Every moment, each of us has an onboard coach and cheerleader. During challenging times, we hear a voice in our head calming and encouraging us towards our goals.
That is what goes on in your head… right?
We live in a world that has normalized being SO critical. Many of us have gotten in some very destructive habits in how we judge others and ourselves. It is rare for me to spend time with a friend or client when I don’t hear them voice some derogatory insult toward themselves: “Oh, I’m such a dummy,” “What a loser,” “Sometimes I don’t have a brain in my head,” or whatever. People don’t think these self-deprecating comments are really harmful, but they are!
The comments I mentioned are ones that people said out loud. Many of us speak to ourselves in our heads using words and intonations that we would never accept from someone else. We beat ourselves up for the slightest misstep. “There I go doing something stupid again” or worse. When we do something brilliant, do we ever take the same time to compliment ourselves? Or do we still cast a shadow on accomplishments by saying, “Well, you really lucked out this time.”
Why is self-talk so important? The only person who is with you every step of life is you. You might hope your boss, your friend or your partner is there when you need encouragement but honestly, they’re often not nor do they automatically sense what positive feedback you need. You can boost your spirits by speaking kindly to yourself and reminding yourself of your positive attributes and your strengths. This is the kind of self-talk that helps you rise above the stressors of life. How to learn it… practice.
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Make some time to consider these deeper questions that will help you begin to form new habits. Make a cup of tea during some quiet moments. Take out a journal and write the questions down. Then write your thoughts. No judgment, no beating oneself up. Just recording some ideas. You may not get answers but writing your thoughts down will help you when you come back to keep on working… yes, this may take more than one cup of tea on more than one day.
Put on your observer hat and ponder statements like these:
What things do I say to myself that are less than kind and encouraging?
What kind of person do I deeply believe I am?
Who is always there to support me?
When someone criticizes me, do I value their opinion more than my own self-image?
When I’m facing a challenge, what do I say to myself?
That exercise is intended to point out to you clearly that you need some change in the self-encouragement department. Once you’re convinced, that lesson is closed. The more important work begins in finding the positive statements that you wish to begin using.
In that same journal, try writing answers to questions like these:
What are my strengths?
What do I like most about myself?
How can I encourage myself first thing in the morning?
What can I say to myself when I’m facing a challenge?
How can I calm myself in stressful times?
If positive responses felt awkward for you, try imagining your dearest friend asking you any of those questions. How would you encourage them? There’s the beginning of the same sorts of positive encouragement you must begin giving yourself. Positive self-talk is a new habit. It will take some work but you will see benefits in all areas of life and it will make you more happy! Have fun!
More info on positive self-talk
– Forget Positive Thinking: This Is How To Actually Change Negative Thoughts For Success, Melody Wilding, Forbes Magazine online, Aug 15, 2016
– The Art of Talking to Yourself: Self-Awareness Meets the Inner Conversation Kindle Edition by Vironika Tugaleva (Author)
– What to Say When You Talk to Your Self, Jun 20, 2017 by Shad Helmstetter Ph.D
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