The way you self-talk is both a reflection and an influence of how you feel about yourself. It’s the same in your relationships with other people too. If someone is constantly saying mean, disparaging, discouraging things about you, would that make it feel like they loved you? Yeah. No. But that’s what we often do to ourselves when we self-talk.
Oh we say the nastiest things to ourselves! Things we’d never say to other people. And frankly, we’ve got to stop the madness.
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I’ve had this conversation with my kids many times. When they mess something up and say, “Oh I’m so stupid!” my heart breaks and I go a little crazy in my mind because I know how important self-talk is. And I’ll say, “Please don’t talk to my daughter (or son) that way.” And they look at me like I’m crazy, but then I remind them that I would never tolerate someone else saying that about them, so why should I stay silent when they say it about themselves?
Our internal voice has had such a captive audience for so long that we don’t even recognize it any more.
Daily Tiny Assignment
So here’s your tiny assignment for today. Keep a notepad by your desk, and every time you say something to yourself for the rest of the day, write it down. Don’t judge it. Don’t tweak it. Write it down. There’s something about seeing something that you’ve thought written out in your own handwriting that really helps your conscious mind truly SEE what’s been going on inside that beautiful head of yours. And once you see something, the energy shifts. It helps you find the motivation to do something different.
Which leads me to step two of your tiny assignment. For everything you write down, ask yourself, “Is this 100 percent, categorically, verifiably true?” I’m here to tell you, 99.95 percent of the time the answer is no. And finally, ask yourself–and write down your answer—to the question, What is a true version of this thought that I can get behind?”
So maybe you told yourself you always mess things up somehow. Is that 100 percent, categorically, verifiably true? No. Surely there are things you’ve done that haven’t gotten messed up. Then you can write down, “I make mistakes sometimes but I’m still lovable.”
If you write down enough of your thoughts, you’ll see that they fall into categories. Maybe they’re about your appearance, or your intelligence, or your personality. So probably one or two re-written phrases would counter a lot of your various random thoughts. Circle one or two of those new phrases that you can adopt as a mantra—something you repeat to yourself anytime you remember to, and especially when you’d otherwise be tempted to be mean to yourself. It may sound silly, but the things you say to yourself have so much power. Replacing something mean that you tell yourself about yourself with something loving is like taking a shot of wheatgrass for your psyche.
There are plenty of people and situations that will make you feel bad about yourself. Don’t make it an inside job.