Dr Eddie Murphy from Operation Transformation gives his weekly advice to help keep you on track when the finish line seems very far away.
Another week goes by and our Operation Transformation leaders often hit their lowest periods during this time. The initial euphoria has worn off and the glamour of cameras in your face often becomes an irritant. The end line seems furthest away.
At this time I think my role is to support, encourage and shine a light for our Operation Transformation leaders. I find what emerges now is the hidden dynamics that can act as trip wires for the leaders and for us. These hidden bits...
• The loss of family and resultant low mood and turning to alcohol for comfort
• The struggle to adjust to growing up children and adjust our parenting to their NOW developmental age
• Managing two children under two having unrealistic expectations
• Hiding behind others so the light doesn’t shine on you
• Struggling to get healthy to be around for your family
• The damaging effects of super critical voices. The internal voice (our thoughts) that acts like a poisoned parrot
Taming The Poisoned Parrot
Imagine you’re given a parrot. This parrot is just a parrot - it doesn’t have any knowledge, wisdom or insight. It’s bird-brained after all. It recites things ‘parrot fashion’ – without any understanding or comprehension. It’s a parrot.
However, this particular parrot is a poisoned and poisonous parrot. It’s been specifically trained to be unhelpful to you, continuously commenting on you and your life, in a way that constantly puts you down, criticising you.
For example, you get stuck in a traffic jam, and you arrive at your work, school, or your friends house 10 minutes late. The parrot sits there saying: “There you go again. Late. You just can’t manage to get there on time can you. So stupid. If you’d left the house earlier you’d have arrived with loads of time to spare and they would be happy. But you? No way. Just can’t do it. Useless. Waste of space. Absolutely pathetic!”
How long would you put up with this abuse before throwing a towel over the cage, or getting rid of the parrot?
Yet we can often put up with the thoughts from this internal bully for far too long. Decades. We hear that ‘parrot’, believe the ‘parrot’, and naturally get upset. That then affects the way we live our lives – the way be behave towards others, how we are, what we think about others, what we think about the world, and how we think and feel about ourselves.
We can learn to use the antidote: just notice that parrot, and cover the cage! “There’s that parrot again. I don’t have to listen to it – it’s just a parrot”. Then go and do something else. Put your focus of attention on something other than that parrot. This parrot is poison though, and it won’t give up easily, so you’ll need to keep using that antidote and be persistent in your practice!
Eventually it will get tired of the towel, tired of you not responding. You’ll notice it less and less. It might just give up it’s poison as your antidote overcomes it, or perhaps fly off to wherever poisoned parrots go.
So my challenge to you
1. Listen and see if you have a parrot
2. Identify if it is poisoned
3. Then stuff it!
As well as his counselling practice, Dr Eddie does talks, training and workshops for school, community, voluntary, sporting and work groups. Call 087 1302899 or visit www.dreddiemurphy.ie
Dr Eddie Murphy runs a psychology and counselling practice in Portarlington, helping with panic attacks, anxiety, anger, depression, PTSD, etc for children, adults and families. Call 087 1302899 or visit www.dreddiemurphy.ie