In the space below write down any negative feelings or thoughts that you have been
experiencing quite a bit and that won't seem to ease down or go away. [ie., frequent: anger, guilt,worry, fear,depression,hurt, self-downing,etc.]
2. List any actions, events, situations, or comments [ ie., Arrows] associated with the feeling(s) you wrote down above. [Eg.: Dad yelled at me and called me a dummy; or I let down my daughter, or My friend/partner/boss/teacher said __________and put me down; or I was abused; or Something I wish I hadn't said or done, or When I get to dwelling on my health or condition.]
You have been learning that it often isn't these Arrows that cause the size of your wound, but rather it is what you say to yourself in your self-talk that makes you either pull the arrows out, or twist them.
Pick one or more of the arrows above and write down what you think might be some of the specific twisted-arrow self-talk that could be creating and continuing your undesirable feelings and thoughts. [Eg.:"Dad had no right to call me a dummy and put me down that way. He's such a rotten father!" OR, "That was pretty mean for him to call me that, but if I wasn't so stupid it never would have happened. What's the matter with me! I guess I deserved what he said!" OR, "I'll never be normal again and no one will want to be around me!"
4. Now examine each of the twisted-arrow self-talk words or sentences you listed in #3 and try to convert them to self-talk that pulls the arrow(s) out. [Eg.: "It wasn't fair or nice of Dad to say that, but that's the way he is. I'm not a dummy, but I sure didn't handle that situation very well. I need to work on that for the future." OR, "It's true I won't physically be the same again, and that may be difficult for some people, but I'm still me I can still love and care and share and do many things. So as long as I don't get myself too upset with Shoulds and What ifs that would push others away more than my disease, I'll be ok. Just want to remember to take one step at a time, not giant leaps."]
As you re-read what you wrote in #4, how do you feel?
The problem and wound from the Arrow, of course, are not gone, but if you pulled the arrow out well, some of your excess anger, pain, self-downing, or whatever probably has lessened.
How'd you do?
If it didn't help, don't give up. That's probably just an indication your responses in #4 didn't serve to pull the arrows out. That one is especially hard because it's where we do the mental reframing that is so important. And sometimes there's a fine line between good helpful self-talk that pulls arrows out and clever BS that really only breaks the arrow off and denies it, or twists it again but in a different way. It may be helpful to recycle through this worksheet again starting with #2, or just work more on #4. Or, perhaps you could discuss your responses with a counselor or someone else (as long as they know the metaphor) who can help you to pull the arrows out more effectively.
Remember, this is a tool. It does a good job when it is used well. So if it isn't doing well for you that probably just means you aren't yet quite using the tool properly. Keep at it.
As the commercials say, "You're worth it!"