Taking Out the “Mental Trash” – It’s Better Than a New Knee

Posted by on January 24, 2010 in Financial Therapy, Musings | 0 comments

See if you can top this … My Dad got a new knee for Christmas.

The old one had been bothering him for years. For several years, over-the-counter meds and strengthening exercises helped and enabled him to delay surgery. Then he tried injections of a lubricant gel that is derived from chicken combs. And this, too, provided some relief and delay. But eventually, he could no longer postpone the inevitable. It was time for a knee upgrade – to “Knee 2.0.” Knee 2.0 is a stainless steel replacement that will, after rehabilitation, allow him to walk in comfort for decades to come.

I saw my Dad a few weeks ago, just after the 28 post-operative staples were removed. He was walking with the assistance of one crutch, yet there was a gleam in his eye that said the pain of the process was worth it, and he eagerly anticipates the renewed sense of freedom he will have thanks to the knee pain being vanquished.

This tangible truth is mirrored in the intangible world. Sometimes we carry thought patterns with us long after they have exceeded their useful life.

Once upon a time, they may have worked for us. They may have even helped us survive. But in our present circumstances, they are no longer necessary or desirable.

Let me start with a simplistic example. “Don’t talk to strangers.” Did you hear that one as a child? Indeed, at certain points in life, such directives may have kept us safe. But as an adult, do you still let that shape your daily interactions? Probably not. So why is it that other messages seem to stick, even though they’re just as out-dated?

How about this one – “You will never amount to anything.”

Even as we transition into adulthood, gain more influence over our world and our choices, some messages stay ingrained in us. So much so, that we never stop to question if they are true, accurate, or applicable. They can be like white-noise – stealthfully shaping our day-to-day decisions without even registering at a conscious level.

Sometimes we can get by for a time – despite their presence. But how much freer might we live if we were able to discard these worn-out lies for something more suiting – something true and life-giving?

Just like my Dad’s knee surgery, this is a process, and it may involve pain. But in the end, you can be set free.

The first step is to become aware of your inner dialogue. For some, these thoughts are like Old Faithful. When we get tired, stressed, angry, or lonely, we know what’s going to pop up. Others aren’t as obvious. So become an investigator. When you feel dis-ease whirling around inside of you – take a seat and observe your thoughts. Listen for old worn out messages and write them down.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll walk you through the process of challenging distorted, worn-out, painful thoughts and lies. I hope you’ll join me for the journey.

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