Sunday, February 10, 2008

I.A.L.A.C. Statements (Or How Not To Impress Teenagers)

I am lovable and capable.

You are lovable and capable.

We are lovable and capable.
I'm sure we're all familiar with the phenomena of the Guidance Counselor... that person in high school who - theoretically - is supposed to assist you in selecting courses for the next year, applying to college, and on occasion provide some emotional support in case a parent or guardian cannot (or the student is unwilling to go to their parents for said support).

Most of the kids I knew in high school would have rather ripped out their appendix with a pair of tweezers than confess any such emotional crises to the GCs. We all knew that if you went to a GC and told him you were having thoughts of suicide, or you were pregnant, or you were having a drug problem that the GC would be on the phone with your parents just as soon as you were out of the room, probably even before you'd gotten your hall pass signed by the GC Secretary. How we knew this was questionable. Certainly no one I knew had ever voluntarily talked to the GCs... I know I didn't. Not voluntarily, at any rate. I'd one time made a flip comment to a teacher who said "Oh, I'll see you next week." To which I responded, "If we're all still around." The teacher decided I must be suicidal and I was dragged into sessions for about six weeks, two per week.

How fun.

Mr. King was assigned to me for my 'therapy' sessions. My parents were, of course, notified. (If they ever felt or said anything about it, I'm not remembering it.) Two days a week, I was taken out of study hall (where I generally did my homework if I had any so that I could slack off after school) and made to talk to Mr. King while sitting in a folding chair with a cracked plastic seat. He also wanted me to do these IALAC statements with him:
I am lovable and capable.

You are lovable and capable.

We are lovable and capable.

Now, positive self-talk is not necessarily a bad thing, but honestly... telling a reluctant, angry teenager to do IALAC statements every day as a way to make her life better?? Excuse me... Even when I did them (under his supervision twice weekly) I was inwardly (and probably outwardly) rolling my eyes.

I was also supposed to do this exercise where I wrote IALAC in big letters on a sheet of paper. Every time during the day that I had a negative experience, I was supposed to rip a piece off. And every time I had a positive experience, I was supposed to tape a piece of new paper on. The idea was that I would have a visualization of the good vs. the bad of my day, and that I would discover that I had more good than bad, so therefore, I should cheer up. Right?

Well, we all know the punchline, I'm sure. I did this for one week and ended up with... a lot of tiny scraps of paper.

But, perhaps I can take something away from that experience, stupid and annoying as it was.

The number on the scale is only one thing. I can exercise for 30 minutes straight without taking a break. I'm eating healthier. I feel better. I'm losing inches. Maybe I'm concentrating a little too much on the scraps, and not as much on the page as a whole.

I am lovable and capable.

You are lovable and capable.

We are lovable and capable.


Anonymous said...

Awww, group hug!!

But affirmations aside, and in all seriousness, you *are* loved, and you're one of the most capable people I know.

Maybe your inner self-critic doesn't *want* to focus on that because she knows that if she let you linger on the big picture, she'd be out of a home right quick. (And it's so *comfy* in there, with such pleasant scenery... ;) )

Chanda (aka Bea) said...

Now if we could just figure out how to apply what we learned in algebr to our adult lives! :)

While my inner teenager rolls her eyes, my outer 40 year old is muttering self affirmations to herself.

Brightcetera said...

Ha! Great post and funny too.