The more I connect with people, the more I come to understand how common negative self-talk is.
Everyone’s got a different flavor of it, but the vast majority of the time we say things to ourselves that we wouldn’t dream of saying to another person:
“I can’t believe you fucked it up again.” “Of course they wouldn’t be interested, I mean look at you.” “Everyone’s going to hate you if this isn’t perfect.”
When you mess up or fail, imagine you’re talking to your best friend. What would you want them to know about themselves, and about life, despite this mistake?
I find this is especially true for me when it comes to achievement and getting things done. I set the bar so unreachably high that I can’t hope to hit it, and then when I don’t hit it, I use it as an opportunity to beat myself up and corroborate my story about how I’m not enough and somehow deserve punishment.
“See?? I told you so.”
And weirdly, this rampancy of self-critique makes sense. We grow up in a society that so often demands conformity, punishes full-expression of self, and rewards achievement at the expense of personal well-being. So really, our brains are just trying to keep us safe and out of harm’s way (thanks brain).
But that’s not what you want. That’s not what I want. And luckily it doesn’t have to stay like this. You can create a vastly different self-talk experience
You first have to realize that you are not our thoughts. It may not seem like it, but you have the power to choose to talk to yourself differently.
You can choose more loving thoughts instead of negative critique.
You can choose to give yourself grace instead of punishment.
You can choose to be on your own team.
Start to notice on a day to day basis what your mental chatter sounds like. If it’s not empowering, practice spending time consciously being kind to yourself. Maybe start with an hour and then move up from there.
You are important. You are special. You are worthy!