1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
    Dismiss Notice

New Program Day 8: The Ignition for Change

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Alan Gordon LCSW, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    Day 8: The Ignition for Change

    Imagine that you're sending your 5-year-old child off to kindergarten for the first time. You pack his little lunchbox, you zip up his backpack, and you beam with pride as he walks into the classroom.

    After school, you pick him up, and see tears in his eyes – some second grader named Johnny had been bullying him on the playground.

    Immediately you spring to action: you hug your kid, you let him know he’s going to be okay, you schedule a meeting with the principal, and you plan on having a little “chat” with Johnny the next day.


    All of these actions are motivated by one thing: love. You care about your kid. You’re not protecting him because you’re supposed to, or because you’re practicing a technique, you’re doing it because it matters to you how he’s treated.

    Learning to Care

    When we scare ourselves, pressure ourselves, and criticize ourselves, it can activate our brains' danger signals and cause pain.

    Tomorrow, we'll begin introducing techniques to help you give your brain a feeling of safety. But the source of motivation matters. Will you be implementing these techniques because you think you're supposed to? (More pressure.) Or will you be using these techniques because you care about yourself...because it matters to you how you're being treated? When you struggle with a technique, will you beat yourself up? (More criticism.) Or will you respond with patience and sympathy?

    In the following clip, notice the transformation that Brandon goes through in just a few minutes:

    Click here to download the mp3 audio file

    Early on, he’s interested in techniques solely so he can get out of pain, but after getting in touch with his own humanity, he actually cares that he’s treating himself so cruelly.

    When there’s true emotional investment, self-care isn't a chore, or a test, it's a genuine pleasure.

    The Process of Change

    For many people, it’s hard to generate a feeling of self-love. You can have all the love in the world for your children, parents, friends, nieces, nephews, co-workers, Instagram followers, favorite athletes, and Disney characters that aren’t even real, but when it comes to your own self, it can be a lot more challenging.

    And I can give you inspirational quotes, or play Christina Aguilera songs telling you how beautiful you are, but the truth is, a poor self-image develops in the same way that everything else does – through learned neural pathways.

    And just as these neural pathways have been learned, they can be unlearned.

    Tomorrow we’ll be covering specific techniques to deactivate your danger signals and work toward teaching your brain to feel safe. And like you did with your hypothetical 5-year-old child, try doing it with compassion, with patience, and with love.

    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
    Nzl, jon10, Katya and 20 others like this.
  2. NicoleB34

    NicoleB34 Well known member

    i dont exactly pressure myself, if anything, i'm a type B personality and i feel guilt over that, like i'm unmovtivated, lazy, and a piece of crap for it. I also blame myself for having pain, and i actually tell people "sorry" for having pain, like, i'm sorry I'm not who i used to be, i'm sorry i'm not that fun girl you used to know. i tell my partner i'm sorry i cant be that mountain biking princess he probably misses and wants and constantly beat myself up that he'll leave. I actually blame myself for being "born broken" as if it was genetic. I suspect these are the thoughts i need to stop immediately. I completely well up whenever i hear these "self care" type threads because i know i treat myself like crap, like i deserved this.
    maryj, Nzl, kim marie and 15 others like this.
  3. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    The scenario about the bullying seems like a fairy tale to me. I was bullied and criticized at home, so I would never have told my parent what happened. I don't remember being comforted or supported by my parents, so I learned to never expect it. The idea of providing it to myself seems nice and I try, but if you have really low self-esteem it's hard to value your own comforting. But part this is part of my recovery journey to be sure.
    Northwood, kim marie, Shiny and 12 others like this.
  4. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Beautiful, compassionate Ellen. You've become a touchstone of grounded kindness, love and support for me and that carries in every post you make. I wish you could experience the wonderful impact you have had here on the forum and in the lives you touch. More than anything I want for you to feel how amazing the love you give is by being able to gift yourself with it. You are such a gorgeous soul. I wish I could show you just how much.
    Katya, Colly, Shine4me and 20 others like this.
  5. Timothy007ish

    Timothy007ish New Member

    I feel a change coming and that's exciting. But scary. Already I am getting anxious.
    These are not difficult concepts to understand, but very hard for me to internalize and then implement.
    When I was a kid my dad's nickname for me was "little shit". I think I've felt like a piece of shit my whole life. I honestly don't feel like I have the confidence to grow up into being a self caring person. Virtually all of my self talk is critical.
    I have a tendency to demand a lot of myself, and push myself hard. You know that you might be driving yourself hard when your boss is telling you to take it easy.
  6. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ahhhh, my eyes are leaking (which is a phrase I stole from @Lily Rose :)).
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I find it helps to think about or make a list of the best things I've accomplished.
    Also, to think about the people who love me and whom I love. And that includes my dogs over the years.

    Some further thoughts on developing self-love:

    10 Wonderful Ways To Practice Self-Love

    By Nitika Chopra, a certified life coach, wellness entrepreneur, go-to resource for young women around the globe, and a motivational lifestyle guru.

    I know the whole self-love thing is being talked about all over the place right now, but most people still have no clue what that even means! It really means something different for each person, because we all have many different ways to show that we love ourselves. The real question is, why should we even care?

    I've found that when I feel my lowest, when my body has been the most sick and when I am bombarded with the most self-deprecating thoughts, the only thing to pull me up and out is drenching myself in self-love.

    If you still feel confused or lost on where to start with your own self-love conversation, don’t worry; I've put together a list to help you get started.

    1. Create a self-love ritual.

    Turn off the TV and unplug from social media for 15 minutes to get centered while self-pampering. My favorite way to do this is to moisturize my skin with intention. As I massage my feet I thank them for getting me to where I need to go; as I moisturize my hands I love them for all the transactions and introductions they've helped me with throughout my life. I stop taking my body and my life for granted and relish how blessed I am while showering myself with gratitude.

    2. Build a precious community.

    As much as we would like to think we can, we can’t do everything ourselves. You need the support and love from people around you to stay motivated and on track. Positive energy is contagious, so whether you’re building a network or planning to go to a fun event, it’s always important to have a community you value around you regularly.

    3. Make a “What’s Working for Me" list.

    You always hear that to love someone else you must first learn to love yourself. But In order to really love yourself sometimes you have to recognize all the love you have around you. One of the practices I do when I’m feeling down is to go within and acknowledge what's really working, then make a “What’s Working for Me” list. Once you see it on paper and accept all of the positivity in your life, it will make it that much easier to love yourself.

    4. Know that your body is a loving vessel.

    Treating your body like a loving vessel will not only boost your self-love, but also your energy. Be intentional about what you put into your body, not only because you want to look good but because you want to feel good. Feeding your body nutrient-rich foods will have you oozing love out of every pore.

    5. Clean out your closet.

    This may be more therapeutic than you initially think. Cleaning out your closet will help you not only clean your room up a bit, but will positively affect your mind. Getting rid of old things will make room for new things to come in to your life! Cleansing your mind can sometimes work in the form of letting go of clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. that remind you of a certain time in your life that links to a negative vibration. Don’t chase what’s already happened; love yourself enough to know the best is yet to come.

    6. No more comparisons.

    We’ve all done it. Browsed through social media only to see our favorite media personalities in the middle of a photo shoot for their new books, just after they had awesome shopping sprees and right before the post about their engagements. WHAT!? I know it's hard to look at so many positive pics on the Internet, or even in your own life, and know that everyone has bad days. The next time you want to browse the web for reasons to feel bad about yourself, remember that you are perfect just the way you are; being in a pattern of compare and despair only makes you focus on the negative, when there's SO much to be grateful for.

    7. Explore your spirituality.

    Faith is the foundation for self-love, no matter what you believe. Believing in something opens up your soul to the beauty of belief and trust. It will build your intuition and help you make decisions based on your gut. When you explore your spirituality it will also take you on a journey to learning things about yourself and those new thoughts, feelings, passions, and raw emotions will make you appreciate yourself for being authentically you.

    8. Do something you're good at.

    If this isn’t the ultimate self-esteem booster, I don’t know what is! Self-esteem and self-love often go hand in hand, and participating in a hobby you're good at will not only boost your endorphins, but will bring out the best version of you. If you love to cook, then cook! If you love to run, then grab those sneakers, head outside and run for your life.

    9. Find your happy place.

    Think of a place that makes it simple to just be. That means being able to sit quietly and embrace the here and now. Not thinking about what's due at work or what bills need to be paid, you owe this happy place to yourself. Self-love is all about connecting with yourself, and one of the easiest places to do that is your happy place.

    10. Build your letting go muscle.

    We're constantly holding on to things in our past, and it can tend to weigh heavy on our souls and even give us low self-esteem. The more blocks we clear, the more we can really live big in the area of self-love. Although we may do this as a way to protect ourselves from hurting, it’s really only holding us back from moving forward to reaching optimal self-acceptance and loving who we are.
  8. itmsw

    itmsw Peer Supporter

    Yes I can definitely relate to todays teaching and with everyone's comments. I have noticed that I feel pressured from the time I wake up that these internal loops that go on in my head that Im not even aware of that I must walk, stretch, meditate, read this book, see this therapist or I wont get better- and it is pressure on myself, but hard to stop because I want to get better and every physical therapist or doctor or mind-body therapist person like Feldenkrais or meditation expert says, you need to do this everyday or you will further deteriorate. I too am very embarrassed about my physical limitations and pain and apologize to people and because that it is embarrassing and I am so embarrassed I have stopped my social connections to just focus on getting better and I dont want to feel embarrassed about my physical/emotional state. I realize it is hard for people to understand because I can barely understand why I cant sit for more than 20 minutes before feeling pain, and cant stand for more than five minutes before feeling pain. I was in a relationship that began about ten years ago and I ended it two years ago because it was so hard to juggle being there as a girlfriend and needing to do things to try to reduce my pain level. It was the most difficult thing I ever did and to this day I wonder if it was the right thing to do. Yes I also find it hard to self-love- I dont know if i ever really learned that.
    maryj, paulee304, kim marie and 8 others like this.
  9. Fabi

    Fabi Well known member

    I was called a name by my ex husband. Connected to my everyday usual complain about pain
    He never ment to inflict more pain.
    I often don' t know what l need. I often can' t feel what my body needs. Today l am going to a yoga class. I rest confident it is near to what l need to take care of me.
    kim marie and plum like this.
  10. MentorCoach

    MentorCoach Peer Supporter

    This can be very true, Ellen.
    shira and Ellen like this.
  11. RozieHolland

    RozieHolland Peer Supporter

    Both of my parents were denied at birth. My mother because she was born before marriage, her father tried to drown her.
    My father because he had red hair, his mother shaved him baldly because she was ashamed.
    I am a product of them. How can I have any self-esteem. I felt worthless my whole life.
    At 40 I began with therapy. I did every kind of therapy.
    At 50 I started my own practice,It went very well. Until my backpain game back.
    I went to therapy again. It goes well for a while, but it's still coming back, the pain. It sneaks in.
    At this moment it is very bad, I feel week. My whole back is tensed.
    It is still difficult for me to shift my attention.
  12. Ines

    Ines Well known member

    I agree with Plum. You and Plum have helped me so much. You guys were even in my dream once. Your supporting and kind words have steered me in the right direction and every day my life gets better. Thank you so much : )
    suky, plum, Lily Rose and 1 other person like this.
  13. Wolf24

    Wolf24 New Member

    I just want to commend Alan for this program and the study he and Dr. Schubiner will be embarking on. Such a worthy cause. I definitely made sure to donate to the study, as the help of this Wiki along with Alan's programs have been instrumental during my healing process. Although I'm not fully healed yet, I know I will get there when my mind is ready. I know it's best not to rush it, however much I wish I could. :)
  14. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    This is one of the saddest things I've eve read. Nicole, this is not who you are, it's just what you do. And there's a difference.

    When I was 20, I read a book on Buddhism. It said that all life is valuable, and why kill a bug in your house when you can spend an extra 30 seconds and put it outside. That made sense to me so I started taking the extra 30 seconds to trap bugs and put them outside. I still didn't care about the bugs, but I acted as if I did.

    And then a strange thing happened, after a month or two, I started to care. I'd put the bugs outside, and feel happy that I'd saved their tiny little lives.

    Let me save you the suspense - you're not going to stop these self-critical thoughts immediately. But with awareness, practice, and patience, you can over time.

    You believe that you deserve abuse because you were taught that, you believed it, and you repeat it. That's it. That is the only reason. There is no objective truth to that belief, and it is not set in stone.

    And as you hear these thoughts pop into your mind, you have two possible ways of interpreting them:
    1. I am having these thoughts because they are true.
    2. I am having these thoughts because I was taught them, I believed them, and I repeated them for so long.

    Take the road less traveled. Just that alone can start changing the foundation of your self-esteem.

  15. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    You cannot steal that which is given freely and with Love <3
    Lunarlass66, Ellen and plum like this.
  16. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    And I wish to echo these very words ... <3
  17. jdb49

    jdb49 New Member

    Today's lesson really hit home! For some reason, I had not been very enthusiastic about the lessons until today. It was like I've heard it all before and read all the books, including those by the great late John Sarno. But Alan's post today (especially the audio segment) made me realize just how self-critical I am. It is constant day and night. The list seems endless. I criticize myself for not painting the shed, for not taking better care of the garden, for not staying in better touch with friends, for putting off a long-neglected writing project... All of these things may need doing, but the constant criticism is not accomplishing a thing. It needs to stop! NOW!
    And I must begin right now to show myself more compassion! I already feel a bit better from realizing this.
    Isn't it amazing how often we need what should be obvious pointed out to us. Thanks to Alan and all my fellow TMS compatriots.
    suky, chemgirl, Amatxu and 5 others like this.
  18. Benjuwa

    Benjuwa New Member

    This sound so close to where I was at 2 years ago, I was trying to get off all the meds or reduce them trying to find a doctor that would work with me instead of just changing to different meds. I found a young Doctor and I found Dr. Schubiner's web site Unlearn Your Pain. Well I pushed myself so hard I started having panic attacks and bad anxiety when thing Dr. Schubiner said to me was to work self compassion books by Kristen Neff and Christoper Germer. This started to make since because I had always beat myself up if make a mistake or did not get it perfect. I was brought up this way. One thing Dr. Scubiner had explained to me was tell yourself "You are Good Enough" this is helping me ground myself when I start to get down on myself and another thing more people want be around me, my wife and I are starting to get closer and this what I wanted for the longest time!! It works I am getting my life back. So hang in there and take those small steps because they turn into miles :)
  19. itmsw

    itmsw Peer Supporter

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and what has helped you. I certainly need positive self statements to replace the negative ones running around my head. I will also have to check out those self compassion books! Thank you again! I am glad things have been turning around for you!
    Katya and Lily Rose like this.
  20. Ewok

    Ewok Peer Supporter

    I just wanted to say that I know how you feel. I could have written much of what you wrote. I also have pelvic pain and make those same apologies and have the same thoughts. I kind of thought they were my brain trying to help me be a better person. Alan's reply is pretty enlightening. Best of luck. We can change this.
    Francis.Antonius and MWsunin12 like this.

Share This Page