When was the last time you checked in with or paid attention to your thoughts?
It has been my experience through countless conversations with people, that far too many of us live in a cycle of negative thoughts and self-talk. Today, my intention and my hope is that I can give you the tools necessary to create and integrate a new practice into your daily life, one that will have you thinking and speaking more highly of yourself.
Negative self-talk is an endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through our head. It’s an inner dialogue that limits our ability to believe in ourselves and our abilities to reach our potential. Some self-talk comes from logic and reason. While much of it may arise from misconceptions we create because of lack of information.
Most, if not all of us, at some point in our lives, experience the cyclical nature of negative self-talk. This unhealthy habit has its fair share of side effects which can include:
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Maybe? Yes? Okay, let’s take it a step further with the four types of self-talk.
Which type of self-talk resonated with you? We’re you able to recognize something in yourself? If so, the first thing I invite you to do right now is to offer yourself love and compassion. Yes, for simply discovering something about yourself. Do it!
I can relate mostly to the personalizing. I know through the discovery of patterns in myself and my life, that I spend a lot of time self-reflecting. More time than I need to or I’d care to admit. Taking things personally leads me to increased self-reflection. What did I do? How did my words or actions play a role? Who did I piss off? What did I do wrong? How do I need to be punished? What could I have done differently? And there it is in the art and practice of personalizing.
Every single human being has a constellation of voices within them. Our inner voices yearn to be acknowledge, recognized and honored because each one of them is a part of who we are. I imagine you are familiar with the voice of your inner critic. Yes? Well, the inner critic is never going away. Sorry to disappoint. And though sometimes our inner critic can have a crippling effect, we can learn to work with this voice instead of fighting it or letting it drive us forward.
And it all begins with awareness, consciousness or mindfulness. Choose which word feels good to you.
Now, positive self-talk comes with huge benefits. Thinking and speaking highly of yourself can help:
How cool is that?? And that’s just to name a few!
Negative self-talk keeps us in a pessimistic state of being.
Whereas positive self-talk keeps us in an optimistic state of being.
Which would you prefer?
How is your current negative self-talk serving you?
How likely is it you could start to become more aware of the times when you are unnecessarily berating yourself?
How likely is it you could release this outdated, debilitating habit or pattern?
How willing are you to let go of the old and welcome in the new?
How motivated are you to integrate a new anabolic, self-supporting practice into your daily life?
For the past decade I have practiced positive self-thought and self-talk. I’m not saying I’ve perfected it or that I’ll have it all figured out during this lifetime, but what I can share with you now are the steps I use in my practice of thinking and speaking more highly of myself.
No matter what you discover about yourself, the good, the bad and the ugly, come back to a place of love and love yourself. Period. Can’t stress that one enough. LOVE. Invite everything to bring you back to a place of love for yourself. Got it?
#2. Witness and Observe
This is about your ability to become more aware. To identify, recognize and acknowledge the moments of negative self-talk while at the same time releasing your habitual need to label it or to criticize or judge yourself. When you do witness and acknowledge, when you do catch yourself, go back to LOVE.
#3. Meditate, journal, get Creative or Move
Get still and get quiet with your discoveries, feelings and emotions. Feel into them during meditation or write about them in a journal. Go to the arts! Pick up the pencils, paints, clay or any other means of creativity. Find movement in your body. Turn on your favorite music and let your body lead the way through, back to LOVE. Feel your way into and through everything and choose your discipline.
Give yourself permission to love yourself more, no matter what. Give yourself permission to increase your self-awareness, to release outdated patterns, to take moments throughout your day to assess your quality of thought, to surround yourself with only those who uplift and support your journey, and give yourself permission to seek out humor, especially in yourself. You can do this when you give yourself permission to do so.
#5. Rinse and Repeat
With any new practice you can expect to take steps forward, backwards and forward again. Remember that practices don’t create time for themselves. It’s up to you to schedule time for the integration of this new practice of thinking and speaking more highly of yourself. Above all else, repeat LOVE at every corner of discovery and at every avenue of awareness.
Integrating new practices, shifting from negative self-talk to positive and all the steps, tools and skills require time. You can’t expect the miracle of this shift to happen overnight. It can be a life-long commitment if you choose to make it so. A commitment to reprogramming your mind, increased self-love and self-care as well as fostering a more compassionate and forgiving relationship with yourself.
Think of yourself as your best friend. What would you say to a good friend, or a child who is trapped in a cycle of negativity? Would you berate them and cause them to think less of themselves? I imagine not. So why are you doing it to yourself?
Do not ignore the less-than-pleasant aspects of life. Embrace them instead with the intention of feeling and shifting from a place of love for yourself and your evolution. A practice of positivity helps us to approach unpleasantness in a more uplifting and productive way.
Love yourself now.
No matter what you discover.
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Self-Awareness and Transformational Coach, Inner Child Advocate, and Yin Yoga Teacher.