Updated: Nov 8, 2021
We've all done it. We make a mistake and like clockwork, here comes our inner critic.
"Wow, I'm so stupid. Why did I do that?"
"Way to go, screwing things up again."
"Wow - I look awful today."
"I'll never get it right, I'm just not good enough."
If you've said any of these things to yourself, don't worry - you aren't alone.
Now let's flip the script for a second. Would you say any of those above comments to a friend?
Of course not. That would be mean and probably give your friend a complex.
Here's how the brain works though - it can't decipher between someone saying those things to you, and you saying those things to yourself. So in essence, your brain begins to believe that you are being bullied. If you've ever been bullied, you know the kind of trauma it can put on you. If you've SEEN someone get bullied, you know the effect it can have on a person.
What you are doing is causing unnecessary mental trauma when you talk bad about yourself to yourself. Even little things can erode away at your own self worth. You're doing it to yourself. Your brain is LYING to you.
THEN WHY DO WE SAY THESE THINGS TO OURSELVES???
How can we practice POSITIVE SELF TALK?
Here are four questions you can ask yourself the next time you have a critical self thought:
Is this thought true?
Like, really. Is it a TRUE thought, or just a silly self imposed thought that you are creating in your mind? Be honest with yourself, and you may find that the thought is in fact, not true at all.
Is this thought ABSOLUTELY true?
Seriously. You probably answered yes to the previous question because YOU feel that way, but in all honesty - is it an ABSOLUTELY true thought? Again. Probably not.
What does it feel like when you have that thought?
You certainly don't feel good when you say something bad about yourself or your performance. Your appearance. You called yourself ugly. How did that make you feel? Not good, I bet. If you sit with that critical thought for a while, you will find out soon that you probably feel WORSE when you have those critical thoughts.
What would it be like if you DIDN'T have that thought?
What if you let that thought go, and chose to accept that you did your best, you are doing you best, and you are ARE your best? Think of how much better it will feel to let that thought go. Nobody wants to pull around a giant boulder with a rope, and that's what you're doing to yourself mentally when you chose to have these thoughts. Think of how FREEING it will be to NOT have those thoughts.
I know it can be easier said than done, but trust me - this is a HUGE building block that will increase your confidence, your self esteem, and above all - it will help you have some RESPECT for yourself. You matter, and you're not alone in this.
Next time you go to the negative with a self thought, think about those four questions. Before too long, you will be choosing positive self talk - and learn to PEP yourself up - be your own biggest cheerleader.
You got this. Go do some positive self talk. You are a badass, even if YOU won't say it, I will.