Negative self talk

Will’s blog – negative self talk.

Just gotta let it do its thing and not take it at all seriously – its just a story that needs to be told. Doesn’t mean you have to believe it.

[followed by]

If you want a more detailed answer, in evolutionary terms, there is much higher utility in remembering sources of danger than in recalling sources of good things (predators are far less common in an environment than food sources, always – hence the selection pressure).
That was fine when all we had to worry about was big cats and bears and the occasional warlike tribe.

Once we developed language, and the ability to declare value judgements on ourselves, the new systems just meshed into the old systems. Hence we tend to selectively remember the negative judgements we (or others) make about us.

Knowing this helps in a sense, when we are in “helicopter view” mode, but in and of itself changes nothing else.

One technique with proven effectiveness (from many traditions) is to trace the origins of the judgement back in your memories, and retell the story in a positive environment. Our most commonly used memory systems seem to use a destructive read followed by a re-write, which allows us to alter the emotional context associate with any story by retelling it (each retelling adding some aspects of the current environment of the retelling). Hence the proven fundamental unreliability of human memory in courtroom situations – the more coaching you have, or the more you think about an incident, the less reliable the recall (in most cases). Autistic spectrum individuals tend to have higher degrees of eidetic recall (which is not what most people use most of the time) – so it doesn’t work for them – other techniques required.

Really complex topic. Some great neuroscience work available if you’re interested – Ginger Campbell’s brain science podcast is a good place to find summaries of much of the field up to a couple of years ago – she has sorta “gone off the boil” the last two years.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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