Episode 104: Self-Talk
The way we talk to ourselves is incredibly important and yet so many of our thoughts are subtle and often sabotage us in our desire to create the kind of life we want to have. Just as much as you are what you EAT, you are what you SPEAK. In this episode, I share tools to help you notice and pinpoint that subtle, sneaky, sabotaging self-talk so you can feel more secure and confident.
Welcome back to the podcast everyone. I say it every week and every week I mean it, I love that you’re here. I love that you’re tuning in and I love it even more when you reach out and connect with me. So thank you, I have so much love for each of you and I really appreciate that you’re here – and thank you again to everyone that has already left a rating and review for the podcast. You are a rock star in my book. Thank you!
Okay, let’s dive right in to today’s topic. I love this topic so much because it’s one that everyone experiences on a daily basis and one that can be improved on that will not only impact your life but really the lives of everyone else around you as well. I’m talking about how we talk to ourselves.
It seems so innocently individual. You might think that the way you think or the way you talk to yourself in your head is only affecting you but it’s not, it’s really not. Because think about this, when you feel good, you do good. You are motivated to go and do more productive and positive actions which creates more good, positive results in the world. Versus when you’re feeling crummy inside because of the string of negative chatter you’re not motivated to go and do all the things or anything for that matter. You’re more inclined to stay home, stay in bed, scroll on social media, and play small. Those actions aren’t going to create the results you really want either. Plus it just feels bad and while I’m not averse to feeling bad – I think as humans we’re here to experience all the feels – we want to experience the full spectrum of human emotions – we also don’t want to indulge in optional negativity that isn’t serving you, that won’t serve you, and just makes you suffer.
So self-talk, it’s the running dialogue in your head. It’s those moments where you’re doing something and you have a thought like, “That was so stupid. Why do you always do things like that?” Or something like, “You’re never good at anything. I don’t know why you even try.”
Or even more subtle things like, “I should be doing more”
Which doesn’t outright sound like a sabotaging sentence but it’s interesting because what that thought really means is that you believe you’re not doing enough now and it’s not acceptable aka YOU are not acceptable. And when we shine a light on it like this, how does that thought feel?
At first the original thought doesn’t seem that bad. It might even sound somewhat good and positive – like, this is going to motivate us into doing more but when you pause and dig a little deeper and you see what the root of that thought is, now it’s not so lovely after all. It’s damaging and it doesn’t feel good.
Karen Koenig said, “it’s WORD POWER that runs us, not WILL POWER.”
And I love that so much because what we say to ourselves really matters. I encourage my clients to become a word snob of the highest caliber because it is our words that fuel us. We are we speak to ourselves. So let’s go back to that subtle sabotaging thought, “I should”
When you get right down to it and question it – like, Why? Why should I be doing more? You’ll start to see that you’re attaching your worth to your checklist and just how much you accomplished or how productive you were and it’s again so sneaky because it’s like weight – when the scale goes down so many of you celebrate and give yourselves permission to feel good about yourself but when the scale goes up – when your weight goes up you use it as an opportunity to scold, shame, and punish yourself.
And it’s not the weight – it certainly not the piece of machinery, the scale that generates a number – it’s your thoughts about it. It’s the worth that you’re attaching to it. And this is something you’re going to want to question for you because it doesn’t feel good and it will keep you running through this cycle of earning your worth.
My husband and I like the movie, The Duplex with Drew Berrymore and Ben Stiller and they have this terrible upstairs neighbor that’s super needy and just interrupts and it’s a comedy – she’s supposed to be the terrible neighbor but there’s this scene where Ben Stiller is exhausted because the neighbor had her TV up so loud that he couldn’t sleep and so during the day he falls asleep and of course the neighbor comes down and bangs on the door and she notices his bed head and she exclaims, “Napping in the middle of the day?! Shameful”
And this isn’t that far off from what a lot of think. We’ve learned and definitely been influenced by society that the more we produce the greater our worth and value and it doesn’t make it true – it’s just a social construct that we’ve all agreed upon until we question it. I mean how many books, articles, and podcasts are there about getting more done, being more productive – and I’m all for productivity – you’ll find some of those videos from me too but not at the expense of your value or your worth.
There’s a big difference between your worth and value over creation and seeing what you’re capable of. When your sneaky subtle self-talk creates guilt and shame that’s an indicator that you have moved away from creation and slipped into self-sabotage.
So the next time you’re telling yourself, “I really should be doing more” just question it. Why? Is it because we fear a sense of guilt if we didn’t get all the things done or checked off our to-do list? We need to be aware of what we’re thinking because it’s so much more than that subtle thought – you’re really buying into a full on story that the more productive you are, the more valuable and of worth you are.
And like I said, I’m all for being productive, especially in a smart and efficient way but not when it crosses the line of when you want and need to rest you can’t because you have this story in your head that resting, napping, not doing all the things feels wrong.
Tread carefully here and notice the thoughts. Along the same lines is the thought that if others are doing more than you, they’re accomplishing more, earning more, cleaning more, exercising more than you – like if they’re being or doing something more than you, more productive than you, in your mind there’s a part of you that believes they’re then “better” than you. Then it creates or buys into this belief that you’re not as good. You’re not as worthy. You’re not as valuable. You’re not as high on the social hierarchy as you hoped, needed, or wanted to be.
There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to the should and it’s just so sneaky, subtle, and 100% sabotaging.
Okay, another sneaky subtle sabotaging self-talk sentence and one I hear often, that also sounds good at first glance is the thought, “I need to get better at that”.
Whatever THAT is: eating better, exercising, working on your business, working on your garden, working on certain talents or projects, earning more money, raising kids, reading more books, even how you show up in a friendship or relationship.
It sounds so good, like we’re aspiring towards something noble and worthy but again when you unpack it or dig a little deeper what we’re really meaning is that we’re not enough yet. I’m not good enough yet.
And hear me out because I know some of you are already arguing with this thought because you still think it’s good and a worthwhile aspiration but it’s not the best or most effective use of your mental energy. Instead of wishing or wanting even we can just tell ourselves I AM.
Notice the difference between these two thoughts – like pay attention to how they feel in your body.
Thought 1: I really need to get better at exercising more.
Notice how it feels – there’s something lacking, something missing, something you’re not good at yet.
Thought 2: I am exercising more.
Even if you didn’t exercise today – when you tell yourself that – it becomes a statement charged with productive energy behind it. Your brain will believe it – like, let’s do it. It feel better, stronger, and a more efficient and effective use of your mental energy. You’re creating a charge that will become part of your identity in a good way. I exercise more. I read my scriptures more. I am is so much stronger than, “I really need to get better at that.”
Geek out with my for a minute, Yoda says, Do or Do Not, there is no try” right? We’re either doing it – even if it’s mentally rehearsed in your mind at first or we’re not – we’re just wishing, dreaming, and postponing feeling good. It’s not going to generate the kind of energy you want to create. It’s not a useful or productive use of your mental focus. Remember we don’t have an infinite amount of mental energy each day. We get fatigued. We get tired. We need to rest. So if I only have a finite amount of coherent mental focus each day I want to use it to the best of my ability, creating a strong, confident relationship with myself that starts in how I speak to myself and the meaning behind the words I think.
I AM is incredibly powerful and will create the results you want way more that the wishful, guilt-inducing, “I really need to…” thoughts.
This year I’ve been diving into Spanish more than I have in the past and I don’t guilt trip myself saying, “I should work on Spanish” because it comes with a heavy price. It’s shaming and self-sabotaging. I tell myself we’re doing it. Even if it’s 2 minutes that day. I did or I am is stronger than I wish or I really need to.
It’s even helpful to give yourself a set time – like in the future there are things that I want to do, create, go and see that I don’t want to identify with now. For example, I don’t want to learn French right now. I’m learning Spanish. So I’m not going to tell myself, “I really should think about learning French right now” when I have no desire to actually start that right now. But I can tell myself, “After Spanish, French here we come” – there isn’t a definite date. I’m not on a time frame. But it’s exciting, it’s something to look forward to. It’s confident and certain and it implies that I’m capable. There’s nothing lacking. It’s on the schedule. It’s going to happen.
The things we say to ourselves really matter because we’re always filtering it through our identity. I am or I’m not. I want to – desire vs I should – which is lacking. I will – planned vs I’m working on it – which brings with it, that you’re not yet and innocently enough maybe you can’t. I’m working on it isn’t confident. It’s a toss up – can I? Will it work? What if it doesn’t? What if I can’t? Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will, right?
So when you eliminate the doubt, you’re able to move forward confidently and securely. It’s just a matter of time. It’s already in the bag.
LISTEN to your mind at work. LISTEN to the narrative. Pay attention to the words your brain is offering you.
Now the trick is to sift through them. First accept that thoughts are happening and that’s okay. There’s nothing WRONG with the thoughts. They just are.
Then LISTEN to them because your brain wants to be acknowledged.
Now you’re in a space to SIFT. This is a really neat space to be in.
You always want to look forward. You want to identify with your future self. The you that’s overcome all these challenges and setbacks. You want to keep your eye on the end goal and not looking back at your past or identifying with your past. Your past self hasn’t and can’t accomplish what you want but your future self did already. This is who we want to buddy up with.
There’s a quote by George Q. Cannon that I love and find so inspiring for me. He says, “We are the children of God, and as His children there is no attribute we ascribe to Him that we do not possess, though they may be dormant or in embryo. (Your) mission…is to develop these powers and make us like our Heavenly Parents.”
I love this because when I think of Heavenly Father I think of infinite. He can do ALL things. He can create ALL things. He’s a master of ALL things. It’s a very different thought and belief than what I sometimes see in myself. In myself, it’s easier to doubt, to be discouraged, to wonder, to want, to fall short. But when I realize that every attribute I ascribe to Him also lies within me, well, that changes things. That’s incredibly inspiring and helps me to feel more secure and confident.
There’s no time frame on our development. We box ourselves in and stress ourselves out when we put a time frame on what we do and who we’re becoming. But if you can realize, it’s already in the bag. It’s already within you. You already have everything you need to go, do, become – we can feel the certainty, the calming effect of quiet confidence. It’s happening.
Which is also why you can say and believe – I AM verse I really want to or I really should.
This is a much more energy-creating belief and more productive use of your mental focus than playing the “what’s wrong with me” game or “Why can’t I?” game.
It’s time to banish all the “I should…” thoughts and the “I really need to” thoughts and instead start practicing, “I AM” thoughts. There is power and strength and truth to it. It helps you to create more abundance and helps you to recognize all that you are and all that lies within you already.
The Lord loves effort yes – but He also loves effort combined with Faith and remember, FAITH is “the substance of things hoped for [and] the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
It’s okay if you don’t have evidence from your past to offer stability and energy towards your future. You’re not looking back. You’re looking forward and faith creates evidence and substance from your future self. It’s from this place where you grow and develop not because you’re lacking but because you’re abundant already. It’s already within you. You have nothing lacking, you are more than enough, It’s already in the bag.
You want to start identifying with your future self and not the past you. The past you didn’t create the things you want. Your future you already did. Look to your future self. Define yourself by your future and not your past.
And then look inside and notice what happens to the way you speak to yourself. It changes. You’re no longer going to be subtly sabotaging yourself with this negative self-talk. You’re going to be encouraging and confident.
It’s like a parent seeing a baby struggle to walk. The baby doesn’t know it can walk yet. But the parent knows it’s going to happen. It’s already in the bag. They’re on their way. Each attempt isn’t a failure. It’s progression. It’s necessary. It’s building the strength they need to be able to hold themselves up and walk.
We never look at the baby and think, “well I don’t know. They haven’t done it yet. There’s no evidence they can walk.”
We just know. It’s in the bag so we’re nothing but encouraging, certain, confident.
What would change for you if you could cultivate a similar self-talk within yourself? What would happen if you were certain of your progression? If you really believed and knew that you have within you everything you need.
You are what you speak. Feed yourself kindness, certainty, and above all confidence.
You want to become a WORD snob.
You want to be over the top, ridiculously picky and choosy about your words and what you say to yourself.
This practice will help you in ALL areas of your life because it’s the narrative that runs the show and the more you’re aware of it, the more you’ll start seeing these self-sabotaging thoughts pop up and you’ll start to see them for what they really are.
Thoughts without a stable foundation.
YOU are the foundation. You are the steady.
You decide what to build from and what to pass by.
Pay attention to keywords like:
Should, HAVE to, MUST, Ought to and their counterparts: shouldn’t, mustn’t, ought, haven’t…
These are control words – a form of self-passive aggression and they’re hurting you.
Instead, take ownership of everything. CHOOSE everything.
I want to
I’m going to
Keep your future self at the forefront of your mind. Do a quick future scan. Is this something I could see myself doing for the rest of my life? Like DAILY. Is this something I want to be doing forever? And if the answer is no, then readjust.
Could I think this everyday and be happy about it? Would it feel good for me every single day?
If not, then accept, listen, and sift
Be a word snob and stop buying into sabotaging thoughts!
Okay, my catalysts. Have the best week ever and I’ll talk to you soon!