We all engage in negative self-talk. These are the conversations we have with ourselves in our heads that spiral from “oops I made a mistake” to “I’m the stupidest person on the planet”. Negative self- talk stems from many messages we received as children called Garbage Messages. Terri and Tamara have been talking about some of the Garbage Messages that we are given and put into our basket. If you find any of the following seemingly innocent messages in your basket, really look at it and decide if you need to keep it there, or throw it away. Garbage Messages (unhealthy messages that make us feel bad and unloved):
Anything worth doing is worth doing well. While this message is usually given with good intentions, it sends a point to strive for perfectionism every time! You must succeed no matter what the cost. Perfectionism messages are strong and damaging in every sense. Sometimes the experience that the person is engaged in can be rewarding, whether or not the person is perfect. Not everyone can be a perfect swimmer, but some of us like to swim anyway!
Money does not grow on trees. This message has an underlying message of judgment. The message is being sent by someone who does not agree with what the spender has purchased. While it is important to manage money in a responsible way, not everyone will agree on what they want to spend money on. We see this become a big issue in marriage counseling. Individuals need to experience success and failure when it comes to money so they develop their own value system with regards to finances.
You can do better. This statement is another message of judgment that states what you are doing is not good enough. Individuals can look into themselves to decide if you are doing as well as you can. Look to your own judgment to decide if you did well enough, not someone else’s.
I told you so! This power statement delivers a clear message that you should have listened to the deliverer and you are wrong! This garbage message is a tough one to hear, and sometimes difficult not to say! This message oozes judgment and lends to feelings of shame. The implication can lead to feelings of inferiority, incapability, and lack of confidence on one’s decision making and creating codependency.
Don’t air your dirty laundry. Another way to say this is do not talk about your problems and do not ask for help. This message is awash in undercurrents of distrust, fear, and perfectionism. While you may not want to make your personal problems your Facebook Status Update, it is healthy to find a trusted friend or professional and talk about what is bothering you. It is unhealthy to bottle up your feelings.
Blood is thicker than water. This is a clear message that family loyalty comes first, whether or not it is deserved. Sometimes friendships are better for you than family members. You cannot choose your family members, but you can choose whether or not to be with them! Everyone has choices as to with whom you feel loyalty. Loyalty is earned and not everyone deserves it!
All of these garbage messages have underlying implications that you cannot trust yourself. It is a dangerous and destructive message to send, receive and carry around. Do you have room in your basket for these kinds of messages? Do you want them there? Would you rather carry a basket of garbage or flowers?
Tune in tomorrow and Friday as Natalie and Joleen talk about flower messages!
As always, thanks for reading!
Written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT
Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT is a licensed therapist and Registered Play Therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Alexa enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Alexa also does play therapy, family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield