Live or Die by Self Talk
Don’t be such an ass to yourself!
Almost every single song that I have written over the past few years – and there have been many – have been about my marriage.
Oddly enough, it is some of my best stuff – deeply personal, sadly honest and, at the same time, removed. I think it is the “removed” part that concerns me the most because no matter how many times you try to convince yourself of something, the reality always shows up…sometimes moments later, sometimes decades.
It is interesting to me because I spoke to no one about my marriage – no one but myself and my piano. Even today, I find it hard to truly emote my deepest personal sadness, regrets, fears, anxieties and feelings to anyone but the closest of friends but if you pay attention to the notes and the lyrics, it’s all there…even without the lyrics, actually. It can’t hide. I am hoping to embark on recording a lot of my songs and I think it is pretty much the anthology depicting the dissolution of a marriage. (Uplifting, I know- read on!)
I have been trying to impart the importance of letting out feelings to my son who is at the tender age of 14 when he is going through so much emotionally and physically. I want him to understand, as I put in terms that I think any teenage boy could hopefully understand, “feelings are like a fart – you can only hold them in for so long and then it’s gotta come out.”
This week, I listened to my feelings and gut and spoke to a very senior level officer at my company because my gut has been telling me over the past few months that my job may not be secure. The last time I had this feeling, 13 years ago, I had confronted my boss who told me everything was fine only to be laid off 2 months later. My discussion today was honest, candid and sobering. I am hopefully optimistic that things are going to work out at my current job but realize that, just like my divorce, there are certain things that change – out of my control other than to respond in a positive and hopeful manner.
I would be lying if I didn’t feel like I am a loser at this stage of my life – downsizing my home, perhaps my job, my perspective on life, my relationships with my kids as they need me less – it could easily turn into a pity party. I live in a nice neighborhood and when you look at guys similar to me at this stage of life, it seems like they are more where you would think they should be – married, saving money, looking hopefully to the future and enjoying family. The truth is – who the hell really knows?Furthermore, what’s the point? It’s completely irrelevant.
The truth is I can look at the future as an abyss or an incredible clean slate – a chance to start again (to a certain point) but this time with a little more money in the bank and a whole lot more wisdom. The way I have processed things in the past were with bad self-talk (“way to go idiot” “I’m such a loser.”). A recent article that I read in Psychology Today was talking to the incremental, positive impact of self talk that begins with your first name – as if you were talking to a friend. The overall point is that you probably would never talk to a friend in need the way you talk to yourself (and if so, please remove me from your holiday card list).
So, I can turn it around to “Marc – you have a lot going for you and this may be an opportunity to start that business you have dreamt of.” or “Marc – look what you’re doing with comedy and music – that’s a pretty cool thing.”
Try it…what do you need to turn around in your self-talk to cut yourself some slack and take stock of how great you really are? If you give it a chance, maybe I will, too.
Until next time, Marc