5 Ways to Eliminate Negative Self Talk
The way we talk to ourselves is critical to how we perceive the world around us. There’s a quote by Christine Arylo that says: “Be nice to yourself…it’s hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time.” Our happiness in life goes hand in hand with the thoughts that we allow to stay in our heads.
Think back on your day, on your week – what was the general climate and mood of your inner self talk? Was it positive? Were you kind and forgiving to yourself? Were you harsh and mean? Were you judgmental and fighting back perfectionism tendencies?
This week on my instagram page I saw a post from Revelatori (link below) that was so insightful. I had to ask if I could post this here because this pertains to just about EVERYBODY. Try it out based on your day today or yesterday. How many of these things did you think? Did you get a bingo???
This used to be me…to a tee…Like, I’d win the blackout game (you know, the game where you have to cover all the squares in order to get a bingo). It was miserable and I struggled to be at peace internally while I was having all of these negative thoughts – and then I’d wonder WHY I WASN’T HAPPY all the time! I wanted to be happy. I had so much to be grateful for but I couldn’t break away from the negative self talk – and the ridiculous, unattainable standards I had created for myself. So my want to be grateful and happy just added to feelings of failure and piled on more guilt and more negativity.
I was pretty good at hiding it too but deep down I felt a heavy weight that I just couldn’t shake. I didn’t feel like I was good enough. I felt horribly inadequate. I lacked confidence big time.
Then I learned how to manage my mind and a whole new world opened up to me. This is one of those testimonies that, “weak things can be made strong”. If you’re feeling like some of these bingo squares fit you right now – it’s okay. It’s not permanent. You can overcome this and I’ll give you some tools that will help start you in the right direction:
First, I had to learn how to talk to myself as if I would talk to a friend. You have to personify the voice in your head. It’s so much easier to reason and think things through if you feel like you can have a conversation with yourself. I have an entire post set up for this topic but for now – think about what you would say to your friend that says to you. “I’m horrible and a failure”? What would you say? “Of course you’re not a failure! That didn’t go quite as planned but next time we can try better – it will be better because I’ll help you.” – It works…truly! I was just listening to NPR radio* yesterday that cited a study done where they asked participants to just change one pronoun in the way they talked to themselves. Instead of making it “I” this or “I” that, change it to your first name. Setting your thoughts up like this take it away from YOU and make it sound more manageable…like you’re talking to a beloved friend and you’re discussing how to solve a problem, how to move forward, and being kind to mistakes. Try it, you’ll find that it works.
Second, learn to love and appreciate YOU. You have so many amazing gifts and talents. You’re unique and special but it’s hard to see and recognize all your wonderful traits because you’re so focused on what’s lacking. Get really good at acknowledging your talents. No, this is NOT self-centered. Heavenly Father blessed you with gifts and talents. Appreciate the talents HE gave you just as you would admire a gorgeous mountain view. It’s incredible and so are you. Start by writing down a daily list of ten things you love about you. Every day do this. We forget about our good qualities because we’re too focused on the negative – we practicing going to those negative thoughts everyday without even realizing what we’re doing. We become really good at going to the negative just by the sheer amount of practice we give to it. We need to turn our focus. We need to practice thinking about our positive traits more than we going to the negative.The more you practice this the easier it’ll get for you to be kind to yourself because you’ll know how awesome you are.
Third, Baby step it and PRACTICE. Read more here: Baby Steps http://thecatalystcoaching.com/2017/12/22/baby-steps/ Take TINY steps to move from a negative to a neutral thought then to a positive. You can maneuver your way out of that dark place by taking one tiny step after another towards the positive. “by small and simple means are great things brought to pass”* Then , practice, practice, practice. If it’s so engrained to be negative to yourself because you’ve been doing it for so long – it’s going to take practice and lots of it to create a new go to thought pattern but I promise you it can be done. Practice being kind to yourself, saying kind things to yourself – be loving and forgiving. “It’s okay self that we messed that up. Next time, we’ll get it”. You’ve seen a baby learn to walk, right? How many times do they fall? LOTS and LOTS and LOTS – yet they still get back up. It’s in the falling and trying again that builds strong neuro-connections that will train your brain how you want it to go. Keep going!!!
Fourth, live in abundance. We’re often so mean to ourselves because we’re in scarcity mode. We think there’s some time limit that we missed or are missing by which we need to be a certain by. Like, “I should have learned that already!”, “I shouldn’t be doing this STILL”, “I don’t have what she has and we’re the same age! I should be better!” – whatever it is – there’s scarcity in it. A fear that we didn’t do something “in time” or that we’re not going to make it “in time”. But you need to ask yourself: Who says there’s a time limit??? Where is this stated that you have to have accomplished ___________________ at this time??? Who gets to decide that? MOST of the time, it’s us. We place these ridiculous expectations on us and create pain and heartache for ourselves that only ADDS to the negative self talk. There’s no time limit. You have MORE than enough time to learn. More than enough of what you need to move forward.
This concept has SAVED me. I made it my theme word for 2017 (more to come on this) and miracles happened! I used to STRESS that we were late all the time. I have four kids – it’s kind of inevitable but I didn’t like to think like that. I felt like I needed to get it all done in a timely manner because that’s what a good mom does…or so I thought. So we’d be running late. I’d be yelling at my kids to get in the car, find their shoes, why were they wearing shorts in the winter??? Then I’d be entirely frazzled the whole car ride which lead to either me being all full of anxiety and scarcity that we’re going to be late OR me lecturing the kids the whole drive to wherever we were going all while feeling that horrible anxious/scarcity feeling of being late. So here’s the thing…yes, we were late – a lot. Most mom’s with multiple kids are. It’s OKAY. Even if you’re late – ask yourself WHY DOES IT MATTER??? Will the world end? Is the extra anxiety and stress necessary? Does anyone even care or notice you’re late? Are they going to remember in an hour, day, year that you were late? Is it worth yelling at your loved ones and you feeling horrible about it then driving like a maniac because you think the 3 minutes you’re going to save by driving that fast is worth it? No, no, no, and no. Then WHY take that path? Live in abundance. When you find yourself in one of those situations – kids or no kids – repeat after me: “I have an abundance of time. I have an abundance of time. Everything is going to be okay. I live in abundance.” Game changer!
Fifth, get really good at validating yourself! We look to others for reassurance that we’re doing okay. We need them to compliment us, to say kind things, to validate our feelings. But what happens when they don’t??? You start to travel down a more negative path of, “Was what I said not good enough?”, “They didn’t like what I brought”, “Maybe what I did wasn’t good enough”, etc. We start to devalue ourselves and whatever it was that we contributed. This is a major problem because people don’t know they’re supposed to be doing this – and frankly, it’s NOT THEIR JOB to validate you- it’s yours. For example, say you give a talk at church. You spend HOURS and days even on it. Then Sunday rolls around and you give your remarks. You feel pretty good about what you said and you sit down. Then NO ONE says anything to you afterwards. You start to think, “was it not good? did people not like it? Why isn’t anyone saying anything?” -so you start picking apart things in your talk, “well, maybe if I ______________. Oh, I knew I should have used this story instead. I don’t think I said this quite right. Maybe I’m just not a good speaker.” – when 20 minutes earlier you sat down satisfied that you did a good job but now you’re second guessing YOUR opinion based on THEIR actions or inactions! You’re waiting for them to like it before YOU can like it- it is NOT THEIR JOB to validate you – it’s yours. THEY don’t need to like it for YOU to be able to like it. The same principle is true about YOU and your qualities/hobbies/the things you spend your time on/your dreams/goals.
Get to a place where YOU like you and you don’t NEED them to like you or what you do because YOU’VE got your back and you love you. This isn’t to say that a compliment here or there doesn’t rock – They totally do but you’re going to be okay with or without a compliment – just like you’re going to be okay even with negative feedback because you’ve got your own back.* Like what you do BEFORE anyone says anything. Go into what you do liking it already. Go into knowing that you’re happy with you – EVEN IF no one says anything to you.
You are amazing and the adversary knows your potential for greatness. You can KNOW that he’s going to use that and try his hardest to keep you feeling low because feeling low keeps us from progressing. It stops us from contributing to the world…and you’ve got a lot to contribute! Listen to this quote from Elder Klebingat in regards to the adversary:
“He will seek access to your heart to tell you lies—lies that Heavenly Father is disappointed in you, that the Atonement is beyond your reach, that there is no point in even trying, that everyone else is better than you, that you are unworthy, and a thousand variations of that same evil theme.
As long as you allow these voices to chisel away at your soul, you can’t approach the throne of God with real confidence. Whatever you do, whatever you pray for, whatever hopes for a miracle you may have, there will always be just enough self-doubt chipping away at your faith—not only your faith in God but also your confidence in yourself. Living the gospel in this manner is no fun, nor is it very healthy. Above all, it is completely unnecessary! The decision to change is yours—and yours alone.”
Don’t let him chisel away at your soul. I love that image – a chisel takes just the tiniest little pieces away but over time it can have devastating results – don’t let him get to you like that. You have the power and agency to decide what you believe and who you are. You are a beautiful, confident person who deserves to be loved and spoken to with words of kindness, admiration, appreciation, and love. But it’s not anyone else’s job to give that to you – it’s yours. You need to be the one to say kind things to you. You need to be the one to admire your gifts and talents that Heavenly Father has given you. You need to be the one to appreciate all you do; your acts of service, what you do day in and day out with the kids, with your job, at home. You need to have your own back and lift and cheer with a voice of love and gladness.
When you get there – and you will get there by taking those tiny baby steps forward – it’s a whole new world.
It’s a beautiful, abundant, place FULL of opportunities for you.
“Be nice to yourself. It’s hard to be happy when someone’s mean to you all the time.”
You got this, my friends!
Revelatori has amazing art. I follow her on instagram because she’s just amazing! check her out:
Elder Klebingat – approaching the throne of God with confidence
I like this article that goes along with today’s post from the Huffington Post: 10 ways to be nicer to yourself
Brooke Castillo – Get your own back
NPR podcast- Resolutions