4 therapy on the fly…

Fake it Till You Make it: Silencing the Bully in your Head January 17, 2010


 You might be the one individual who has never had a doubt about themselves, has said never said to themselves that they can’t do something, aren’t good enough, are too fat, round, slow, lazy, etc. If so then stop reading. You are one perfectly adjusted human being. This article isn’t for you. This is for the rest of the human race that at one time or another has said some pretty nasty things to themselves and needs to learn how to chill out and be much, much, much kinder.. And here is the clincher. In the beginning you don’t have to believe the kinder words you say towards yourself, you just have to say them and let the power of the words affect you. In other words, as my father was fond of saying to me, “fake it till you make it”.

  1. The Effect that words have on us. The way your coffee barista delivers your coffee to you in the morning effects how you feel. If they offer your coffee up with a smile, and say, ‘Hey Joe, how are you today?” That feels really different then if they offer your coffee without any facial expression or worse if they barely even acknowledge you. Or my personal favorite, when they treat you as if you are bothering them, at which point you have to question why you go there at all…is the coffee that good? My point being that words have power and it is very hard to take the power away from them. On the positive tip the power of words can offer forgiveness, support and love. That is one of the reasons we pray, meditate, say the rosary, say thank you, because words affect us and others.
  2. Why the words we say to ourselves are so important. If the words we say to others have such an effect then so do the words we say to ourselves. People come to see me for therapy for many different reasons but the common theme is that they treat themselves badly. However, it is never the primary reason they come to see me. People in general do not value the way they speak to or about themselves. They think that saying horrible, mean things to themselves is secondary to their depression, anxiety, relationships, loss. It is not secondary and often I find it to be one of the main problems contributing to why they are feeling so badly.
  3. Words as Punches. If you put it into physical terms, if every nasty word you say to yourself is actually a punch that blackens your eye or bloodies your mouth or your nose then the way in which this cripples you becomes more apparent. If you have ever been unfortunate enough to have had any of these injuries then you know that it puts your body into a state of shock , you can’t think clearly and it certainly does not motivate you to go out do amazing things for yourself or others. Beating yourself up emotionally has the same effect on you. It stops you from trying new things, feeling good about your accomplishments, accepting love or treating yourself well. It immobilizes you. And eventually can send you into a deep depression, riddle you with anxiety , completely immobilize you or make you feel thoroughly dissatisfied with life.
  4. Why do we do this ? We learn to be hard on ourselves at a very young age because that is when we first  hear these negative words. Most people are repeating things that they have heard from parents, sisters ,brothers, grandparents, coaches, teachers, all the important people that really leave a mark on us . For some of us the damage is localized. You might have many doubts about your physical ability to be healthy, active, sexy, but when it comes to business you are confident and assured. For others it is pervasive effecting every aspect of life. We hear things about ourselves at a young age that we repeat to ourselves over the term of our lives. “You are lazy”. “You are fat”. “You can always do better”. Sometimes these words have been said to us to hurt us and belittle us. Sometimes they have been said to encourage us but we do not interpret them in this way. Whatever the case is they only hurt us at this point.
  5. So what do you do? You fight like hell is what you do. These tapes (or i-tune downloads I guess you would say at this point) have been playing in our ears for years. So often these words have absolutely nothing to do with who we are or what we actually accomplish. I have had neurosurgeon tell me they are not good enough, beautiful women tell me how ugly they are, and accomplished, motivated people tell me how lazy they are. These were probably not your words originally but now they are your problem. So you have to really commit to working on this.
  6. First, Awareness. Catch yourself when you are being hard on yourself. Remember these nasty words can be as mild as, ‘I don’t think I can do this’, and as severe as ‘I am such a loser, nothing I do is good enough”. Keep a written documentation of the words you say to yourself. The number of times a day you say them. Under which circumstances are you most likely to say them. This will give you an idea of who said these words to you first. How hard you are on yourself and in which situations this is most likely to occur. This will make you aware of the problem. Many people have been doing this so long that they do not even know when they are doing it.
  7. Second, Talking Back. Decide what you are going to say back to yourself when you are hard on yourself. If you have written down the words you use to be hard on yourself then you can begin by writing a positive counter to those words proving them wrong. If you are giving a presentation at work and you are saying to yourself, ‘I am going to blow this, I can’t do this”. Instead say “I am doing the best that I can and that is good enough”, or “I am going to kick ass at this”.

I tell you that this will not come easily but that you can do this. You don’t have to believe the words you say to yourself just commit to saying them. Once you start you will gradually feel the difference. Perhaps you will feel lighter, more positive or more confident, but you will feel a change in some way. If the commitment is difficult for you then commit to doing it for a week. Call it an experiment.

Let me know how it goes.

Keith Olbermann said it best,

“The world bursts at the seams with people ready to tell you you’re not good enough…do not do their work for them. Seek any job; ask anyone out; pursue any goal. Don’t take it personally when they say “no” — they may not be smart enough to say “yes”.”

**If you like this blog please share it (use the SHARE button)…we all know somebody who could use a little help…:)**

Psychobabble4u signing off….

(c) Cori Grachek,: January, 2010

If you have any questions about therapy, are interested in therapy or just have a more private thought or question that you would like to share with me I can also be reached at .

**This is not and can never be a replacement for therapy


Anger gets a Bad Rap January 4, 2010


Anger gets a bad rap. Maybe you are the exceptional person who can tell someone else that you are angry when you are but then you are exactly that, the exception. Instead you are more likely the person who thinks if I tell them I am angry then I will hurt their feelings, they will get angry at me, I’m being mean, I’m scared that I wont be able to stop and I will blow up at them or I don’t get angry . All the things we tell ourselves so that we don’t have to deal with being angry.

There is no such thing as not expressing anger. If you are feeling it be sure you are expressing it, especially when you don’t acknowledge that you are angry. You are the silent one with the steely look in your eyes staring through the person you are supposedly not angry with. You are the person dropping comments about not going to the concert you so wanted to go to because remember you are not angry. You are the person telling the story repeatedly of your boyfriend canceling plans to go see your favorite band with you because you aren’t angry with him. Banging coffee pots, shutting doors loudly, answering questions with monosyllabic answers, ‘yes’, ‘no’, all because you are not angry. So guess what? You are angry. The more you hold in anger the less control you have over how it comes out.

So friends now that you know you are angry people. Just kidding. Now that you know you are human and you too get angry, what do you do with that? Well first it is important to understand the difference between feeling anger, expressing anger and acting out anger.

Feeling anger is natural. It is what you choose to do with that anger that is important. Feeling angry is not an excuse to treat people badly. People are scared of anger because they have so often seen anger misused. Screaming, putting people down, slamming doors repeatedly, throwing things, punching anything living, walls and windows as well, calling people names or saying nasty things to them all fall under the heading of acting out. This is not expressing anger. This is acting anger out all over someone else and if this approach is used repeatedly then this is abuse. We have all done all or few of these things which does not make us abusive. But when this becomes the way we always or most often express our anger then we are being abusive.

Expressing anger sounds very different than this. It sounds like ‘I am really angry with you right now because you said or did…’ or ‘ When you do that I feel really angry…’.

Two things to watch when you are expressing your anger to another person are screaming and prepping anger. If you find your voice rising more than once during a discussion then maybe this isn’t the time to be having the conversation. Go take a break. Prepping for anger is when we find ourselves saying ‘If she says …then I am going to be so pissed and I am going to just lose it’. If you haven’t even seen the person yet and you already predicting that you are going to blow up at them then of course you will. Essentially you are giving yourself permission to do so. You are obviously angry with this person so you might as well just say instead, ‘ You know when you did this I felt really angry at you’.

First step, acknowledge your own anger. It is really OK to be angry, to feel angry. Give yourself a little time to figure out why you feel that way. Anger isn’t good or bad. Feelings aren’t moral . We don’t plan them, they are not logical or comfortable but boy are they necessary. Second step, decide what you want to do with the anger, express it, let it go, write it down. If it feels like a an intense feeling especially if you have felt this in this situation before, do some kind of processing, call a friend , write it out, go running, biking, dancing as an outlet but it needs to come out in some way. We are like boilers we need to let our steam out a little at a time or eventually we will blow up. When we allow ourselves to get to the point of explosion this is when we say things that are hurtful to the people that we love.

When you choose to express anger to another person then make some rules for yourself about what is OK for you such as; I won’t curse at someone, call them a name. So many people when relaying the fights they have gotten into with their loved ones say things such as ‘ We said all these things to each other that we just do not mean’ or ‘I just lost it’, or ‘I get really nasty’. This is a part of your life that you do have control over. You are raising kids, running companies, working difficult jobs and juggling many things in your life. If you can do that you most certainly have the strength to make sure you adhere to these rules when you are expressing your anger to another person.

So finally anger is a powerful emotion. The emotion that we are so often scared of on some level. Here is the thing when we tell someone else we are angry we are letting them know us better. None of us are perfect. We all feel anger and it is how we let someone else know that we don’t like something that is happening. When it is with someone we love we give them the opportunity to show us that they care by listening to us, apologizing, or changing the very thing that has upset us. And in the end we both know each other better. Isn’t that what we want, to be closer to the people around us. Anger, the very feeling that we thought would push others away in the end actually brings us closer together.

**If you like this blog please share it (use the SHARE button)…we all know somebody who could use a little help…:)**

Psychobabble4u signing off:)

(c) Cori Grachek,: May, 2009

**This is not and can never be a replacement for therapy