Get Lost Carl: Tackling Self-Doubt

September 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

Carl thinks I’m not a very good writer. Carl tells me I should be working harder at my day job, that I should be getting up earlier, and that I’m have no clue what I’m doing in most areas of my life.  If Carl sounds like an asshole, that’s because he is.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been trying out a new fangirl therapy technique that I’d like to share with with you. Like any writer, or any human for that matter, sometimes I struggle with negative thinking. Turning off self-doubt is about as easy turning off gravity, and even when you know that you’re being irrational, it can seem impossible to do anything different.

So I decided that I would give my negative thoughts a name. In narrative therapy, we call this “externalizing” a problem. If I’m thinking that I’m going to fail at a task, that thought seems pretty daunting. But if Carl says I am, well then what the fuck does he know? Suddenly I’m energized to take risks, and his opinion means about as much to me as an internet comment or a plotline from the final season Gossip Girl.

If you want to give it a try, pick a name (male or female, doesn’t matter). Then visualize a character from fiction that you despise and can associate with the name. I like to think of Gaius Baltar from Battlestar Galactica. Joffrey from Game of Thrones or Thomas from Downton Abbey would also be great picks. Or Mr. Healy from Orange is the New Black. I’m trying to think of a lady, but damn, ladies are just awesome aren’t they? Maybe Delores Umbridge from Harry Potter.  Just anyone you despise and whose opinion has no value to you whatsoever.  baltar

And the next time you have a negative thought, say it out loud but preface it with your character’s name. For example, “Milton thinks I will die alone with 57 cats.” Honestly, what the hell does he know? Milton does not operate on facts.

You are not the problem. You were never the problem. The problem is the problem. So you might as well give it a name and a face, and keep on walking.


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