Healing relationships – the starting point: self-talk (part 1)

Post written by Orsolya Hernold

As people, we are social creatures living in bonds of relationships. Some of these relationships are loving, where we are equal partners and some are challenging to participate in or even just to endure. Loving relationships need constant attention, nurturing as well (I will write about this later), but maybe you are more interested in how you can heal or even make a little bit more endurable your relationships where you are challenged.

Since we are not alone in this play, we tend to wait or expect the other person to change, and we end up being stuck in a relationship causing pain for years. We might give suggestions, tell the other what she / he needs to do differently, but it is up to her / him whether she / he will make the change or not. It is not in our hands, we do not have the capacity to control the situation this way. Long time can pass and our passive attitude does not bear fruit.

Relationships will change if one of the participant changes. Maybe it will be only a change inside you, but that is change also. There are different levels of changing our attitude in a relationship, and I will start a series about the different steps you can take. Years of pain, disappointment will not cease in a jiffy, but conscious work can give you a peaceful state of mind.

As a starting point, write down the story of your relationship. When did it start? What were you like then? What were your feelings, thoughts toward this person? What reactions, words did you get from her / him? Try to be as detailed and objective as possible – as if you were watching the movie of your life. Reliving these experiences can be tough, but very useful to know where to start. Come back to it a couple days later and see if you have missed something, complete the writing if needed, concentrate on facts – what did really happen?

You have written the story of your relationship – it can be a few words or long pages, it depends on you. The next step would be to investigate your self-talk in this relationship.

What is self-talk? Imagine that you are about to meet this person, then suddenly a record starts to play in your head. Usually it has repetitions, and can go on for hours. You relive your meetings, the voice can remind you of all the pain and anger, and is concluded with the “what will I say next time?” sentence that usually does not happen. Things of the past are blended with wishes and plans, but usually we do not have the willpower to make those plans a reality. It is like a mantra, reinforcing the present state of your relationship.

Try to catch these words, and write them down. Be honest with yourself and write down everything – even things you are ashamed of or you would not say out loud.

What is your self-talk like? Learn about yourself and identify how you talk to yourself! Can you change your self-talk? Can you interrupt the record playing and change a sentence to another? Try it and make some notes of your findings.


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