We all have experienced self-talk, which is an ongoing, internal narration of what happens any given moment in a person’s life. Self-talk can take a positive, negative or neutral tone. If left unmonitored, this inner commentary can work overtime to create different versions of reality that may or may not be serving you anymore. What if your self-talk was always kind? Imagine how good that would feel. I bet your sense of Self would be very positive and secure, and your stress levels would be very low. What would it look like if you never thought a negative thing about yourself? Looks pretty good, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case for most of us. Over a lifetime, we slowly and subtly use more and more negative self-talk. I see it in my three-year-old daughter. Every time I hear her say something negative about herself I can’t help but wonder if I had taught that to her through my example, or if she had picked it up somewhere along the road of life. Regardless of how and why we develop negative self-talk, it’s important to me that I get rid of it for both of our sakes.
It’s so easy to have all these pre-loaded insults just waiting in your head for a mishap. When you stub your toe: I’m such a wreck! Drop your pen: What’s wrong with me today? Forget something important: I’m so stupid. Sometimes you just don’t like the way you are looking and all of a sudden: I am always ugly. You justify it with ; everyone thinks like this. It’s normal to think like this because I can’t remember not doing it. It doesn’t affect me at all. In actuality, everyone does NOT think like this. It does not have to be the norm, just because you don’t remember not doing it. Even though it takes less than one second to totally insult yourself, the impact on you is abrasive, serious and lasting.
Sure, those around you may not see that you are constantly down on yourself. But what matters is that you are seeing, hearing, and feeling that you are down on yourself because you take those hits and carry them with you 24 hours a day. What if I told you that you don’t have to have negative self-talk anymore? Could it be as easy as just noticing when you do it, then correcting it on the spot? You catch yourself throwing this one: Gah, I’m such a hot mess! Instead of letting that self-talk sit, correct it: Actually, I’m just tired because I stayed up too late last night. I’ll get more sleep tonight.
These micro stories seem like nothing at all, but I challenge you to total them up and keep a tally for one day. How many times do you belittle yourself in a week? A month? A year? Your whole life? Imagine if you were able to save all those insults from just one day, and instead of saying them to yourself, you were saying them to a six-year-old. What do you think the impact would be on that child? What if that six-year-old heard these things every day? Well, that six-year-old is your inner child. That playful, innocent side you have. You have been telling that child all these seemingly small, negative things as far back as you can remember and, over time, this pattern has created a burdenous weight that gets in your way; yet, that child is worthy and lovable and deserves to hear the best things.
This brings us to our second challenge. For the next seven days, I want you to notice every time you start to get down on yourself. When you notice it, flip it to something positive, or just laugh at yourself. If you are successful at doing this, you will see the true impact of self-talk as you start feeling better with all of the praise you’re showering on yourself and your psyche. Have compassion on yourself, and you will have it for all those with whom you come in contact with. Trust me, you’ll be happier for it, and others will be happier to be around a more confident, radiant you… Also, drink more water. Your inner child is thirsty.