I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the way we talk ourselves.
I was participating in an online webinar recently when the subject of self-talk came up. During the webinar the host asked us to identify and document negative phrases we used throughout the day. The point of the exercise was to open our eyes to how we treated ourselves and to identify the voice inside of our heads.
What an eye-opener.
I mean, I knew that I was hard on myself, I just didn’t understand how much of a drill sergeant I was in my own head.
Barely anything was positive. And I wasn’t having a bad day! In fact, it was quite the contrary. I had a weight loss victory, a professional win, took a bubble bath, read a new book and handled the house like a champ while my husband was out of town. And yet my head was overly critical and focusing on the negative.
Why am I like this? I really don’t know. I’m finding that I regularly avoid acknowledging my strengths and rarely give myself credit for any accomplishments.
I’ve always been one to downplay accomplishments and compliments. I guess I never wanted to be filled with my own self-importance or get overly confident. (I’ve always been turned off by those type of personalities.) But I think that in my quest to not be that guy, I went overboard. I stopped acknowledging my own goodness and strengths. I became self-critical and overly demanding.
I wouldn’t dream of treating anyone else the way that I treat myself. I wouldn’t have a friend (or relative for that matter) left in the world if I did.
Can anyone else relate?
Since then I’ve been doing research on the subject of positive self-talk and as a result I’ve decided to become more aware and pro-active about my internal conversations.
My challenge going forward is to follow this simple rule: I will not say anything to myself that I wouldn’t say to anyone else. I will be gentle and encouraging and kind. When a negative thought appears, I will evaluate it (rationally) and respond with positive affirmations and gratitude. Maybe I will even keep a journal.
It’s a small shift, but one that I believe I can tackle.
Update: Boy the universe is really trying to tell me something here because this powerful video just popped up on my Facebook newsfeed. I guess I’m not the only one who has the same challenges…