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.

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!

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