Anne Lamott’s book “Bird by Bird” is a fascinating account on how to write. It’s observational and highly personal. I recommend it.
One of her chapters deals with self-conversation. She calls the voices in her head (I mean that in a nice way) Radio Station KFKD, which stands for K-F**KED. I think you can fill in the blanks.
K-F**KED sometimes plays in my head. It used to play a lot more in the pre-medication days. One of the loudest placed it would play was on the golf course. When I hit a couple of bad shots, the station would come in crystal clear. Self-loathing came first. Then came “You suck”, followed by a fast chorus of “I hate this game”. The last waltz was usually a round of “I wish I could quit this game.”
One of the most important parts of the game of golf is the mental game. If you don’t have your brain in the right place, then you are going to louse up your golf game. Everything focuses on the most important thing in the world at that very second: HITTING THE BALL. You can’t do anything else right now. You have to hit the ball. When the wheels come off the track, it’s all over. Don’t believe me? Watch a major championship in golf. Consider Rory McGrath at The Masters. I guarantee you he had K-F**KED playing loud and clear on the back nine Sunday afternoon.
Another place this station likes to butt in is the night before big events in a congregation. Consider funerals or weddings or voters meetings. People can sometimes say and do very strange things at these events that make a pastor look like a fool. The way certain people treat pastors is another post for another day. At any rate, K-F**KED used to get going days before the event. “You’re a failure.” “You are compromising.” “This family is merely placating you. They will find a pastor they love because (fill in the blank) and you will get the shaft!” “One of these days, the other shoe will drop and people will hate you.” “This meeting will be a catastrophe.” “No one has your back.”
One of the nuggets I’ve picked up in studying EQ (Emotional Intelligence) is how to control, or even silence, your self-conversation. There is a way to turn down, or even turn off K-F**KED. One way it has stopped for me is medication. Another way is learning how to be confident and not let your inner thoughts control your outer behavior. It is not a lesson easily learned. You have to control body language. You have to watch yourself like a hawk. You can’t let your inner conversation control your outer conversation.
How do you learn this skill? Practice. Lots of practice. For me it was practice and 150mg of Effexor XR (I take the generic). Sometimes medicine can be a powerful help to controlling the volume level of K-F**KED.
Don’t let the voices in your head ruin your life. Learn a little behavior modification. Learn to love silence in order that your body and your brain can tune out K-F**KED and tune in something a little more positive.