Let’s Talk

Feel Inadequate?

Q. You last wrote about rebellion leading to poor self-esteem. What about feelings of inadequacy?

A. Let’s Talk! Many people have had a sense of inadequacy – feeling that they are not enough or that they don’t have what it takes. Living in our culture plays into that, but we can recover from that with God’s help. HE becomes our adequacy.

Poor self-esteem is more about reaping the effects of poor choices like toxic, irrational, and untrue thinking and resisting authorities and instruction.What these effects have in common are identity issues. Poor self-esteem is the result of failing in some areas and struggling to “be OK.” The sense of inadequacy is a more vague cloud over us when we are not sure we are OK.

Both poor self-esteem and a sense of inadequacy demonstrate our failure to comprehend God’s love and plan for our lives. Failures and inadequacies on this earth are common. But God doesn’t want us to base our worth or value on things from this earth.

I heard someone say the other day, “I entrust myself to Your loving reception, for everything I am and everything I am not. . . .” What a healthy balance! What acceptance of some things we are and the things we are lacking.

For Deeper Reflection
Matthew 10:29-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.
You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com

Let’s Talk

Reframing and Changing Channels — Part 2

Q. Thanks for your last column on the general process of reframing. Could you give some actual examples, even for small children?

A. Let’s Talk! Yes! Whenever we suffer losses, changes, disappointments, fear, anger, and a host of other thoughts/feelings — reframing is a process whereby we can park those thoughts/feelings and get some insights to set our hearts free from the grip of that stronghold.

It REALLY matters what you are thinking, so it is a good thing to examine what’s going on in your head and heart. At the base of every behavior is a belief system in play, so it makes sense to look at your thinking/feelings. Great clues here!

This process can be easily taught to small children or adults. One may use paper to make the left- and right-hand columns or not use paper at all. The insights (in the right-hand column) also can come from various levels of truth-seeking: from what seems like truth for the situation or actually getting a download from Scripture or even hearing from God. It’s transformational.

This week I’d love to give you a reframing example I have used with small children, not even using paper because they didn’t know how to write yet. It’s a reframing chart of the imagination. During my years as an elementary school counselor, the first week of school was always a challenge. One of the most common challenges was responding well to students who were sure they weren’t going to make it home on the school bus! So, I used their left hand/arm to help them identify their fears. I didn’t tell them, “Do not to feel that way.”

Instead, I listed their fears audibly from what they told me (i.e., “I’m so scared I won’t get home, etc.”). Then I would list on their right hands/arms what was true (i.e., “The truth is, there will be three men on your bus, they have walkie-talkies and telephones, you will have a name tag on, etc.”). Then I stressed to the children to keep their thoughts on the right-hand side and camp there whenever they got scared again. Throughout the day I would see these students, and they would lift their right hand victoriously and smile wide that freedom had come. Yay!!!!!!!!

Next week I will share an example of a spiritual model in bringing truth into the right-hand column of your reframing chart.

For Deeper Reflection

Isaiah 61: 1-3 “. . . He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners. . . to comfort all who mourn . . . giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. . . .”

Ephesians 4:23 “. . . and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind. . . .”

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com.

 

 

Let’s Talk

In Step with Our Thinking

Q. I just feel that I am walking in darkness in my thought life. Can you speak to this?

A. Let’s Talk! This week I caught myself shuffling instead of taking “normal” steps. When I realized it, I was able to make the change. The same is true for our thoughts. When we become dark in our speculations, we can choose to make an intentional change closer to the light.

I have long been passionate about the theme of our thoughts and choices. There is much science about the damage to our bodies (and especially brains) when we make poor choices. Toxic thinking leads to toxic bodies. It is critical to catch ourselves making dark choices. No shuffling!

Speculations in the financial markets are pretty risky, and the same can be true for our own thinking. Scripture talks a lot about speculations. It’s not a good report! Sadly speculation is our processing things in our own steam. Most often it is just deciding some things are true because we “think” they are, but failing to realize they are not based on truth. Then we wonder why we are shuffling in our thought life, being double-minded, unstable in all our ways (see James 1:5-8).

We can speculate all day long, but we can’t find the best path by speculating. A decision I made long ago was to let Scripture be my truth in matters of the heart. Not that I do it perfectly, but I know where to head when I shuffle off the path. Scripture says if we abide in Jesus’ words, they are truth and the truth will set us free (John 8:31-32). Truth and liberty trump darkness every time! There are countless passages about God’s words being light and bringing light to dark passageways.

May I leave you with a homework assignment? How about noticing when there is heaviness in your thinking? Would you journal what’s going on? Then would you ask God to come and change your darkness into light? We’ll talk more next week about further breakthroughs in our thought life.

For Deeper Reflection

Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”
2 Corinthians 10:5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”
Romans 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
2 Timothy 2:23 But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.”

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com.

 

Let’s Talk

How Do I Change My Thinking? – Part 2

 — by Dr. Helen McIntosh  

Q. I see now that I can change my thinking, but I need more information. How do I replace serious stuff and get better?

 A. Let’s talk. Let’s start with my last column post. You learned to replace thoughts by “changing channels,” and you saw how you had the power to choose your thoughts. Hope you have been noticing! Let’s build on that.

Another word for replacing thoughts is reframing, or looking at things in a new way, through a new lens. This next step in thinking about our thinking becomes important when you know that something isn’t healthy and you want to know what’s going on. For years in my counseling and writing, I have asked both adults and children to make a list or left-hand column of troublesome thoughts and feelings. After you make this list, make a right-hand column for the answers we are going to get. Ready? You can then take each thought or feeling and self-reflect on “what’s TRUE” and write down those reflections in the right-hand column.

An example would be the one I gave in my second post about the first grade boys who had anxiety over not getting home on the school bus the first week of school. You may remember that I didn’t tell them “not” to feel that way—it was their reality. I did ask them to make a different list of what was true, like: there were several adult monitors on the bus who had walkie-talkies and telephones, the students had name tags, etc. After making your thoughts/feelings and reflections lists, the third step is the best and most important of all: Focus on the second column truths. Stay tuned into that channel. Even when your mind goes back to the fear, the lie, the betrayal, the poor self-esteem, whatever it is/was—hang a right and focus on what is really true. It will liberate you every time!

For Deeper Reflection

A step above this model is a model for those who wish to seek God’s answer about what is true—not just what you think is true. You still make your list on the left for your thoughts and feelings. You still make a column on the right. You are simply going to ask God to download HIS perspective, HIS insights, HIS TRUTH about the issues of your mind and heart. The answers will come—not audibly, but clearly not from you. The truths will astound you. Write them down. Next step: stay there! Treasure His speaking into your life and setting you free from whatever has you bound up. Check out these verses:

John 8:31-32

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

 

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.