The email communicating the impending organisational changes popped into Henry’s inbox. His body tense, his chest heavy, and breath shallow, he opened the email and his mind went into overdrive: “If I lose my job, it’ll cause conflict with my wife; we’ll get divorced, sell the house; I’ll be unemployable and eventually chucked out of my sad little bedsit and onto the street…” And this is even before Henry reads what the email has to say.
The 1995 Radiohead song called, “Just” has an amusing yet troubling video. The song includes the chorus: “You do it to yourself, you do; and that’s what really hurts; is that you do it to yourself; just you and no one else; you do it to yourself; you do it to yourself”.
We rarely experience reality directly. Instead, we tend to construct our own as we perceive whatever comes through our senses through filters, biases and interpretations, using our thoughts and beliefs, moods, emotions and habitual behaviour. As individuals, these ideas, beliefs, and behaviours are powerfully reinforced through social agreement within our social groups, wider society, institutions and the media.
We can easily get tangled up in a semi-conscious mind-state of intermingled thoughts, emotions and reactiveness that takes us on a downward spiral. The negative self-talk and mental chatter amplify the frustration, anxiety and low-mood that then reduce our self-worth and limit our cognitive capacity. It’s not as if some external agent has done this to us; we do it to ourselves.
Share on Follow on