Turning Negative Self Talk into Identity Evolution

Turning Negative Self Talk into Identity Evolution

I’ve been listening to the Yogahealer podcast for at least five years, and have been in the Yoga Health Coaching Community for almost three years. My personal growth and transformation have been very apparent, especially when stepping back and looking at a timeline of the “Huge Life Events” during these past five years. I can now say that I am practicing all 10 habits with some level of regularity. My faith has grown in what is possible for my life. Yet, I am stuck in some ways.  I feel particularly good, most of the time, but I haven’t been able to get to the next level of my evolution by actually launching my coaching community.

Why am I stuck?

I’m still stuck because, while I’m tongue scraping, having regular and healthy poops, moving and breathing every morning, eating rhythmically throughout the day, oiling well at night, and being easeful through it all, I’m still drinking alcohol somewhat regularly – Truth bomb!

Now if we look at the kaizen approach, this “regular” drinking has improved over the years. It started out well over a decade ago, with a minimum of two drinks per night, complimented by cigarettes. I am pleased to say that, seven years ago, the smoking naturally went away, and the nightly drinking habit was brought into my awareness. A combination of doctor recommendations, along with a five-week intensive yoga training on the other side of the world, made me realize that it was not normal or healthy to drink half a bottle of chardonnay every night.

Fast forward seven years, I’m still kaizening the drinking. I prove to myself annually that I’m not a “real” alcoholic by giving it up for Lent, yet the only thing that gets me through Lent is knowing I will be able to have it again. While I’ve gotten the drinking down to only a couple of nights per week or less, I find it amazing how I’m able to ignore my natural intuition if I don’t want to drink on the nights reserved for drinking.

Naturally, I’ve been frustrated with my lack of evolution, as I still have mild inflammatory responses giving me physical symptoms (loose stools, adult acne, dandruff, SI joint stagnation, not launching my habit evolution course, negative self-talk, etc.), so the other month I took some functional medicine tests that brought to the surface some food sensitivities to gluten and dairy. Though this seems super basic, I needed a test to tell me I was sensitive to gluten and dairy for me to fully let them go. The recommended protocol after the functional medicine tests was a 21-day liver detox. During this time, I had some fasting days along with clean eating days, and obviously – no alcohol. It went very well!  My bowel movements became regular and healthy, my skin cleared up, and my energy was awesome.

I’ve been off the detox for a few weeks now, but have carried over the gluten and dairy free clean eating part of it. But guess what I have not carried over?

That is right – the drinking…

While drinking is not a part of my regular schedule anymore, I still think about it often and plan when I’m going to drink next. Though it has only been once per week or less, my detoxed liver and body are speaking louder than ever.

The other day, I had done everything right habit-wise. I was leaving a private yoga lesson and remembered I had to stop at the grocery store for some bananas. While I was there, it felt as though the force took over me and caused me to buy a bottle of red wine. Knowing that I had already had my earlier, lighter dinner and still had time to drink and go to bed early, I decided that I would have two glasses of wine when I got home.

I will do all the healthy habits AND drink wine!

So, I did it. I was to bed by 9:30 and had all intentions of waking up at 5:30 to have my morning sadhana and go to work for my 11am shift.

How did it really go?

I woke up at 2:30am (this was a common thing in my 20’s when I drank regularly) with a bad headache. I chugged water to hydrate myself, and then, laid in bed breathing with intention into my awful headache. I don’t think I ever fully fell back asleep because my mind was loud with negative self-talk. I had the Identity Evolution worksheet and Cate’s voice in my head, “I’m the type of person who ignores her intuition and numbs all the goodness that is inside of her because she is so weak.” Or “I’m the type of person who is so damaged and such an addict that it will always take over the wealth of knowledge I have invested so much time, money, and emotion into.” Eventually, I somehow fell back into a lucid sleep. I woke up at 8am (when my beautiful morning practice should have already completed), headache still strong, and wanting to throw up from the alcohol consumption. I needed to take a shower, but was too queasy, so I opted for an epsom salt bath. The negative “I’m the type of person…” phrases were still rampant in my mind. I knew that they weren’t helpful, so I decided to switch them up, focusing on the actual facts and things that were happening in me rather than beating myself up for being weak.

Here are the facts.

I’m the type of person who feels like crap and doesn’t do things that nourish her the next morning when I consume two glasses of wine the night prior.”

Okay, but why am I doing that?

I am doing that because, “I’m the type of person that desires deeper connection so badly that I try quick, but ineffective routes to get there.”

Getting better, but still negative.

How about, “I’m the type of person who is very ungrounded and needs to be very careful as to not do things to further unground myself.”?

Close, but how will I do that?

I’m the type of person that is so connected to my infinite flow of energy, that I must always prioritize nourishing self-care practices to cultivate the connection more wisely.”

There we go!

That Identity Evolution statement is where I will work from moving forward.  Rather than seeing myself as a helpless addict, I now see the facts through the negativity.  I have a lot of energy and desire deeper connection to it.  That is super exciting to acknowledge and I look forward to listening to my intuition in those moments of needed connection!  I have a strong feeling that my intuition will lead me to dance, journal, self-massage, breath work, or meditation over drinking!

What does your negative self-talk say? Write it down. What positive/affirming Identity Evolution phrase can you turn it into, to initiate real change?

I know my new phrase “I’m the type of person that is so connected to my infinite flow of energy, that I must always prioritize nourishing self care practices to cultivate the connection more wisely.” will pop into my awareness every time the force creeps in to buy or consume alcohol. I’m excited to acknowledge any other future negative self-talk I have moving forward.  This will be my new way to trigger a habit to create a new Identity Evolution statement.  Deeper Identity Evolution will be the reward!

Angela Matarrese

Angela Matarrese

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Interior Designer, Yoga Teacher, and Yoga Health Coach. Founder of Sukha Yoga Design, which is a culmination of all of that. Born and raised in Wisconsin, I have some beer and cheese in my blood, and will always be honored when referred to as the "super nice mid-western girl" in my travels. As I maintain a relaxed and "chill" facade in life, the truth is that I am super excited most of the time and bursting with things that I still want to learn and share with the world.