The vision in my mind took its shape on paper. When I was finished, I wasn’t as terrified as I was when it first took form in my head. Here was my judge. Face to slimy face.
There you are I said and it retreated to its lair.
I want to take this moment and explain some of the things I have learned so far.
By identifying my judge, I was able to segment a part of myself – my ego.
I have read 2 books so far on the topic of ego. “There is Nothing Wrong with You” by Cheri Huber and “A New Earth” by Ekhart Tolle. As of right now, I am still trudging and mentally going through Mr. Tolle.
Within both of the books, Ego is explained as the part of you in which you hear every day. The inner voice and commentary that you listen to, the constant endless chatter in the back of your mind. The voice that says I, Me, Mine.
What I have come to learn, is that that voice, the Ego?
That’s not you.
The part that reacts and responds? That’s you, that’s your true identity.
You know what’s great about realizing this?
I can choose to no longer accept what the Ego is saying as true. The cruel and horrible things it says, that’s not me.
And it. Feels. Liberating.
Now mind you, just because you identify something, yes in a way you take away its power but that doesn’t mean you completely are free of it.
Just like when I had to first identify my judge – ego, it didn’t come out for awhile. It stayed silent until I was no longer seeking it.
What I’ve also come to learn, is that once you identify it, it’s not like you can get rid of it.
Once I had identified my judge – ego, I saw to eradicate it.
The truth however, is you’ll never be able to get rid of your ego.
The only thing you can do is learn to live with it, or find a way to deal with it.
So what have I learned to deal with this negative self talk – this ego inside me?
I kid you not, juggling. I am not talking about 2-object juggling; I mean at least 3 objects. By trying to juggle 3 objects at once, your hands cross over the center of your body and activate both sides of your brain. I also find it takes a good amount of concentration.
2. Pressure Points and statements
What you do in this is when you find yourself in a very negative state of being; you do this sequence of activating your pressure points while making statements. The objective is to get your body and mind out of the negative state of being.
First, you start off with an overall blanket statement; Even though I am not in a good state of being, I am still a good person. It can be truly whatever you want, as long as you add a positive statement to it. Then, you going through a cycle of touching your pressure points (side of the eye, under the eye, under the nose, under the collar bone, slightly above your ribs, top of your head) while doing a set of negative statements. You start the cycle of pressure points again, but do neutral statements. Then on your last cycle of pressure points, you say positive statements.
By bringing your commentary up in positivity, your almost programming your body to associate more positive feedback, self love.
I found going to sleep a nightmare. Even when I could sleep I would have nightmares. What helped and stills helps me fall asleep is ASMR. ASMR stands for Autonomous sensory meridian response and my best friend introduced it to me. Youtube is a great source of ASMR videos. Not only does it provide me with that mental distraction, I also experience tingles in reaction to some of the videos. I find ASMR to be something either you love it or you hate it. But, like all of the items on this list, what works for me, may or may not work for you.
Check out some of my favorite ASMR videos
Expanding off of ASMR, guided meditation to me is much more than a mental distraction. I find guided mediations to be very calming and almost a decluttering of the mind. Recently, I did a meditation retreat with therapy. I never knew there were so many ways you could meditate! Low and behold, there is a ton of ways to meditate! I loved the retreat, learning about new meditations and ways to change meditation up. I can do a post later dedicated to meditation.
5. Reading about Self Image and the Ego
One of the first things I asked my therapist for was reading material. I am a firm believer in knowledge is power, and I find reading on the subject material gives me different perspectives and tools about the subject matter. So far I have referenced items from “There is Nothing Wrong with You” by Cheri Huber and “A New Earth” by Ekhart Tolle. Feel free to comment/recommend any books you may have encountered on your journey that you felt were useful.
6. Exercising – Self Care
Elle Woods wasn’t kidding about endorphins. Exercising gives off endorphins that help elevate your mood, among other health benefits. I found that after I stopped rowing, my levels of depression increased. I joined a kickboxing program and found my depression levels decreased a little bit.
Really, you could argue keeping a healthy diet, exercising, drinking plenty of water and taking care of yourself (getting sleep, showering….) helps overall.
We could get into self care, for now we will define self care as, what helps you feel happy. Do what makes you feel happy.
Ok, so all of the things you have mentioned I can’t exactly do these at work. What can I do at work that can help?
I have 3 apps on my phone that I use at work, Calm, Shine and Spotify.
Calm is an app that has a ton of free options that can help you calm down, refocus or sleep. I enjoy a section called scenes – sounds of certain landscapes such as the ocean or meadows or even a campfire. I listen to some of those landscape scenes that help provide some background noise to my work day. You can pay to upgrade your experience and unlock certain items within the app. You can check them out at https://www.calm.com
Shine is a great free resource with an option to pay to upgrade your experience. Every weekday, Shine provides daily articles dealing with self help. At the end of the readings you are encouraged to check in by saying what you are grateful for and what you are doing to feel good today. They also have an area to listen to talks. Here is a link to their website https://www.shinetext.com
Spotify outside of just music, has podcast and meditation playlist you can listen to.
As a side note for work, I am a manager and not only for myself but also for my staff, I encourage everyone to take their 15 minute breaks. Many times we find ourselves working through our breaks. This manifest into many things, but importantly we need the mental break, to take a step back, let our mind have a moment to regroup, think of something else for a second. It’s a form of self-care and you are taking the time for you, the most important person of all.
The Golden Gelly Nuggets
- Identify “the judge” inside your head and realize that you are not defined by what it tells you
- Find a way to manage your self talk – meditation, exercising, apps, reading
Do what resonates with you