What is it?
I never trusted it in my past.
It always seemed liked a cop out, or weak, or, gosh darn it… just plain weird.
My mind would always go to the old SNL skit with Al Franken, “Daily affirmations with Stuart Smalley.”
But thinking like that is what was keeping me locked up in my negative mentality jail cell.
I have a book that I wrote titled, “Killing Suicide,” that details the depression and alcoholism that I struggled with since the age of 13.
In 2014 that all came to a head.
In 2016 I started working out and really taking care of myself.
One component that I focused on was “mental fortitude.”
Which is odd, because I taught my kids all about it as they were growing up.
I knew how important mental fortitude was, from the fact that I didn’t feel I had any, due to my personal “issues.”
Now as adults they have thanked me for preparing them to meet the world head on.
Learning self talk for men, and especially for me, can be hard. It just seems so…. blehh!
But through the work of getting to know how I’m built, and who I am, has shown me that the negative, critical, voice that pops up from time to time can be told “No.”
The most recent episode came during a long work weekend. Working twelve hour shifts can get long. It always seems the second day really gets to you. You just feel empty.
I could feel my body fatiguing, getting more tired than usual, earlier than usual.
Then my mind fatigued.
But now after having learned a thing or two, I was able to use my self talk… I call it “talking to myself,” but in a good way. To combat it.
The negative voice feels like a lead weight sitting directly on my brain, and then it has a voice that can think up the worse case scenario for any situation, and if there isn’t a situation at hand… it will just make something up that’s horrible.
It weighs me down.
The difference now… I recognize it for what it is. And it isn’t me.
I talked myself through my work shift, at one point just looking to the next task, and saying… to myself… “Just get there, keep moving.”
Lack of sleep can really mess with a brain.
I was able to get a second wind with an hour to go. I wish I could say I finished strong… but I can’t, but I did finish, hitting all of my marks.
The next day I slept in. Hard!
I was able to wake up all bright eyed and bushy tailed.
The last day of work was great. I was a new man.
In the past when that would happen, it could, and would, trigger a downward spiral of negative emotions, that on more than one occasion had me contemplating taking my own life… or if it wasn’t “too bad,” it would allow me to go on a three day drinking binge… and then I would think of killing myself… they call it spiraling downward, like you eventually get to a bottom… but I never did, it seemed like I did, but I really felt like I was in a constant downward spiral, over and over again.
Learning that, positive self talk, is a very real, and powerful tool for maintaining mental and emotional health, has been a game changer for me.
Learning that I have the ability, authority, and responsibility, to tell my negative mental states “No,” has allowed me to move forward as an Emerging Man.
It’s not easy.
But remember… an Emerging Man does hard things.