I shared a pretty vulnerable post on Instagram the other day. It all started with a Super Soul podcast episode I listened to with guest Brene Brown. I had a major a-ha moment while listening. I realized I’m an internalizer. I’ve always known this about myself, but I now have a word to associate with my thinking/behavior.
Before I go on, I should share that I’m not proud of being an internalizer. It’s something I’m trying really hard to change.
For those of you who don’t follow me on IG, an internalizer is someone who takes anything/everything people say/do and internalizes it. A very negative story follows – how you need to change, be different/better, etc. All because of someone else’s behavior.
Pretty silly, huh?
While I wish I could just turn off my internalizer tendencies, it’s not that easy. However, changing the story I tell myself is proving easier to do. Easier being a relative term here!
After I made this connection to the podcast episode, I talked to someone about it, and she shared a series of questions I found super helpful. In fact, I’ve already gone through them in my head on several occasions. And I kid you not, the story I told myself definitely changed. In the past, things would often take a very dramatic and unnecessary turn, but this time, I calmed myself down and took a much more practical approach.
Anyways, these questions are awesome, so I thought I’d share. I know I’m not the only one who tells myself some pretty crazy stories sometimes!
- Is there substantial evidence for my thought?
- Is there evidence contrary to my thought?
- Am I attempting to interpret this situation without all the evidence?
- What would a friend thing of this situation and my thoughts about it?
- If I look at the situation more positively, how is it different?
- Will this matter a year from now? How about five years from now?
The core element to consider here is that our thoughts elicit an emotional response which then triggers our behavior. It’s a cycle that can only be broken by changing our thoughts!
In the past, I would’ve read a post like this and been like “oh cool.” In one ear and out the other. But this time around, I’m making an extra effort to analyze my thoughts before acting out my emotions, and I see a HUGE difference already. It’s definitely one of those things you have to practice over and over again until it become second nature…totally worth it though. More than anything, I’m able to get out of my own head and stay calm.
Changing my world one story at a time!