Too frequently cerebral palsy causes negative self-talk. Said negativity better brace for a battle though! After all I am here to hone you into a positivity force. By post’s end you will possess the means required to overcome negative self-talk.
Perhaps the biggest challenge to positivity comes with the how. You know you should stay positive. Still there exists a wide gap between should and actually doing. Ask yourself the following questions to help bridge the metaphorical gap.
Overcome Negative Self-Talk Question #1: But how has this been a benefit?
In math you learn multiplying two negatives results in a positive product. Guess what? The same holds true in life! The word “but” tends to foreshadow negativity. For example, you work up the courage to ask a girl out.
“I’m really flattered you asked BUT I’m not looking to be in a relationship right now.”
Use the negative indicating “but” as a negative multiplying factor. Attach to your negative thought “but how has this been a benefit?”
Personally I can grow frustrated over not driving. Some people with cerebral palsy drive but not me. Therefore I may feel down on myself. “But how has not driving been a benefit?”
BOOM! Suddenly I am reflecting on how not driving enhances friendships. Needing a ride reveals which friends I can count on. Everyone could use such a friendship filter. I am fortunate.
Overcome Negative Self-Talk Question #2: What abilities do you have?
Ponder your most common negative self-talk. Notice any trends? Maybe you notice you concentrate on what you lack in life. Just like how I zeroed in on NOT driving! Wreck the pattern by asking “What abilities do I have?”
Admittedly answering proves difficult sometimes. You can easily take abilities for granted. Trust me, I know! Growing up I obsessed over everything that made me different. Then at 14 years old I woke up from surgery unable to move my right leg.
Four days later I experienced my first restored movement. I never imagined a toe wiggle could cause abundant rejoice! Happiness soon turned to stress though. Rehabilitation stood a long daunting process. The entire situation showed me how much I previously took for granted. How many abilities I previously took for granted!
Abilities like walking, ascending/descending stairs, independently getting dressed in the morning, etcetera. The most insignificant abilities only seem insignificant until you go without. So go ahead and celebrate even your seemingly minuscule talents. Celebrating will cultivate gratitude. Gratefulness overpowers negative self-talk.
Overcome Negative Self-Talk Question #3: How can I re-focus to think positive?
There exists nothing magical about negative self-talk. Your internal putdowns do not just appear. These destructive thoughts come from somewhere. Cold hard facts often serve as the root.
A secret I hold will silence your internal critic. Facts themselves do not actually contain the cold and hard attributes. Coldness and hardness comes from perspective. Hence ask “How can I re-focus to think positive?”
My experiences with 5ks offer a great example. A male between 25 and 29 years old averages roughly a 10-minute mile pace, according to Pace Calculator. I completed my latest 5k at an 18-and-a-half-minute mile pace. That means when I am half done, my age range peers already crossed the finish line! Embarrassing, right?
WRONG! Remember, perspective! My first 5k taught me if I focused on others, I opened myself to discouragement. Instead I re-focused on me. Each race I am competing, but against myself! I continuously strive for new personal bests. In my latest 5k I achieved exactly that. Oh, can you feel the positivity?
Overcome Negative Self-Talk Question #4: Who is in your life that otherwise wouldn’t be?
Well I guess question four goes either way. Your answer can help overcome negative self-talk or fuel greater negativity. How about we stick to positives? Please?
Consider the people in your life because cerebral palsy. Who from those people make your life better? How so? Possibly a physical therapist taught you work ethic. Or perchance you found a friend through a CP support group.
Taking a leadership role in the cerebral palsy community I can name names. Man, can I name names. People I connected with who made me a better person. Working closely with Handicap This (Mike Berkson and Tim Wambach) improved my understanding about severe cerebral palsy. The whole road race scene I am into now sparked from reading John W. Quinn’s Someone Like Me: An Unlikely Story of Challenge and Triumph Over Cerebral Palsy.
Heck, the inspiration for today’s post stems from a cerebral palsy connection. Specifically this Facebook interaction I enjoyed with podcaster/blogger Michelle Fischer. I am constantly blown away by Michelle’s support for me. You should listen to my appearance on her podcast!
Truthfully I could keep rattling off names. I could mention other fellow authors with cerebral palsy. Plus I could delve into the wonderful people who make up #CPChatNow. For brevity sake I will restrain. Although I will say one last comment before moving to our last question. If you seek these positive connections, you will find them joining the live Twitter chat #CPChatNow (Wednesdays 8pm ET).
Overcome Negative Self-Talk Question #5: Where exists the opportunity in this?
Amidst yet the worst scenarios opportunity rises. Identifying said opportunity requires not dwelling on the bad. Switch roles from pessimist to opportunist. Ask “Where exists the opportunity in this?”
18 years I spent feeling embarrassed about my cerebral palsy. For 18 years I failed to live the most fulfilling life possible. That sucks. I certainly lost out on some fun.
Easily I could’ve spent the next 18 years souring. Telling myself “You were so stupid.” However, such action compounds the problem.
Rather I spotted an opportunity. Post deep contemplation I recognized others might relate to my experiences. Writing a memoir held many benefits. I send a valuable message. “You’re not alone.” More importantly I allow others to learn from my experiences. I hope you give Off Balanced (available at Amazon) a read.
Additionally I hope today’s questions transform you into a positivity force. If you use different questions to overcome negative self-talk, please share. Leave the question via commenting below.