A profound statement I heard on the radio the other day is “Don’t Talk to the Dark”. What was meant by this statement is don’t talk to your issues, but direct your conversations towards what really matters. How many of us can relate? How many of us have been through adversity and talk to the bad talk instead of talking to who can truly help us?
Think about this scenario – when you have been laid off does the conversation sound like this…How could you have lost your job? What is wrong with you? You have let down your family. This is an embarrassment. Or does the conversation sound like this…Ok, God what next? What should I learn or take from this situation?
For me, it’d be wonderful to say my conversations always focus on the truth, but in most cases my mind goes right to me and my failure. Time, experience, and my faith journey has minimized the bad self talk conversations, but it’d be a lie to say the bad talk doesn’t still exist. It’d be a lie to say I don’t admire those who stay strong in the face of failure. Those who lose at something and can still see their blessings.
The children in the hospital who go to the play room with a smile and a throw up bucket. The children who walk the streets in wheel chairs who don’t care about the stares. The woman who was burned from head to toe and said the flames won’t kill her. They’ve learned to make life work and to give up on what doesn’t work.
If we were honest – the bad talk never works. The worst scenarios we put together in our heads never happen and we lose lots of sleep and time worrying about them. A pastor once said to worry is to have sin. I left the service saying…”Wow, I sin a lot”. However, what I’ve really learned over time is not only the aspect of sinning because you don’t believe enough in God for the situation to turn out right, but bad talk is never the answer.
A great example is when I co-facilitated a presentation with a past client of mine. The first mistake was pride got in the way and the second mistake was we were not prepared, but the presentation was a disaster. We received comments such as this was the worst session they had ever been to, they didn’t trust the speakers, etc. This presentation set my self esteem and bad talk back years. In my head, it was certain I’d lose my job, my reputation as a consultant was ruined, and I would never be asked to speak again. It was embarrassing and felt like consulting suicide.
In reality, there was a lesson in pride, but none of the consequences so vividly drawn in my head actually happened. I didn’t lose my job and my co-facilitator actually said we should facilitate again sometime. He said he read a lot of the responses as different people’s perspectives and not necessarily the truth.
If we concentrate on what could have been, should have been, or would have been, then we’ve lost the purpose. We’ve lost perspective. There is no way we can keep ourselves from drowning when all we can focus on is at the bottom of the sea instead of looking up and seeing the surface. There was a time in my life which was very bleak and even on vacation I looked down at the ocean and wondered what it would be like to just drift down. I didn’t want another day of misery or feeling like I had failed. The bad talk was screaming at me and I could barely keep myself afloat. It wasn’t until a reflection of the sun showed below the water that it made me look up. For years after this incident, I wrote in a journal begging for a definition of what is my purpose. At the time, I felt alone, believed in the bad talk, and didn’t believe anyone could answer my prayers. It was a continual conversation with the dark side. It wasn’t about having real faith conversations.
From experience, the only way up to the surface is to have the real conversations. Whether the conversations include shedding tears or falling to one’s knees, it is knowing there is a blessing in the story. In my life, every time there has been a job loss whether voluntarily or through being let go, it ended up being the best thing to ever happen to me. At first, it might not feel good, but when the next opportunity came along it was suddenly clear why the change occurred. The answer was never about me. The answer was praying for the next step in my journey to help me grow, learn, and explore. Looking at my consulting career, if I concentrated on the dark side or my own self talk, I’d still be an analyst instead of someone on the leadership team coaching others through the bumps and life lessons.
In conclusion, if you shy away from talking to the dark and bringing God into the conversation, you will begin to understand truth and what works and what doesn’t work.