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A Father-in-Law’s Wisdom

News, Tips and Other Thoughts

Ever since, say, March 31st we have been reminded time and again of how difficult it is for people to handle the unexpected, the things that run contrary to fair and reasonable assumption.  In this case, we’re talking about the weather.  Some people can only moan and groan about the weather feeling victimized, while others are able to roll with it, finding a way to be accepting of what is and optimistic about what will be, given time and patience.

The difference, we believe, is what people tell themselves, how their inner script works.  And, perhaps the best example of someone close to us whose inner script makes him the man he is – fair, reasonable, philosophical, balanced – is Nancy’s father.  With that in mind, what follows is a short meditation on the influence of what we say to ourselves, day-in and day-out, that determines the meaning and experience of our lives.

A Father-in-Law’s Wisdom

For the last several weeks many of our clients have been talking about the weather – about what an endless winter and relentless, cold early spring it has been.  But it’s not so much about below-freezing temperatures or cold Canadian air masses that people are talking about.  It is the feeling that they are being denied something that has been earned over the last six months: warming sunshine, the bloom of trees and flowers, the song of returning birds, and milder winds that don’t bite.  Mother Nature has been stubborn this year, reluctant to deliver on the promise of warm weather and so it remains largely that: a promise.

And that reminds me of my father-in-law.  Whenever he finds himself in the position of having to put off something that he’d like to do or buy – something that has to be delayed – he has a simple yet elegant way of accepting the choice of not acting in the moment.  He’ll say, “Well, it’s just something that I’ll be able to look forward to [buying or doing] sometime in the future.”  What my father-in-law really is doing is working from an inner script; his way of being philosophical and accepting of things.  It’s how he can be OK with having to make a choice that may not necessarily be his first choice.

What is an inner script?  Essentially, it is what we tell ourselves that gives our experience meaning.  It acts like an automatic, internal default program.  When something happens to us, or when someone says or does something that involves us, our first job before responding is to understand what has been said or done.  The inner script, which already is in-place, will filter “incoming” and give it meaning.  Some people have inner scripts that are healthy, upbeat, and reality-based.  Others have inner scripts that reinforce a negative belief system about self regardless of the content or intent of the “incoming.”  Think about how you react to things.  Are you usually defensive, suspicious, or negative?  Or, do you take things in-stride and find a way to be accepting or philosophical?  In either case, that is your inner script at work.

And, so, there are three questions to ask:  One, do I have an inner script that I’m even aware of that helps me make sense of my life?  Two, if there is, in fact, a script that informs how I respond to the people and events of my life, do I draw upon it consistently, or not?  And, three, do I need to rewrite my script so that it better serves me?

Like my father-in-law, what you tell yourself; what you can be philosophical and accepting of; and how consistently you draw upon a healthy, balanced inner script, will have a big say in the quality of your life.  Enjoy the coming warm weather!!

If you would like to further discuss your inner script, please contact Nancy or Bob at (203) 263-2513 or email us at psychassc@charter.net and we will be happy to schedule an in-office or virtual session to further explore what is on your mind.