Written By: Sarah Russ, LCSW-C
March usually has me thinking about transitions. There is something about the winds in March and the change in season that reminds me of how people, places, and experiences push into and flow out of our lives. Knowing that transition is a process of life, is only part of it. The next part is considering “the how”, meaning the way we react, respond, or conceptualize the change. As it relates to transition, I would like to center this conversation on self-talk because how we speak to ourselves affects how we deal with transition.
Self-talk combines our conscious thoughts with built-in beliefs and biases to create an internal monologue. Let’s be honest, as the Strong Friend you probably have a difficult time giving yourself grace when you are not transitioning as you’ve imagined. Our inner voice and thoughts may even seep out into spoken word at times. It can be an insidious voice that slides in, sometimes without our awareness. Have you ever challenged how you got your inner voice? Sometimes it may not even be your voice. It could be the voice of a critical family member, a loving parent, toxic friend, former teacher or other voices familiar to us. However, when we are able to give ourselves grace, our inner voice can be our cheerleader giving us the encouragement we need to manage a challenging transition.
I want to end by offering your a seven step process to help you examine self-talk during a transition.
- Determine the best way to examine your thoughts. Is it thinking, writing them down, or saying them aloud?
- Critically examine what your inner voice is saying using the method that works best for you.
- Determine if it is your voice or someone outside of you.
- Give the voice a nickname so you can recognize it.
- Determine if you want to keep this voice. Is it harmful? Is it helpful?
- Make a decision on how you would like to move forward.
- Check in on your progress.
You can always use this process, whether it is a big transition like thinking of changing a job or shifting a relationship. Or, other transitions that happen like starting a new workout routine, eating differently, or spending time with friends/family. Please feel free to share your thoughts with us around transition or if you find these steps helpful.