Monday, September 17, 2012

Soul Cleanse 30: M is for Make

Soul Cleanse 30:  Make clear distinctions between constructive criticism and negative self-talk.

At times, for me, these two have ridden a very fine line.  

Part of it has to do with the fact that I experienced bullying—more on an emotional level than a physical level.  

Although I am not saying any type is particularly better than the other, with the physical, at least the scars tend to heal.  The emotional takes a lot longer.

A prime example is my weight.  I have struggled with it for most of my life.  Even in college, and at one point had gotten to my smallest size (a size 8), I was still told I was fat.  The size eight I achieved wasn’t because I wanted to; it was due to being depressed and not eating.

There is a difference being told, “It would benefit you to lose some weight because your health is at risk if you don’t,” than “You’re fat, ugly, and no one is going to want you at that weight.”

Yes, they are both saying the same thing as to the weight—there’s too much there

However, the first comment sounds more constructive because it mentions there are benefits to health if there is less weight.  

The other comment, although the person thinks he is being constructive, is being more negative than positively motivating.

It does get hard to distinguish, since even if someone tells me the first statement, some emotional feelings may get attached as if someone said the second statement.  That is my struggle from time to time—at times, the way a certain thing gets said can impact whether I’m going to take the steps to do it or not.

With my first doctor (Dr. B.), she and I would sometimes bump heads because of the way she would say certain things to me.  Although I knew she didn’t do it to be mean, at times, I felt like she didn’t have faith in my body or my ability to try and fight the things which were happening to me. 

One visit in particular, she was trying to put me on a certain regiment which I was opposed to.  One, because it was too expensive and I wouldn’t be able to afford it.  Two, because I felt like she hadn’t really given my body a chance to adjust to the first regiment.  That one day, I wanted to throw up my hands because I was so aggravated.  I just felt as if she didn’t have the amount of empathy as well as sympathy to be able to treat me effectively. 

I addressed her about the issue, and she expressed she didn’t mean to come across in that way.  She agreed that instead of continuously bombarding me with the negative, she would also give light on the progress (whether great or small) I had made as well. 

I didn’t need to be placed on the other regiment because my body did adjust to the first regiment, after it was given the time like I requested. 

I have to also quiet the negative self-talk in myself as well.  I tend to be overly critical—more of myself than anyone else.  At times, the talk can get very loud, almost to the point of screaming, especially in my younger days. 

That can prove to be unhealthy, especially when it gets mistaken for constructive criticism.  There’s nothing constructive about tearing down one’s spirit.
I have to keep reminding myself constructive criticism is for a purpose—it motivates me to become a better person.  All negative self-talk does is keeps me mired in depression and at a standstill.  Constructive criticism strengthens me; negative self-talk drains me. 

As long as I stay focused on the positive, then I won’t have any time to focus on the negative.

Just being true to me—the ebb and flow of it all.


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