I haven’t had an opportunity to talk about Bruce Lee for a while and it occurred to me last time that all this talk about interrupting negative self talk also had me thinking about intercepting them, as in The Way of the Intercepting Fist, aka Jeet Kune Do.
So, let’s interrupt and intercept together! It will be like church, but without all the boring parts. And Bruce Lee is way more charismatic than, well, most people.
Today’s question is: if we get to the place where we interrupt and intercept all those critical, negative self talk messages in the interiority of our minds, what would happen next?
Let me try to ask that question in another way.
What if the negative self talk and critical bs that we throw at ourselves is really only the distracting ruse from the real villain in the movie that is your life?
Let me clarify one more time.
What if the negative self talk is the maladaptive way in which we avoid the real (if only perceived as) danger to ourselves?
Sound promising? I agree.
The real danger, well what is it?
Consider the many things we have been talking about. And I mean since I began this blog. Our fight/flight/freeze response to stress. How shame manifests regarding our failures and perceived weaknesses. Our need for attachment and validation from family and friends and loved ones. Our anger and our frustration when we are denied the latter and held hostage by the former.
What if on some wacky illogical emotional fulcrum, our negative self talk is less damaging to us than the real villain in this story?
What if we do all these terrible things to ourselves to avoid feeling vulnerable?
For a four syllable word vulnerable does have a lot of oomph. But for my money it doesn’t have nearly enough.
I want to suggest that vulnerable is one of the most important words for all of us to consider. Our relationship to it, our experience(s) of it, our beliefs and actions about ours but also others, has a tremendous impact on our mental health, our lives, and our pursuit of happiness.
We as a people have built actual walls in the past to keep out the undesirables, to stave off our (again, perceived) vulnerability to those undesirables. And that idea of building walls to keep undesirables out hasn’t really lost its appeal, unfortunately for voters in the 2016 presidential election. Our negative self talk are the walls we erect within our own interiority to avoid feeling that most terrible of terrible things: our own sense of vulnerability.
In this way of thinking about vulnerability, it is crucial to understand that what we are intercepting, what we are interrupting, is our own personal history regarding the unbearable experience of feeling vulnerable.
That’s something worth fighting, isn’t it?