Suffering is created or enhanced by critical self-talk. An important step in ending suffering is to replace the negative critical messages with positive nurturing and/or structuring messages.
Creating nurturing and structuring messages is a skill that takes practice. This lesson will focus on helping you to learn that skill by walking you through a multi-step process. At the end of the lesson you find a worksheet you can copy for future use.
State the problem in one sentence:
I forgot to bring my children’s sack lunches when I drove them to the bus that would take them to summer camp.
What critical messages are you telling yourself?
1) Stupid! There were 300 children there and you were the ONLY parent who forgot her children’s lunches.
2) You are a terrible parent.
3) Why are you making such a big deal out of nothing? They won’t be allowed to go hungry.
Identify nurturing messages you can use to counteract the critical messages (messages that are gentle, caring, supportive, and unconditional).
1) You do care for your children and they know it.
2) You are a good parent even though you make mistakes.
3) It is highly unlikely that you were the only parent who forgot their child’s lunch.
4) It is important for your children to know that you make mistakes. When they see you make a mistake, they learn that it is okay for them to make mistakes.
5) You were feeling very sad because your friend Jean was leaving today and you won’t see her for a very long time. It is understandable that you didn’t remember everything.
Identify structuring messages you can use to counteract the critical messages (messages that set limits, show how and give options.
1) Talk to the camp counselors. Tell them what happened and ask if they have arrangements for children who come without lunches.
2) Tell your children that you forgot the food and have them help brainstorm solutions.
3) Check and see if there is time for you to go to a convenience store and buy them some lunch. Continue reading “Letting Go of Suffering- Week Eleven: Stopping the Critical Self Talk”