Article by Irving Schattner
Edit and post design by Christy Zigweid
Photo by PixArc via Pixabay made using @WordSwagApp
Too often, people take mistakes as a sign of personal failure. This core belief often comes from messages acquired from family of origin during one's formative years, as well as traumatic or distressing experiences. One then carries these messages through later life, impacting our thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. Coming to define our self-concept and worldview, messages acquired in earlier years may no longer be relevant or adaptive towards healthy functioning in the roles we carry as adults.
So, in our adulthood, continuing to hold on to outdated messages leaves us developmentally stunted and, therefore, incapable of handling the stressors and challenges of daily living.
Healing comes through the awareness that messages acquired in earlier years (our “inner child”) don't serve us in later life, and acquiring the skills to actively challenge negative thought patterns and self-sabotaging behaviors. For many of you this is a most daunting task for which you feel ill-equipped, leading you to give up before trying. Others will make minimal progress in applying knowledge acquired through the internet, self-help materials, or even through well-meaning but untrained mental health professionals, only to slip back into old patterns which reinforce anxiety, worry, frustration, depression, and low self-esteem.
There is Help...
Like many of you, I used to suffer with severe anxiety. My anxiety originated with the messages I acquired early in life, carrying me into adulthood. Like many of you, these negative messages zapped my energy, deprived me of the courage to take advantage of opportunities that came my way, and kept me in a continual cycle of worry and despair from which I could not see my way out. That was until I finally mustered the courage to seek professional help. In doing so, I literally changed my life for the better. I had a mentor who lead by example, one who understood what it was like to live with anxiety, yet mustered the courage and resolve to change. One who made me aware of how my negative messages came to be. One who showed me how to actively challenge (dispute) these messages and replace them with more realistic, truthful and supportive statements. One who made me aware how negative thought patterns led to self-sabotaging behaviors (including avoidance). To my mentor, I am eternally grateful, for I now live with joy, purpose and direction. Through my own journey, I learned not to fear anxiety but actively face it, talk back to it, challenge it, and channel it. My mission, as a psychotherapist who specializes in treating anxiety and depression, is to help other anxiety and depression sufferers achieve the freedom which I’ve come to know.
About the Author - Irving Schattner, LCSW
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