The Saturday Meeting in Searcy, Arkansas is now in person only. We offered two other meetings times during the week with virtual options.
SOURCE: David Burns
One of the most common types of skills learned in psychotherapy today focuses on our thinking. Unbeknownst to many of us, we often engage in internal conversations with ourselves throughout the day. Unless we’re trained to examine these conversations, however, many of us don’t even realize we’re having them! For instance, imagine looking in the mirror at yourself. What’s the first thing you think when you look at yourself? That thought is a part of our internal conversation.
Having these kinds of conversations with yourself is perfectly normal and in fact, everybody does it.
Where we mess up in our lives is when we let these conversations take on a life of their own. If we answer ourselves in the above example with something like, “I’m fat and ugly and nobody loves me,” that’s an example of “stinkin’ thinkin’.” Our thoughts have taken on an unhealthy attitude, one that is working against us instead of for us. Psychologists would call these thoughts “irrational,” because they have little or no basis in reality. For instance, the reality is that most everyone is loved by someone (even if they’re no longer with us), and that a lot of our beauty springs from inside us — our personality.
It is exactly these kinds of thoughts that you can learn to identify as you go through your day. Often times it will be helpful to keep a little journal of the thoughts, writing down the day and time you had it, the thought itself, and the type of irrational thought — or stinkin’ thinkin’ — from the list below. As you learn to better identify them, you can then learn how to start answering them back with rational arguments. In this manner, you can work to turn your internal conversation back to being a positive in your life, instead of a running negative commentary.
1. All-or-nothing thinking – You see things in black-or-white categories. If a situation falls short of perfect, you see it as a total failure. When a young woman on a diet ate a spoonful of ice cream, she told herself, “I’ve blown my diet completely.” This thought upset her so much that she gobbled down an entire quart of ice cream.
2. Overgeneralization – You see a single negative event, such as a romantic rejection or a career reversal, as a never-ending pattern of defeat by using words such as “always” or “never” when you think about it. A depressed salesman became terribly upset when he noticed bird dung on the window of his car. He told himself, “Just my luck! Birds are always crapping on my car!”
3. Mental Filter – You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively, so that your vision of reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors a beaker of water. Example: You receive many positive comments about your presentation to a group of associates at work, but one of them says something mildly critical. You obsess about his reaction for days and ignore all the positive feedback.
4. Discounting the positive – You reject positive experiences by insisting that they “don’t count.” If you do a good job, you may tell yourself that it wasn’t good enough or that anyone could have done as well. Discounting the positives takes the joy out of life and makes you feel inadequate and unrewarded.
5. Jumping to conclusions – You interpret things negatively when there are no facts to support your conclusion.
Mind Reading : Without checking it out, you arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you.
Fortune-telling : You predict that things will turn out badly. Before a test you may tell yourself, “I’m really going to blow it. What if I flunk?” If you’re depressed you may tell yourself, “I’ll never get better.”
6. Magnification – You exaggerate the importance of your problems and shortcomings, or you minimize the importance of your desirable qualities. This is also called the “binocular trick.”
7. Emotional Reasoning – You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel terrified about going on airplanes. It must be very dangerous to fly.” Or, “I feel guilty. I must be a rotten person.” Or, “I feel angry. This proves that I’m being treated unfairly.” Or, “I feel so inferior. This means I’m a second rate person.” Or, “I feel hopeless. I must really be hopeless.”
8. “Should” statements – You tell yourself that things should be the way you hoped or expected them to be. After playing a difficult piece on the piano, a gifted pianist told herself, “I shouldn’t have made so many mistakes.” This made her feel so disgusted that she quit practicing for several days. “Musts,” “oughts” and “have tos” are similar offenders.
“Should statements” that are directed against yourself lead to guilt and frustration. Should statements that are directed against other people or the world in general, lead to anger and frustration: “He shouldn’t be so stubborn and argumentative!”
Many people try to motivate themselves with shoulds and shouldn’ts, as if they were delinquents who had to be punished before they could be expected to do anything. “I shouldn’t eat that doughnut.” This usually doesn’t work because all these shoulds and musts make you feel rebellious and you get the urge to do just the opposite. Dr. Albert Ellis has called this ” must erbation.” I call it the “shouldy” approach to life.
9. Labeling – Labeling is an extreme form of all-or-nothing thinking. Instead of saying “I made a mistake,” you attach a negative label to yourself: “I’m a loser.” You might also label yourself “a fool” or “a failure” or “a jerk.” Labeling is quite irrational because you are not the same as what you do. Human beings exist, but “fools,” “losers” and “jerks” do not. These labels are just useless abstractions that lead to anger, anxiety, frustration and low self-esteem.
You may also label others. When someone does something that rubs you the wrong way, you may tell yourself: “He’s an S.O.B.” Then you feel that the problem is with that person’s “character” or “essence” instead of with their thinking or behavior. You see them as totally bad. This makes you feel hostile and hopeless about improving things and leaves very little room for constructive communication.
10. Personalization and Blame – Personalization comes when you hold yourself personally responsible for an event that isn’t entirely under your control. When a woman received a note that her child was having difficulty in school, she told herself, “This shows what a bad mother I am,” instead of trying to pinpoint the cause of the problem so that she could be helpful to her child. When another woman’s husband beat her, she told herself, “If only I was better in bed, he wouldn’t beat me.” Personalization leads to guilt, shame and feelings of inadequacy.
Some people do the opposite. They blame other people or their circumstances for their problems, and they overlook ways they might be contributing to the problem: “The reason my marriage is so lousy is because my spouse is totally unreasonable.” Blame usually doesn’t work very well because other people will resent being scapegoated and they will just toss the blame right back in your lap. It’s like the game of hot potato–no one wants to get stuck with it.
Parts of this article were exercepted from the book, “The Feeling Good Handbook” by David D. Burns, M.D. © 1989.
Source: Rick Warren
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:32 (NIV)
Have you ever wondered why you do what you don’t want to do? Ever wondered why it’s so hard to do the things that you know are the right things to do?
Our sinful nature causes us to often make the wrong choice. You can probably relate to the apostle Paul when he says, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate . . . So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t” (Romans 7:15, 17-18 NLT).
Even after you become a follower of Jesus, there’s this tension inside of you. You have your good nature that God gave you, but you also have your old sinful nature that is pulling at you.
But there is a way out! Jesus promised in John 8:32, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (NIV).
The secret to personal change is not willpower or something you do or say. It’s not a pill, resolution, or vow you make.
The secret to personal change is something you know.
You know the truth. When you change the way you think, it changes the way you feel. And when you change the way you feel, it changes the way you act.
Behind every self-defeating act is a lie you believe. It may be a lie about yourself, your past or future, God, or others.
Why do you do something that you know is bad for you? Because you think there’s some kind of payoff. That’s the lie! You can only change and fulfill God’s purpose for your life if you start with God’s truth. If you want to change the way you live, you need to start in your mind. You need to know and believe God’s truth.
When you know the truth, the truth will set you free.
My life was unmanageable. Out of control. If you are reading this, you know what I am talking about. Either you are experiencing this now or you have experienced it in the past. That powerlessness you feel from not being able to change. The overwhelming sense of dread that occurs when you want to be different, but you just don’t know how or can’t put together more than a few days or weeks or even months of change.
For me, I couldn’t stop lying, hiding my behavior, seeking out other relationships outside my marriage. The shame and self-hatred from knowing who I was and what I was doing was suffocating. I felt cornered. And I was. My own carelessness and inability to manage led to my wife discovering part of my behavior. I ended up disclosing the rest. And then recovery began.
To say I survived the first few months is downplaying the actual struggle. I survived on a day to day basis. I would most days reach the end of the day, thankful that it was over. I couldn’t handle it. I had all the components of recovery: a counselor, meetings, a sponsor, check ins with other guys, accountability partners. I followed the rules and called other guys daily. I muscled through and stayed “sober.” I was hanging on by my fingernails. Nights in the guest bedroom for those first few months were soul killing. I hated where I was, who I was, and how I was.
Working the steps began my journey to understand how, like life before recovery, I couldn’t manage life in recovery on my own. Detailing my own powerlessness and the unmanageability of my life in Step One gave me the specifics of what life would be if I chose to continue living how I did before. The slow long gradual fade of my behavior, destruction of my marriage, and distancing of my children were all reminders of the fallout from a life of selfishness and addiction. Sharing my secrets and shame with my wife and the men of my recovery groups ripped the top off a container of darkness and hiding, forcing light into areas that were so damaging.
Even after exposing these secrets, my life was still unmanageable. I survived each day, struggling to just stay sane and balanced, losing my job in the process. My turning point came in Steps Two and Three. I first recognized that only God could restore me to sanity. Recovery, the Steps, my groups, my wife, my accountability partners…they couldn’t do that. I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t will that. Only God could.
Step Three required me to decide…would I turn my life and will over to God or not? For all of my life the answer was not. My journey to this point in life gave me the overwhelming preponderance of evidence that my own manageability of my life wouldn’t work. Only destruction would follow. So I chose to give God control.
I wish I could say that everything changed in that moment. It didn’t. I kept working through the Steps. Kept going to meetings, kept meeting with my accountability partners, kept going to counseling, kept checking in with guys…and started developing a relationship with God. I started each day by submitting control to Him, knowing that me being in control of my day wasn’t sustainable.
Each day isn’t smooth sailing. It isn’t perfect. It isn’t my design. Its His design. He leads me where He wants me, refining and teaching me to continue along this journey of sanctification. Because that what life is as a Christ Follower, continually submitting control to Him in order to refine me to be more like Him. My life was and IS unmanageable on my own. Each day is only manageable through submitting to Christ.
SOURCE: Marriage 365
While it’s important to give a formal apology in person when you’ve messed up, it’s also good to follow up with a phone call or text to remind your spouse how sorry you really are.
Sending “I’m sorry” texts shows that you’re trying to rebuild trust and repair your relationship. Now, these texts are to help inspire a more in-depth conversation, and please make them personal… make them your own.
- I am sorry for arguing with you. I want us to be a team. Please forgive me, babe.
- I’m sorry for avoiding our issues. I’m sorry for not showing up and working on our marriage, especially when you’ve needed me. I’m sorry for neglecting your feelings.
- I want you to know that I love you and take responsibility for the words I said. I promise I’ll work on thinking before I speak.
- Angry is ugly, forgiveness is sexiness. Forgive me, please?
- I’m apologizing because I value our relationship more than my ego. I’m so sorry my love.
- I am extremely sorry for hurting you yesterday and want your forgiveness. I love you.
- I don’t know what to say but to apologize for being such a jerk. I hope you can eventually look beyond this mistake and forgive me.
- I feel like the worst person in the whole world. I’m truly sorry and want you to know that you didn’t deserve that.
- I want you to know that I am willing to get help for our marriage. I will do whatever it takes to make sure we are happy and thriving.
- I need you in my life and I’m very sorry about last night.
- If I could, I would take back all the things I did to hurt you. But since I can’t, please consider forgiving me. I want us to work on healing our marriage.
- You need to know that I was a fool. I allowed my pride to get the best of me. I forgot that you are on my side. That you are my best friend. I love you so much.I want to validate how you’re feeling. You are completely justified in feeling that way.
- I love that you help me become a better person. I need you in my life. You are my everything.
- You are the kindest person I have met. Forgive this fool who can’t live without you.
- I know forgiving me will take time and is a process. I am waiting patiently. You’re worth it. We’re worth it.
- You mean the world to me and I want to do everything I can to make up to you for last week. Let me know if there’s anything I can do or say that will show you how much I am sorry.
- I’m sorry for putting work before our marriage. It’s not healthy and it’s making you feel unimportant. Please forgive me.