Three Things That Help Squelch Negative Self-Talk!
“Tell the negative committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up.”~ Ann Bradford
My dear friend and mentor Pat McGill always starts her day by spending time in what author Matthew Kelly calls “the classroom of silence.” I love starting off every morning the same way and when I don’t, the difference is really noticeable. However, all too often our prayer life starts off with a laundry list of “Lord, please give me.” But in truth, we learn so much more by listening than talking. Every time.
I love the simple prayer that Pat offers first in those precious minutes before her day kicks into high gear. “God, please get into my head before I do. Amen.” In my opinion that’s a powerful, humble way to begin. Research indicates the average human being has anywhere between 40,000 and 70,000 thoughts a day and about 80% of them are negative. I can’t begin to comprehend how that was measured! It isn’t too surprising, though, when you consider the endless inner dialog we have running through our heads every day.
When those negative thoughts leak out of our lips
Do you ever listen to what comes out of your mouth when you talk about yourself? Just recently, I did and when I really listened to myself I was sort of horrified. It went something like this. “I need to do something with my stupid hair and slap on some make up so I can drag myself to the store.” I’m sure I made a few more snide, self-inflicted jabs about “nothing in my closet” and “I look fat in everything.” Really? Stupid hair? Slap on make up? Drag myself to the store? Such ugly self-talk! I would never dream of saying those words to anyone else!
Self-talk like this is commonplace but can be extremely damaging to our confidence and self worth. Here’s the key I discovered. It’s habitual. It’s learned, so it’s fixable. The easiest way to break a bad habit it to drive it out with a new one. The trick is to be aware there’s a negative pattern. When those phrases start to form in your head, change the words. It’s worth the effort!
When my sister was visiting I shared my efforts to change my ways and hoped she would be my word police. Instead of slapping on makeup, I said I would quickly apply some. Instead of “my stupid hair” I described it as unruly. So much more accurate and way more gentle. You see where I’m going with this?
Three things you can do to change your self-talk
- Listen to yourself, really listen. What are you telling yourself? Would you ever say those words to anyone else? If not, don’t say it to yourself! Find a kind friend who will gently remind you to be nicer to you. Do the same for your friend.
- Find ways to change and re-frame your self-talk. You are not stupid. Did you do something that was not a good choice? Maybe, but see what a difference it makes when you put it in kinder words?
- Don’t believe everything you think or say. When you catch yourself saying something like you’re a big ugly cow ask yourself, “Am I really?” The answer is of course you aren’t! Learn to laugh at yourself when you say something ridiculous. Humor helps almost everything.
Life is so much better when we learn to be as kind to ourselves as we are to others. It’s way easier when you know your why, know your how and best of all, know your wow! Need a program for your office or group? I’d love to share my fun, fast-paced hour with you and help you see your world with new eyes! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org! See you next week!