Last week was rough.
Like from the pit of hell rough.
And I responded terribly. I was emotionally distraught and I retreated from everyone and everything. Feeling like a victim tends to have that effect on me.
Early in the week I ran into a relative who just unraveled me. How is that possible after not speaking for several years? Somehow, those from our past, who at one point had daily access, can swiftly reduce our truth and remind us who we used to be. Later in the week, I was Facebook unfriended by a 30 year friend who was disappointed that I didn't reach out to her after a recent trip she had to the ER. I didn't know about her health scare until I found out she unfriended me and asked her why. The sting of her rejection is still fresh and real. Added on to the run in from earlier in the week - I struggled, spiraled and self-sabotaged.
I don't know about you, but when I am feeling reduced and I've been unfriended, I withdraw. While some introflection can be helpful, I was immersed in my victimhood far too long. The mind talk was starting to become harmful and the depression was starting to set in. I needed to hear my voice release the lies and the damage my thoughts about these incidents was doing to myself.
And then these words on Saturday night from my best friend Michael. "Do you want to talk?" He didn't have to offer to be a sounding board, especially after I shut him out most of the week and confused him with "not like myself" behavior. Friends who know how to model grace are truly heaven sent and God's way of hugging our hearts.
Negativity bias refers to the often asymmetrical way we perceive the negative and the positive. Simply put, negative experiences tend to exert greater psychological impact on us than positive experiences of the same magnitude. A moment of profound sadness, for instance, is usually more disruptive to one’s day than an equal moment of happiness.
Believing the bad stuff is easy to do when you internalize it. Perhaps Michael knew that and was facilitating an outlet for me. One of the best remedies for negative self talk can often be simply to talk, out loud. Stress is normally the cause of some sort of problem, whether it is work related, family related etc. And we all know what they say about a problem shared, which does have some merit. Talking a problem or our emotions through can help to put it into perspective and throw a new, objective view on it and erase the negativity bias. Having a friend be a mirror for our thoughts reflects back to us a view of our inner dialogue that can alter the way we perceive a reaction to a negative experience. It shines a light into darkness and illuminates truth, softness and kind confidence.
If you are struggling internally, do you want to talk? Say yes, and hear yourself. It is there that your soul shall live.