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Kishi

Side Quest 3 - The Stories We Tell (Ourselves)

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Going back to the mentality for this week, folks.

 

So, whether we admit it to ourselves or not, we talk to ourselves. Yeah, we do, even if we don't actually talk to ourselves.

 

Your subconscious mind is constantly working and picking up and filing away and reacting to all the stimulus that you give it. And, believe it or not, that applies also to what you say.

 

And this is where it gets interesting. Your subconscious mind is not critical. It just receives and induces psychological adaptation. It just does what it's told. Shad Helmstetter, in his book "What to Say When You Talk to Yourself," relates the story of a waitress working in a busy restaurant. He saw her one day as she was working a particularly busy shift, and she dropped the serving tray. The very first words out of her mouth were, "Oh! I'm so clumsy!"

 

Now, maybe that seems kind of far fetched. Surely you can't make yourself clumsier or smarter or any of those things just by talking to yourself. That's getting into weird, Hippie-dip pseudo-quantum-mechanics BS, a la The Secret, and I don't buy that myself.

 

But it does make you prone to noticing things, and it does make you prone to remembering those things. If you tell yourself, "I'm clumsy!" often enough, then you have no choice but to believe it. The subconscious mind is just giving you the feedback that you put into it. Feed yourself negative data, and positive incidents become the exception, when what we want is for them to become the norm.

 

"I can't talk to that girl, she's out of my league!"

 

"I'm never gonna get a 540 spin on this kick."

 

"I'll never make money in this stupid economy."

 

Your side quest this week is to listen to yourself. Really pay attention and be mindful of the things you say, and ask yourself if they're feeding into negative self-beliefs. Once you find them - and we've all got them, I promise - I challenge you to find something else to say. To tell yourself a different story. A better one.

 

Successes and insights in this thread...

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I really gotta thank my Mom for getting me into reading pop psychology books. I have since read a few of them, and I'm familiar with the role of the subconscious as this giant machinery that indiscriminately sorts all snippets of information into different corners of the brain, including its own feedback. I've seen it in action, too: two girls in particular come to mind who more or less insist that they can't do X even before they've really thought about whether it's possible for them. What starts off as a first impression quickly becomes a self-reinforcing reality.

Anyway, while I don't have any profound insights from listening to myself just yet, this does remind me of something that happened just about an hour or so ago, when I was writing my job application for a university research position. The job requires me to travel and present my research project to other people on scientific conferences and such (i.e. public speaking). I have held seven presentations and have formally taught maths to others for 1½ years, compared to three presentations and 0 years of teaching for those other students who don't go out of their way to add these extra events to their curriculum. So I have twice, thrice or more times as much public speaking experience as my colleagues have, which was something I wanted to highlight in my job application. My initial thought was to write something along the lines of "given my public speaking experience, presenting the project on a conference shouldn't be a problem". But soon after that I changed that passage to read "will not be a problem". The truth is that I still get mildly nervous before speaking in front of a crowd on any occasion, and I believe this nervousness coaxed me into thinking "shouldn't" is the correct expression instead of "will not". But I have mastered this situation before and I will master it again, so the correct thing is to talk about how it "will not" be a problem. (And even if not: the confidence alone that the latter expression displays is enough of a reason to use it.)

I hope this is sufficiently relevant.

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Awesome idea Kishi!!!  

 

I have been working on beating down those negative thoughts for a long time but some of them are more persistent than others.  I have even used mental imagery to picture myself beating those thoughts with Karate or defeating them with Iaido and my sword.  It works in the moment but they often sneak back in and then they are in my house, rearranging the furniture, watching my TV and eating from my fridge. 

 

I need to find some quiet time and meditate so that I can defeat them once and for all.  I know it is a tough battle but like I say in my signature, "I may not be the smartest, strongest or best martial artist but I am too stubborn and too stupid to ever back down!"

 

Negative thoughts, get packing now because I am going to take you down, once and for all.

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See - I'm weird.  I use my negatives as a positive motivator.  "Hey you idiot" is meant for me to be a way to acknowledge something that wasn't done properly, and that it should be avoided in the future.  Hell, I was having coffee with a friend yesterday who claimed that I'm "too open" (ahahahahahahaha) and that I need to lie more about my negative results.  Which from a professional standpoint is true, but I had accepted that one a while back.

 

That being said, I'm finding writing in a journal a really nice way to digest things/get some energy out.  The writing is horrible, and the ideas are not unique, but last time I tried to do something flashy and unique I ignored the book forever.  So it's less a way to change my story, and more a way to TELL my story.  Even if it's meant for no one's eyes but my own.

 

(And it's in a semi-fancy leather bound book and written with a fountain pen.  My story book is better than your story book. :P )

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(And it's in a semi-fancy leather bound book and written with a fountain pen.  My story book is better than your story book. :tongue: )

 

...

 

No, I. I don't have storybook envy. Nuh-uh! Keep your stupid leather bound book and fountain pen! I'll just go cry into a composition notebook. LIKE A REAL WRITER (in high school).

 

hq-vanderbeek.gif

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This will be good for me.  I thought of a couple things right off the bat ("I'm clumsy" being one of them and "I'll never be able to get my leg up that high in a kick" being another).  I have a journal I've been neglecting (not leather, sorry!  I do have a fancy ball point pen though!).  Time to start that back up.

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Ooh, this'll be interesting for me to revisit. I try to remain pretty mindful of the negative stories I tell myself. A lot of them revolve around 'I'm too lazy', 'I never try hard enough', or 'I'll never be good enough'. My personal un-favorite, that keeps popping up all the time is, 'If my body is not SUPER lean, then everything I am, think, say, or do is worthless'. That one's got to go.

 

I have to admit I haven't been catching myself in the act as often (because I haven't been paying attention). I like Phoenix's idea of journaling; I'd like to write down every time I catch myself having these kinds of thoughts. I think I would surprise myself!

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Journaling is definitely a powerful tool for catching yourself in the midst of a bad story. The next step being, of course, that you've got to change that story at every opportunity.

 

Myself, the bad story I tend to tell myself is that I'm just not meant for relationship. I catch snippets of it, and it's usually like this: "Wow, I'd have to trick a girl into thinking I was worth something." "Dammit, I'm too poor to date." "Ooh, pretty girl. She's got a boyfriend." (usually said even if boyfriend-having-ness isn't a known quantity). It's not just dating, though. I generally tend to think to myself that if I was known on a personal level that I would be... well, repugnant. That people knowing me and my struggles and what I do and that sometimes I'm not strong enough to carry my load... that somehow I'll be devalued to them, or that I won't carry worth for them.

 

And the crazy part is that rationally, I know that none of that is remotely true. None of it. Not a single blessed bit of it. Nevertheless, the belief persists.

 

Reckon it's probably time I stopped that.

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...

 

No, I. I don't have storybook envy. Nuh-uh! Keep your stupid leather bound book and fountain pen! I'll just go cry into a composition notebook. LIKE A REAL WRITER (in high school).

 

hq-vanderbeek.gif

 

If being a REAL writer means no fancy books, I WANNA BE WRONG!

 

:P

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I noticed a constant loopback of exaggerating tiredness.

 

Where it could suffice to just state : 'ye, i'm still a bit woozy, didn't sleep enough' .  In general speaking-language it translates in : I'm dead, i'm broken, i'm finished. 

The strangest thing is this is looping on repeat in my head during a whole day.. As if i'm holding it ready to tell to someone I meet during the day, as some kind of excuse, or glorious statement.. While in fact this never or rarely comes up in conversations. 

 

I'll make it a point to 'observe these thoughts away'

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Interesting challenge this week. And interesting reading your thoughts guys.

 

I am very harsh on myself if left by my own devices. I sometimes feel bad for feeling good, say, for helping other people. As if I do the right thing only to feel good with myself and not because it is the right thing to do.

 

Sometimes I have to consciously stop myself, smack that little jerk of an inner judge and get back on track.

 

Also, I try to keep myself busy and not to think too much when I´m alone with myself, else I end up in some dark corners.

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Sort of related: I've been having a very down phase during the last week or so, and today I had to come to terms with my lowest performance yet. I realized that my first thought wasn't that I suck/I'm a failure/hopeless/whatever, it was along the lines of "This isn't working. What now?". I can only fathom that this is what Kishi is looking for (or would be looking for, if I had had full-blown self-doubts and such).

Really related: I've witnessed one of the stories I do tell myself, namely the "I'm not learning from my past mistakes" one. Though I'm at a loss how to turn that into a better story… including because I feel that it's actually true (for certain mistakes).

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Sort of related: I've been having a very down phase during the last week or so, and today I had to come to terms with my lowest performance yet. I realized that my first thought wasn't that I suck/I'm a failure/hopeless/whatever, it was along the lines of "This isn't working. What now?". I can only fathom that this is what Kishi is looking for (or would be looking for, if I had had full-blown self-doubts and such).

Really related: I've witnessed one of the stories I do tell myself, namely the "I'm not learning from my past mistakes" one. Though I'm at a loss how to turn that into a better story… including because I feel that it's actually true (for certain mistakes).

 

Well, at the risk of sounding rather airheaded, it's not really about what I want. This is about the story you tell yourself about yourself. Most people have a story they tell themselves, wherein they reinforce something they believe they're good at, as well as the things that they're bad at.

 

What I'm attempting here is for all of us to examine our stories and, if we don't like them, begin to take steps to tell better ones. Maybe like, for instance, turning "I'm not learning from my past mistakes" into "I did something wrong that time, and now I do something different based on what happened." Of course, I can't write your story for you; that's your thing to do, man.

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i'm not sure this is what you mean, but this week i've fought hard to change my mindset about things i say about myself this past week.  I don't think i can't do something, cos i've proved to myself over and over and over again over the years that i can do whatever i want i just have to try, but i say things like "i'm so ugly" or "look at how awful you look" when i see myself in the mirror (let's just say that if there weren't mirrors in the elevator in our apartment building, i'd probably never go near a full length mirror). 

 

This week i sat myself in front of the mirror and really looked at myself, found things i liked about myself and every time i said something like the above to myself, i would end the sentence with but "you have gorgeous eyes/lovely smile/rosy cheeks/strong hands/etc". I think i had a victory yesterday when i was making dresses with my aunt and she remarked about my stretchmarks and how when she's lost enough weight she's going to get hers removed.  My immediate reaction was "but why would you want to get rid of your battle scars? why remove the reminders of where you've come from (and don't ever want to be again) and of how hard you fought to get where you are now.  You should wear your scars as badges of pride because that's what you should feel when you look at them.  My scars might look like a small city's road map and will probably land up looking like a metropolitan street map, but i'm pride of where i've come from and where i'm going"

 

Needless to say she and my cousin were rather shocked because they were both convinced i'd agree with them and i probably would have, if i hadn't started learning to love myself - starting with the little things i like and moving to the bigger ones.

 

Like i said i dunno if this is what you meant, but this is what i've learnt :)

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