What’s playing on your mental tape?



By Weston Crafton, Refuge Center intern

Have you ever seen someone who tries so hard to be perfect, to be and do everything for their kids, their spouse, their co-workers, their church family, etc.? Yet, have you noticed no matter how hard this person tries to be the best mom/dad, wife/husband, or friend to others, when you talk to them they tell you how they are not doing enough – or that they wish to be so much better? Does this sound like you? So many people are living their life each day trying to outdo themselves or others. It seems as if they are trying to meet this unspoken, but very much alive, benchmark for success. The problem is, no matter what they do or how hard they try, they never reach this ever-changing goal. And in the process, they find themselves feeling anxious or depressed.

If this sounds like you, you are not alone. In today’s culture many are trying so hard to “look good and do good” so that they may feel “good” about themselves. But what if there was a better way to begin to feel better about you? One way is to begin to listen to your mental tapes. Whether you realize it or not, we all have mental tapes we play in our minds each day. These tapes contain messages, or beliefs, that we repeat back to ourselves – and believe. Some may be positive messages, while others may be negative. For example, a message playing on your tape may be “I am not a good mother and never will be no matter what I do.” Regardless of whether or not your husband or kids agree with you, the fact is as long as that message is playing on your mental tape – you will believe it, and it will impact your feelings and behaviors. Perhaps such a message is the reason why you constantly are overbooking your schedule to the point of emotional exhaustion and overwhelming anxiety. But the good news is, there is hope. You don’t have to live this way!

An easy way to find out what is playing on your mental tapes is to use the ABC method. The next time something happens in your life – which we will call A – stop to examine what your belief about yourself is – which represents the B – and then pay attention to the consequence (your feelings and actions) of that belief – the C – and how it impacts you.

If you would like someone to walk with you on your journey of examining and erasing your mental tapes, we would be honored to do so. Please contact The Refuge Center to set up an appointment with one of our therapists.

Here is a resource you can read for more insight on this topic:

Stoop, David (1996). You Are What You Think. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell.

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