I think that the CEDRIC philosophy works because it is based on good common sense. Our February theme for the Blog and Newsletter is ‘relationships’ and in keeping with this all important theme I’m addressing an important relationship with myself . It is vital for us to build a sound relationship with ourselves as well as looking at our relationships with others. Here is a bit of sharing about how I have dealt with my relationship with myself where my ‘inner critic’ or ‘drill sergeant’ is concerned.
The one component of CEDRIC teachings that rings most true with me at this part of my process is the ‘drill sergeant’. The negative voice that used to taunt me constantly when I was in my weakest hours is quieter now that I have done the work that is necessary to allow myself more nurturing and respect from within, but the change required some effort.
That endless negative commentary in the back of our heads wants us to think that it is echoing the conclusions of all who you come in contact with. If you are a person given to worrying about what other’s think, it can really get a good hold of your psyche and be leveling when it comes to our trying to remain strong and grounded and take good care of ourselves.
Core Beliefs and the Drill Sergeant – What a relationship there!
When I first began my work at quieting the drill sergeant within, I had to look at the foundation of my self-esteem because that’s where the good old Drill Sgt. gets all his material! Core beliefs are just that because they form the nucleus of who we are. What I’ve learned from exploring the CEDRIC Centre’s approach to healing is that most of us who find that life stress sends us running to food to cope have been unconsciously buying into harmful old Core Beliefs. Those beliefs were often imposed on us by people in our past who were responsible for our maturation and development, and we unwittingly accepted those imposed beliefs as law without questioning them and their validity. As children that’s impossible to expect of ourselves, we just don’t have the awhem with a set of Core Beliefs that accurately portray who we are now.areness, but as adults, we can revisit those old stories we’re still carrying and, if we choose, replace them.
Imagine driving a car based on what we’ve been told what others think about driving rather than learning the nuts and bolts of where the ignition is, what the steering wheel does. If we are simply told what to think about driving and then given the keys, we would still be at a loss as to how to make the car function, yet in our daily lives, we accept imposed beliefs much more vital than the information on how vehicles function, as gospel, and then try to function in our lives, basing everything on those old stories.
It doesn’t work. In my case, I would let that rude drill sergeant berate me about my inability to cope, which made me feel weak, made me tend to falter and before I knew it, that diminishing judgment had become a self-fulfilling prophecy and I would seek to self-anesthetize to keep from feeling like even more of a failure.
There’s an old maxim I once found in a tea box that was affixed to my fridge door for years. It says ‘If you do what you always done, you get what you always got’. I have learned that this applies so well to the healing process around binging, restricting, purging, drinking and any other form of coping.
The CEDRIC program really helps me see that awareness is not enough. While it is a key component of healing, awareness of the problem without new tools for how to deal with it is often more harmful than good because it exposes our pain without showing us how to move through it. Tools for change and the support to change have to be a part of the process we undergo or we wind up spinning our wheels and never achieving a life that is free from thinking one needs escapes at all costs such as eating disorders.
So I embraced a bit of change by letting myself become open to new ideas. By addressing my core beliefs, restructuring them to serve me rather than those who were once trying to impose a set of beliefs that would inflict their control upon me, a wondrous thing has happened. I’ve developed a healthy drill sergeant. In fact, the voice inside me now is so distant from the drill sergeant it is hard to believe it was ever disrespectful or diminishing.
The voice I hear inside most of the time now, is not even vaguely related to that judgmental, authoritarian sapper of esteem it once was. Now that I’m clear about what I want to believe about myself; what I know to be true, I have made peace with that harsh internal critic and it’s as if this has caused my ‘Drill Sergeant’ to turn over a new leaf too.
In fact, I was thinking that it’s not really descriptive of my internal dialogue to refer to it as such a corporal entity when now my inner voice is one of self-support and nurturing. Sure, when I am feeling overwhelmed, I might try to impose that ‘Drill Sergeant’ upon myself as a knee jerk response because that was my prior way of coping, and an old, ingrained habit, but I now recognize the red flag like it’s a belled cat and I’m a mouse determined to survive. I head that internal emotional vampire off at the pass, replacing it with my kinder, more benevolent TRUE inner voice, the one that reflects my thoughts and principles TODAY. Hurray! My following this practical philosophy has helped me to become aware of a powerful coping skill that I never knew I had.
My natural, healthy internal voice is there now to protect me from external challenges and threats, and if I start hearing more from that critical Drill Sgt. I take it as a sign that I am being triggered by something and need to look at what is going on in my life that might be making me feel fearful or threatened. I really don’t have the time or inclination to allow myself to hang out in that scared child place any more and so instead of falling back to my old responses I now acknowledge that I must be dealing with stressors which have put me at the limits of my capacity to cope. My new self quickly interrogates that traitorous internal voice immediately, replacing it with an internal dialogue that mirrors what a good friend’s perspective might be on the situation.
In Michelle’s article, she asks us to explore the foundation, the origin of our beliefs. If I start feeling unimportant, rejected, abandoned, self critical, un-loveable or challenged in my capacity to function, I’ve learned that I need to take steps to change my response. Those steps include self nurturing and grounding myself by bringing myself into this moment and reminding myself of what I know about myself that I like and admire. Sometimes I do something I know I’m inherently good at. I knit and always have a project on the go, and five minutes alone with it usually reverts my insecure mindset back to a grounded, confident one.
I invite you to look at restructuring your Core Beliefs so that they address you now, and as a result, can support you in your healing process. So how about starting with baby steps? Set yourself the intention to have a red flag raise in your mind when you hear the internalized litany of negativity that questions your process or your worth as a human being. Become more aware of that old Drill Sgt. so that you can gently but firmly challenge his old stories and let them go, once and for all. It’s a solution that is helping me to make big changes in my life, and I hope that in some small way, reading my experience helps you as well.
Namaste, Tina Budeweit-Weeks
CEDRIC Web Correspondent
Tina Budeweit-Weeks is a member of the CEDRIC Success Team in the role of staff writer and executive assistant for Michelle Morand. Her philosophy has always been one of self-nurturance and dignity. In support of the complex difficulties clients may experience around regaining a healthy balance, Tina’s writing is designed to sympathize, support, encourage and inform. Although there are many similarities in Tina’s process, she is not a client, but a hard working, behind-the-scenes member of the team, dedicated to helping the CEDRIC Centre stay current and effective.