Talking to Myself

Simple lessons last longest.  This one I learned from a childhood storybook.  The Little Engine That Could pulls the train up the steep mountain, all the while repeating, “I think I can.”  The lesson is that telling myself I am capable and making an honest effort are the best I can bring to a challenge.

What the Little Engine told itself is, in modern parlance, “self-talk.”  Self-talk is what I tell myself about myself.  The raw material for self-talk is my experience interacting with the environment.  Where self-talk veers toward the danger zone is when, “I made a mistake” becomes “I am an idiot.”  I constantly make assumptions and draw conclusions about myself.  And the tendency is that negative self-talk is my default, whereas positive self-talk requires the extra effort to name it, own it and change it.

It’s a long time since I met the Little Engine.  I am not a kid anymore and blindness has taught me this:  I cannot do what I used to, and to deny that is folly.  Sometimes, I feel this whole blindness thing isn’t going particularly well.  But the less I tell myself that I am a mess, the less I feel so.  And the more I continue to think myself   capable, the more capable I may become.  When I tell myself that I can adjust to continuing vision loss because I have successfully adjusted to losses in the past, it takes me out of the helpless victim mode.

In the stories I tell myself about who I am, small edits can lead to lasting change and significantly impact outcomes in life. This is the premise of University of Virginia psychology professor Timothy D. Wilson’s book, Redirect: Changing the Stories We Live By.  I’m on the trail of Redirect as an audio book. I’ll let you know when I find it.  Who knows, it may turn out to be this year’s version of The Little Engine That Could.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Moving beyond vision loss and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Talking to Myself

  1. Reblogged this on vision through words and commented:
    Check out Jeff Flodin’s latest blog post. Thanks, Jeff!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s