Negative self-talk rumbling through your brain often goes unnoticed. Too often we think things like “I’ll never amount to anything, I just said the dumbest thing, I can’t do anything right, no one will ever love me,” without realizing how much it impacts our life. Some of us have learned not to believe every thought that runs through our head. But sadly, there are those who take every thought as gospel truth.
Why is it sad? Because the way you think affects how you act which in turn affects how people treat you. In other words, if you disrespect and devalue your self, the outside world will follow suit. Your thoughts become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Those lethal darts you throw at yourself, if taken as gospel, will absolutely make you miserable. Left unchecked, they become your own private torture chamber. Is this what you want? Tearing yourself to shreds until you’re a whimpering, shell of a person? I think not.
The irony is that most of this stuff is not even yours. You’ve been sold a bill of goods by a society that wants you to conform, your 5th grade teacher at school, the class bully, the father who left, the mother who neglected you. These people were either trying to control you, or were projecting their own misery onto you. Now their judgments and criticisms have become your own– the tape that all too often plays in your head.
So what can you do? First of all, notice when you have a put-down thought. Then instead of waltzing around your brain with it, simply let it pass through. Next, replace the negative with something positive. Are you a loyal friend? A hard worker? A great mother/father? Did you handle a difficult situation particularly well? In other words, pat yourself on the back for something good about you. You’ll probably notice that positive self-talk is not as easy as negative. After all, you’re used to clobbering yourself, not building yourself up. But with practice, I can assure you it gets easier.
Here’s another trick: write your negative thoughts on a piece of paper, then rip it to shreds and throw it away. Or if you can safely burn it, that’s awesome too. Watching those unwanted thoughts burn-baby-burn is wonderfully cleansing. You might also type some of your all time favorites on your computer, then drag them to the trash bin. Wouldn’t that be fun? More than that, it works!
So will you please watch what you think and not let an old negative mind tape have its way with you? How do we live our best life anyway? By whipping our self to death? Or by forgiving our mistakes, encouraging our self, giving our self the benefit of the doubt. I know how I feel best…and I’ll bet it’s true for you too.
Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for great tips and insights about finding peace and your internal wisdom. You can buy it on Kindle worldwide from all Amazon websites, including www.amazon.com