This is our truth, tell us yours
This is not going to be another post on call outs, or standing up and being counted, as important as they are, but a far more literal interpretation of speaking out.
If you attend most Church services today there will be a period where people can give thanks, sometimes in a set form, sometimes in their own words. It can at first glance veer into pythonesque territory, but how often do we stop to look around us and simply say yes. Not only think it but say it? Donald Meichenbaum is the inventor of Cognitive Behavioral Modification noticed a simple fact, humans talk to themselves. He developed a theory that when we say something out loud we give it more power, and are more able to use it to change how we behave.
I am very familiar with the idea of thought processes swirling and revolving around my head leading to repeated patterns of behaviour, my two most entrenched, that women cannot be trusted and that I will be abandoned are responsible for more pain in my life than I would like to admit. Meichenbaum believed that to challenge these entrenched ideas we had to vocalise the challenges, engaging different parts of the brain and then hearing ourselves say them fights against our conditioned responses.
In another part of my life I can see this happening, when I am with my Dominant he frequently makes me speak, even as I float off into that wonderful world called sub space. Partially this is about being an observant and responsible Dom. When the woman on top of you goes completely limp and you are supporting her only by her hair, it’s probably wise to check she is still conscious. It is also a way of getting me to face things I would rather hide from though, and only by vocalizing them am I forced to accept them. The words crystallising in a way thoughts never can.
So what does this have to do with Church services and prayer I hear you ask (and forgive me if other religions contain similar practices, as I am sure they do). In an eulogy, prayers of thanksgiving or other set prices people are forced to speak out. In a world so often dominated by the negative and bleak they have to say the positive. This is not pollyanna thinking but a vital balance. When we say yes, this is good, I like you, I love you, thank you, loudly and clearly we are not only accepting the positive in our lives but making room for more. When we say positive things about ourselves or our lives we create room for those positives to grow.
To go back to myself and my two main negatives. I have a repeated pattern of being let down and hurt by women. Now it is easy to see each time it happens as evidence for the proposition that women are not to be trusted. But perhaps the fact is I tell myself this so often internally that I create the world in which women let me down, since I believe it will happen anyway. If I spoke out and challenged my own belief perhaps it would stop happening? So often we remain silent in our thoughts, no matter how negative or destructive they are. Even if we do not believe the challenges speaking them out is a step towards breaking that pattern. Once we make a little bit of room, then who knows what might happen.
Part of me is tempted to give homework, to say speak out one thing today, be it giving thanks for the smallest thing, or telling someone you care about them. Saying the words, making them concrete and real will allow other words the space to grow.