I want to investigate the concept of “negative self-talk” with you. “Negative self-talk” is rampant in our culture, especially with adolescents who are feeling stuck in their day to day illusions. Because many have been sucked into the television, computer and phone, it is easy to get stuck and live in a state of constant stagnation, depression, anxiety and self-deprication. Sadly, the psychosocial constructs that have become the new norm as a result of social media like facebook and twitter are allowing negative self-talk to perpetuate it’s unforgiving cycle. If these forms of social media are not properly monitored they can become a monster and take on a perception of their own. The avatar’s that suggest elated marriage, tons of friends, endless parties and visits to the family yacht have replaced a simple cup of tea with a friend who needs a smile or to hear, “it’s going to be ok.”
When I was young someone was always around to take time out and say, “it’s going to be ok” and I’m grateful that online social media was not around when I was young. I feel like I had a childhood, I played with the worms in the dirt and ran through the forest with fairy wings on. We need to take time away from technology to reconnect again with our youth, our elderly and ourselves. Eating disorders and ADHD are currently an epidemic with adolescents and as much as there might be genetic roots, the constant speeding of our culture has allowed these types of struggles to blossom into full-blown epidemics. If there is any light at the end of the tunnel it is that while I think that technology is getting faster I also believe that it’s getting more precise and information will become more fine-tuned. I’m hoping that with more accessible accurate information we can maybe get back to connecting with a balance between technology and tangible life. Beyond being useful for self-promotion and search engine optimization, forms of social media like facebook and twitter are built on glass and it is clear that nothing false can build long-standing roots.
So why do I want to remedy negative self-talk so badly, especially when it comes to our youth? I was once unaware of how bad my own struggle with negative self-talk was. I was in middle school and I felt awful about myself and I remember at the time feeling like my future was hopeless. I was fourteen years old and I wasn’t even exposed to social media, can you imagine what the adolescents these days are dealing with. As I got older I was blessed with a wonderful therapist who helped me find the root of my inner dialogue and held space for me while I worked through my unhealthy patterns. I write this because I can’t bear to think of one more child who is being bullied on some form of social media and decides to take his/her life as a result. The pressures of adolescence are insane and it’s amazing any of us survive it let alone thrive after it.
Much of the youth of today is focused on material wealth and the obsession with instant gratification. Given the current speed of technology and the focus of all forms of media I cannot blame them for wanting what has been dangled in front of them like a golden carrot. Reality television has more weight than going for a walk out in nature or meeting up with a friend to play sports at the local park. It’s time to remember and to remind our children who we are.
If you are the parent of a child who deal with negative self-talk and you are reading this, put the computer away and go spend some time with your child investigating their inner dialogue because you might not even realize what they are going through. If you yourself are struggling with negative self-talk I highly recommend that you take time in silence to reconnect with your inner self and that you unplug from all of the to-do’s of the day for at least an hour. Find time to spend out in nature, connect with a friend in person or work in your garden to clear your mind. There is hope for every single one of us no matter what our past has held and if you are struggling with negative self-talk you owe it to yourself to hit the reset button because not only do your thoughts have power, they have possibility.