Building awareness around your self-talk, including what you say and what you hear yourself say to yourself is important. Most of us are oblivious to the typically negative chatter that goes on in our brains on a daily basis and its effect.
Self-judgement, beating ourselves up, and name calling are all typical, but serve no purpose other than making us feel bad.
Usually we think what we are telling ourselves is a fact. We act as though every thought running through our mind is the truth and that we are powerless to change it. We tell ourselves we’re just like that, that that’s the way we are.
Rarely do we have any positive self-talk on play.
In actuality, the thoughts we think about ourselves, usually unconsciously and as a habit, are beliefs we have chosen to continue to think. And a belief is nothing more than a thought we think over and over again. We will tell ourselves how poorly we are doing and other negative comments we may have heard someone say about us or to us. Or perhaps, we are basing it on a bad experience or two. But usually we are not basing it on anything other than fear or a lack of self-confidence.
We only believe these thoughts because they are constantly running through our mind, not because they are true. Our brains also love to default to the negative. It’s easy and repetitive. It helps the brain conserve energy and from having to exert any effort in learning or doing anything new. Our brains think they are keeping our safe. In reality, it keeps us playing small.
The most obvious negative self-talk is when we put ourselves down or we call ourselves names, like loser, pathetic, broken. For most of us, we are meaner to ourselves and speak in a way to ourselves that we wouldn’t speak to any other person.
Another form of negative self-talk is criticism about what you hate about yourself or what you think you aren’t any good at. For instance, how many times have you stood in front of a mirror telling yourself how much you hate your body, or your hair or nose, etc.? Or perhaps it’s I’m terrible at yoga or golf. I’m no good at math. I’m guessing it’s too many times to count.
Again, just like the name calling, using the word hate to describe anything about yourself or about speaking about how terrible you are at something has no upside. It serves no useful purpose except to make you feel worse. It keeps you stuck in a negative spin cycle of feeling terrible about yourself.
There is no upside to any of it.
The best way to end this behaviour is to refuse to speak to yourself like this any longer.
Decide it is unacceptable and untrue. It really can be that simple.
You would not speak to anyone else like this and starting immediately you will not speak to yourself like that. It matters. You matter, and in the end, be kind to everyone, especially yourself.
Other times, we can use bridge thoughts to make the transition to new thoughts. Instead of saying “I hate my nose”, you can start using “I have a nose”. Going from I hate my nose to I love my nose is likely too big of a leap. But, practicing a thought like I have a nose is more neutral and easier to believe and repeat.
Once you feel more comfortable with that thought, you can start transitioning to another thought, such as “I have an OK nose” and “My nose is fine”, then “My nose is perfect for me”. You can see that this is an easier way of transitioning yourself away from the negative self-talk and into more positive self-talk.
Developing your awareness and practicing your positive self-talk are important skills that we all need to work on. We want our brains to spend time and energy on thoughts that help us to focus on what we want and to reach our potential.
Do not allow your brain to work against you. Self-judgement, beating yourself up, name calling, and criticism serve no purpose except to drain your energy and make you feel bad.
Choosing to believe new thoughts that are kind, loving and positive will generate feelings that will allow us to show up in the way we want to – empowered, confident, strong.
Believe in your value and that you are 100% worthy, because you are.
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