Day #2: Witnessing the battlefield
Here we are - day #2 of (En)Lighten Up!
Life includes experiences of conflict. In our childhood years during development we can experience conflict with our parents, siblings, and friendship groups. In our adolescent years we introduce romantic partners to the cauldron of conflict we can experience. Some of us may even have a brush with the law at some point. Throughout our education and in our careers there may be conflict with colleagues, educators and bosses. Some traditions are very clear
I’m missing a huge source of conflict in this introduction, aren’t I? It’s that part of you that just said “you betcha!” that is implicated in a great deal of the conflict we experience, isn’t it? Internal conflict – which is not always negative and certainly has it’s place in the process of our development. But, the culprit for much of our internal conflict is negative self-talk.
There... I said it... What? We can negative self talk, can’t we? Or is that like saying “Voldemort” instead of referring to “he who shall not be named”?
No I didn’t set out to reference Harry Potter again so soon, but it feels fitting for today. For those of you reading for the first time, yesterday I linked ‘Dementors’ with that negative self talking ‘Scaremonger’ some of us might recognise inside of us. I mentioned that my scaremonger can hold me back from being my best.
Ya know, I’m actually quite happy to add Voldemort to the variety of characters we conjure up when seeking to understand the nature and impact of our internal conflict – those battles we have inside ourselves. I’m not afraid because our inner dialogue influences how we think, feel, and act; and the more effectively we can recognise and relate to our self-talk, the better we can engage with them (us) instead of avoiding them (us). Characterising and visualizing our self-talk can help us to see those parts of ourselves as if they were an actor playing a role. We can separate ourselves (the real unchanging ‘consciousness’ we are) from the movie or play that is unfolding in our field of awareness, as if we were sitting on the couch or in the stalls witnessing the battle with some distance.
Who goes to battle in you?
So, for day #2 of (En)Lighten Up, I welcome you to identify, visualize, and characterize your negative self-talk. Call “Voldemort” by his name if you notice him in there. Or, is there another character who plays Scaremonger and runs amok when you are gripped by in internal conflict? And, instead of retreating and avoiding from them, can we open up to what is present and explore curiously the different characters – their images, their language and tone, their personality, motives and agenda, etc.?
Let’s not perpetuate the avoidance and aversion.
Let's open up to the dark sides of ourselves.
Let's own up to them being there.
Let's curiously examine them - openly and acceptingly.
Let's form a relationship with them, because the constant battling can be the thing that holds us back from being our best. The thing nightmares and Harry Potter films are made of...
“Easier said than done, Adrian”
Hey, who said that?