According to the wonder that is called “Google”, personification is defined as “the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something nonhuman, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form”. I attended Portland State University in the great city of Portland, Oregon a few years ago in the hot pursuit of post bac. biology credits. I honestly had no idea what I was doing – at least with my life. I was an anxious wreck. I have always had some anxiety issues ranging from a little discomfort to full blown panic attacks and in this chapter of my life I was very uneasy. I then took full advantage of the free college counseling. It was here that my world opened up to spirituality, Alan Watts, and a shift in perspective. I was very fortunate to have met a wonderful, young counselor-to-be. He used a wonderful tactic of applying what I knew, was familiar with, and ascribing traits of my personality to therapeutic techniques. He began to teach me how to use my wild imagination for my benefit. I have always been obsessed with superheros and villains….and that’s exactly the arena that we entered: ascribing my thoughts to characters. This technique has helped me make ‘light’ of situations as well as turn anxiety into a mental Marvel movie. Personify the thoughts! Try this! You can use my characters or create your own!
These are my characters:
“I can’t this do.” – Guess who that is? General Doubt. General doubt is the unapologetic naysayer. General Doubt will fill you with the ‘what if’s’ and ‘I can’ts’ and the ‘I shouldn’t’. General Doubt also loves to plague your head with ‘resistance is futile’ and nothing is going to work out!
“It’s over.” – Commander Doom. Failed that test? Thinking what the results are on that medical test? Didn’t get that job? Savings account is lower than you thought? Commander Doom knows that it’s over. Commander Doom wants you to throw in the towel. Now. It’s over. The universe is working against you.
“They won’t like me.” “Everyone thinks I’m lame.” “I’m such a screw up.” – Deceitful Joe. This guy is a true asshole. He’ll do whatever he can to convince you that you are indeed a loser and make you lose sight of all your strengths.
And now…..the FLIP SIDE.
“I can do this.” – The greatest hero of all, Colonel Confidence. Colonel Confidence is incredibly attractive, both mentally and physically. Colonel Confidence counters General Doubt using his own medicine. “Yea, well, what if things workout?” “What if this is the best idea I ever had?” “What if this does work out and your life will be better for it?”
“It’s a blessing in disguise.” – Optimistic Oliver is that friend that everyone needs. Optimistic Oliver puts that positive spin on everything. He’ll challenge you for sure, maybe even make you a little uncomfortable. He’ll pose the question, “Have you thought maybe the universe is working FOR you?”
“Stop lying to yourself, you’re not a loser. You’re great!!” “It won’t play out EXACTLY like that!” – Captain Honesty is the best. Like you, he doesn’t know how things will play out exactly but will also remind you….you aren’t an oracle. He’s that honest friend that will gently tell you that you’re simply your own worst enemy.
If you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to see Pixar’s film Inside Out. The principal is the same, however, the characters are much more black & white. We are complicated creatures and some emotions mix, match, and blend. I want you to try this the next time you are feeling anxious. Really zero in on the emotion. Who is taking charge here? Commander Doom? Deceitful Joe? We all have characters in our heads…some very persistent and powerful. Gently counter them with your mental ‘heroes’. I’d love it if you guys could share who is in your head! I’d also love it if someone drew some of these creatures! Comment/Share/Post!