How many times a day you have negative self-talk? Maybe none, maybe once-twice a day or is your inner conversation constantly negative? To be honest, I wasn’t aware of my negative self-talk for a long time. It was in my head just like background noise. Only when I started to practice self-awareness and mindfulness I had realized how much bullshit was going through my mind unconsciously on a daily basis. How many insecurities, doubts, fears, misbelieves I had about myself.
I should’ve done it the other way…
How many times I have to do the same mistake over and over again…
I feel so stupid and inadequate…
I don’t belong here…
What people would think about me…
I don’t deserve this…
Anything from the above sounds familiar?
Noticing and acknowledging the negative self-talk is already a big breakthrough. Many people don’t realize that by letting the inner judge speak all the time they sabotage their own success, preventing themselves from thriving and being truly happy and free souls.
Just think about it. If someone else was putting you down the way you put down yourself, you would probably take the defensive position immediately. However, when your own inner dialogue is negative, sometimes you wouldn’t even register it. Self-critic thoughts pass through our mind so swiftly, we don’t even realize the level of negativity we pour on ourselves.
Imagine talking to your best friend the way your inner self-critic talks. Surely, you wouldn’t want that. Firstly, it is offensive and secondly, it is most probably absurd. If you catch yourself on a self-deprecating rant, check-in with yourself and ask, “Would I say this to my best friend?” If the answer is “no,” then you certainly don’t deserve to be spoken to in that manner either.
The moment you hear self-judge talking stop it immediately! Just count to ten, observe what is going on with your body, have a few deep breaths, bring your mind to the present moment. Stop for a minute and BE with yourself, and get clear on what you actually think and feel about who you are. The voice will persist and will keep coming to you in many different circumstances, especially in the ones you feel insecure. But once you master the skill of stopping the negative self-talks from coming in, you will notice that the way you think in challenging situations shifts.
It’s not enough to eliminate negative self-talk. You must replace it by saying something positive about yourself. If you say something negative about yourself or your abilities – and you catch it – stop right then and reframe your thoughts.
I tell you an example from my personal experience. Parents of small children will understand me J There are days when parenting seems like a mission impossible for me. I feel exhausted, stressed and desperate. The usual thoughts in my mind at this time are “Parenting sucks! I am a bad mother! I don’t do enough for my children. I can’t cope with two kids! How other moms could deal with three or more..? I just can’t do it”
I have to admit that kind of moments became rare. Perhaps kids are growing and becoming more independent and less demanding. But what I can say for sure is that all those self-deprecating words came out from the tired body and mind. Once I started to be more conscious about the negativity in my mind, I started to turn those thoughts into something more positive or at least neutral like “I am just tired as any other human mother can be sometimes. I am doing my very best for my kids. I give them all I have, all my love and care from the bottom of my heart. It will be another, BETTER day tomorrow.”
Positive affirmations might help to replace self-critics to self-love and self-respect. Repeat them on the way to work or first thing in the morning while brushing your teeth. Your brain will eventually swap those self-insults to the kind and compassionate words that you use in the inner dialogues.
Negative self-talk is going to happen whether you want it to or not. But as long as you recognize it’s happening and challenge it, you can take the necessary next steps to overcome it. And always remember: be nice to yourself. Be your own best friend!
“Your inner critic is simply a part of you that needs more self-love.” – Amy Leigh Mercree, The Compassion Revolution: 30 Days of Living from the Heart
with much love