Self Help for Hecklers

Donna Messerly-Brownby Donna Messerly-Brown

Hey, remember Statler and Waldorf? Think “Muppets.” These two old codgers watched every Muppet Show from high up in the balcony. I call them “the hecklers.”

Statler and Waldorf heckled the entire cast in all but one show (Waldorf’s wife filled in for Statler once because he was purported to be sick). Together they trashed Fozzie Bear and the entire Muppet Family mercilessly. Worse yet, these glorified sock puppets laughed mercilessly at their own jokes.

Yeah. Sometimes it’s like that. Am I right?

Ever feel like Statler and Waldorf follow you around heckling everything you do? I am proud to say I have never actually seen either of these mean old men (outside of the Muppet Show — that would mean I was crazy). But I think of them each time a family member, community member or even a friend says:

“You can’t do that.”

“Why would you do that?”

“You’ll never pull that off.”

“Do you think you’re really up to that?”

“I told you, you should never have done that.”

Sometimes I imagine an entire theater of hecklers surrounding me and pointing out mistakes, booing at my plan of attack, or demanding my time and attention. I woke up this morning at 4:30 a.m.  hearing the hecklers in my head:

“Have you made the car payment? When are you going to make the car payment? You’d better make that car payment. You probably won’t make it.”

“Have you got enough hay? Those horses have got to eat you know.”

“There aren’t enough groceries in the house. You never have enough groceries. There’s nothing good here to eat.”

“You went to town? Why did you go to town? Why aren’t you working? You should get downstairs on that computer and work.”

“Why do you always work? Your family needs a little attention too.”

Today, I listened to them. You know, I really listened to those hecklers and for a little while they actually made me cry. I wanted to scream, “Stop, stop! Just stop that! I’m doing the best I can.” Then I wanted to say, “Look. I give up. I just give up. I can’t carry this whole world anymore.” Then, I listened some more. You know, those hecklers sounded just like me.

Put a Sock in It

Look, the fallout from any critical life situation can be grave. For me, a constant barrage of personal losses (the deaths of my sister, my friend, my father, my nephew, my brother, my mother’s health, my 22-year marriage and a job) were devastating. There is no question my flag has been flying at half mast for quite some time now. It’s not that I’m irresponsible, it’s just that my priorities have changed. I have finally learned what I should cling to and what I simply have to let go — not forever, just for now.

There are plenty of people to heckle us throughout our lives. The last person to belittle, berate, punish and persecute you should be you. So, if you’re beating your own head against a brick wall like those ornery sock puppets, put a sock in it. You have got to be your own best friend.

Negative self talk can be extremely damaging to you and eventually to those around you. The minute you begin a negative statement in your mind, stop and correct it. We sincerely do become our thoughts. If yours are negative, sad, mean and angry there is no question you will outwardly display those emotions eventually toward yourself and others. Purchase an inexpensive dry eraser and write a positive thought every single day about your charming personality, your amazing ability, your strength, your beauty, your creativity, your importance and your power to meet any new challenge. When you begin heckling yourself from the balcony in your brain, sit yourself squarely in front of the mirror and repeat the encouraging thought out loud at least 10 times.

Heckling can become a very bad habit; and, like any habit it can be very hard to break. Positive self affirmation can be extremely therapeutic. Forget the statements that start with “I will …” (I will lose weight, I will exercise today, I will spend more time with my children). Instead use “I am …” (I am beautiful, I am healthy, I am a great mom). In order for this to work, you must reaffirm your positive qualities every single time the hecklers start shouting insults from your head to your heart.

Make a List, Check it Twice

People who suffer from depression — chemical and/or situational — are hard on themselves. If you are suffering from this potentially debilitating illness you might have experienced one or all of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

Make a list of the symptoms you have experienced. If you are suffering signs of depression, call your doctor now. Your doctor can help you come up with a treatment plan that best suits you and meets your needs based on your beliefs. Track your concentration, energy level, emotions, appetite, and physical health every day for at least one week prior to going to the doctor. Make another list — this one will include major life events that could be causing or contributing to your depression. Some events to consider are the following:

  • death of a loved on
  • a new addition to the family
  • divorce
  • a new relationship
  • a major move
  • financial pressure
  • job loss
  • job change
  • major purchases
  • worry over a child or loved one
  • abuse
  • illness
  • disability

Seriously search your soul to determine the events in your life that are adding to daily stress. It’s possible you might not be able to identify what’s bugging you. Look anyway. Write down major events of the last five years and even minor events of the last few months. Try to open a dialogue with yourself. Remember, you know yourself better than anyone else. Refine your list, check it to see if there’s anything you might have missed, and take it to your doctor. Try to discuss your condition openly and honestly. Your physician might recommend psycho therapy, relaxation techniques, activities to help you feel better, a special diet and even medication that will help you get a handle on your life.

Never minimize your own emotions. You are the best person to take care of you.

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3 thoughts on “Self Help for Hecklers

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  2. Pingback: Statler and Waldorf: The Nagging Grandpa's in The Muppet Show

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