What You Say To Yourself (About Incontinence) Matters
Written by Marilyn Suttle
Words are powerful. Notice the words you say to yourself about your incontinence. Are you saying things that keep you active and happy? Those types of thoughts will help you get through your adjustment to incontinence and stay positive about life. Just because you think it, doesn't mean it’s true. Challenge the thoughts that leave you feeling bad. When I coach people, I help them make subtle changes in the way they talk to themselves so they're better able to deal with life's challenges. When it comes to incontinence, here are three thoughts that people may say to themselves: "I can't go on a road trip because I'm afraid I won't find a bathroom when I need it." "I can't tell my doctor/family/friends about incontinence because I'm afraid of what they’ll think." "I can't go to the gym because I'm afraid of leaking through my clothes." Notice how you feel when you say "I can't" and "I'm afraid." You may feel a loss of control when using the words "I can't." It helps to ask, "Is it true that I can't?" To put a more positive thought in place, change "I can't" to "I choose not to." It’s a small change, with a powerful result. It puts control back in your hands, and eliminates helpless feelings. When you say, "I choose not to go on the road trip… tell my doctor…exercise at the gym…" it also opens up the possibility of choosing to do it. Another phrase that trips people up is "I'm afraid." Anything that follows the words "I am" or "I'm" is like a command to your subconscious. When you say "I am afraid," you reinforce the fear. What you're afraid of probably isn't happening right now. It either happened in the past, or you're imagining it happening in the future. To regain your power over fear, use words that more accurately identify it. When you catch yourself saying, "I'm afraid I won't find a bathroom when I need it,” shift to: "I'm imagining that I won't find a bathroom when I need it." This puts your brain in a more resourceful state. You might then think, "What can I do to stop scaring myself? Maybe I can get an app for my phone, like Have2P, that tells me where the restrooms are along the way, or maybe I can get my friends to agree that we'll stop every 30 minutes to stretch, walk, and use the restroom." When you say, "I'm imagining that I'll leak through my clothing." It creates a space for new thoughts to pop up, "I might not leak, and even if I do, I can always bring an extra pair of pants." "I can't because I'm scared," leaves you stuck. Making a small shift in the way you talk to yourself can free you from self-imposed limits. What about you? What do you say to yourself about your incontinence that helps you stay active and involved in all that life has to offer?
Bestselling author Marilyn Suttle is a personal development expert and success coach who specializes in helping people make subtle shifts in thought, beliefs, and behaviors to produce happier, more productive ways of living. Visit her on facebook at facebook.com/SuttleShift