It’s a new year, and ten days in you are already saying things to yourself like: “I already blew it!” “If only I were stronger, I wouldn’t feel like this.” “I should be over this by now, I shouldn’t struggle.” “I give up, nobody believes in me, I’m not worth believing in.” “My issues aren’t real, I’m just a bad person.” Then this is your sign to put the lighter down, this is classic self-gaslighting and it won’t get you anywhere!
What is gaslighting? As defined by www.psychologytoday.com, “is an insidious form of manipulation and psychological control. Victims of gaslighting are deliberately and systematically fed false information that leads them to question what they know to be true, often about themselves. They may end up doubting their memory, perception, and even their sanity. Over time, a gas lighter’s manipulations can grow more complex and potent, making it increasingly difficult for the victim to see the truth.”
What is self-gaslighting? As defined by www.psychologytoday.com, “is when we pick up the torch from the gas lighter. We internalize their abuse (or lack of protection from it) and begin to gaslight ourselves.”
The way we talk to ourselves matters! The hardest part – only you can control your thoughts. That’s not gaslighting, that’s fact. Start small. The next time the negative thoughts start, say to yourself, “BLOW IT OUT!” Put notes in the places that might light that negative fire. If every time you look in the mirror you say negative things in your head, put up the post-it “blow it out!” If every time you get on your treadmill you think about how hard it is, how far you’ve let yourself go, how you’ll never be fit, no, we aren’t doing this! Put a post-it on the treadmill and “blow it out!” Over time, this will be your new go-to, no gas needed!
Adding gas to the fire builds pressure, just ask famous scientist Bill Nye (www.billnye.com). He shares that when you push something, you’re using pressure. When you add gas to a flame, it’s adding so much pressure that there’s a combustion that happens that is wildly dangerous. The National Fire Prevention Association (www.nfpa.org) begs people not to add gasoline to fires, reminding them that gasoline wasn’t created for starting fires and that the flames can jump back to the can that poured it and causes life-threatening injuries or death. So why, why would you add gasoline to your own life? Why would you pour gasoline on your own precious thoughts or anyone else’s? Remember, gasoline can follow its way back to the can that poured it and causes damage, so even gaslighting others is dangerous.
Long story short, if you have goals for yourself, and we all should! Part of your goal should be to achieve them! If you are setting goals, making plans, coming up with ideas, or making commitments just to gaslight yourself out of them, that’s dangerous territory. You know what’s a whole lot safer than playing with gas when it comes to lighting a healthy spark in your life, breathing! Yes, oxygen! Oxygen doesn’t explode and taking deep breaths won’t make your dreams and desires implode. Joe Carlson of www.mentalhealthcare,com states, “Oxygen is not flammable…it can make things ignite…oxygen does not catch on fire.” Stop setting yourself on fire, blow out those negative thoughts. This can be your year, this can be your month, your day, your hour, and even your minute. Take a breath and ignite something new and wonderful and put down the lighter.
Director of The Wellness Center