A successful behavioural change program is to TALK SENSE TO YOURSELF. One of the most important facets of this program is the way it seeks to intervene in self-defeating behavioural cycles, to change the way we see ourselves and expand the skills we have, so we cope more successfully with problems, confrontation, disagreement, frustration, or our own unacceptable behaviour or inadequacies.
We can think of our mind as a continuously playing MP3 player. At times we are really tuned in and listening and other times we are not really paying attention. Yet our minds are never empty. Our MP3 is always playing and it is only when we concentrate that we become aware of some of the words that it is saying.
Although we may not be consciously aware of what we are telling ourselves at any particular moment, the words that fill our minds control what we do and feel. Much of our behaviour is the direct product of what we are thinking.
One of the strategies is to have a series of cue statements to be rehearsed whenever a particular type of problem arises; something like playing a recording in one's head. The strategy sets out to change the tape from" I get angry when people hassle me" to "If people hassle me, I will just play it cool".
We can actively replace self- talk about the inability to do things or make changes, to emphasize our ability to cope or learn to change...to talk sense to ourselves. We could for example change statements like" I can't do that it's too hard" to "I don't like doing this very much, but if I take it bit by bit I will be able to manage."
The Apostle Paul uses this strategy when he tells disciples to "make every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor 10:5) and tells them to "think on whatever is honourable, right pure, lovely and of good report "(Phil4:8) illustrating the use of this type of mind set to become more Christ like.
For personal reflection:
Take a few minutes to make a written list of the kind of self-talk that you usually have.
- 1) What kinds of things about yourself do your say out loud? Write some down.
- 2) What kind of things about yourself do you say in your thoughts? Write some down
- 3) Now take some of the negative statements and turn them into statements that you want to change about yourself. Write them down...... and keep playing them!
Taken from 'Living Together - A Biblical Approach' by Stan Dawes