Negative Self Talk?
Quick question. Do you ever catch yourself beating yourself up?
For example -
My list doesn’t get done, I get stressed out, I try to escape my feelings by scrolling online for “a few minutes” that somehow turns into an hour, and then the negative self talk starts to run wild. 😭 (Ever been there?)
When I first started health coaching, I thought most of my time with clients would be spent discussing advanced nutrition topics or fitness routines.
But after I started receiving messages that included self-shame, apologies, or feelings of being “so behind” (DESPITE amazing progress), I realized… hokey smokes, self-bullying is a bigger problem than a bad diet! If I can change ONE THING in my clients’ lives, I want it to be the way they talk to THEMSELF!
These two truths changed the way I speak to myself:
Truth 1: I am not my thoughts - I am bigger, I have a core identity, and I can hire or fire my thoughts.
Different thoughts may pass through my mind, but they're not always representative of who I am at my core, nor are they always representative of reality.
I like to picture my mind like a cabin, and my thoughts like elves working in the cabin. Sometimes the happy elves are out and about, and other times the sad or defeated elves are out and about. Experiencing a range of emotions makes our life colorful, but I have to remember: I’m not the elves - I’m the cabin. I can hire, fire, retrain, ignore, or redirect who is running the show at my cabin.
When I'm "in a funk," I have this mental health "checklist" of things that could be throwing off my neurotransmitters. I ask myself: am I sleep-deprived? Have I eaten any processed fats or sugars lately? Have I taken any stimulants like caffeine today? Did an upsetting event spiral me into a negative thought patten? Am I emotionally tied to someone or something else that I should talk to someone about?
These things ALL affect our mood and which "elves" are on set. It takes the self-inflicted blame off of of ME and puts accountability on my brain chemistry or neuropathways.
At times, I may choose to simply IGNORE my thoughts because I know my brain waves are off and redirecting every negative thought into a positive one can take so much energy (ugh). But I feel up for it... OUT WITH THE OLD AND IN WITH THE NEW BABY! A new day can begin at the turn of a dime!! Optimistic elves on deck!
One of my favorite authors writes... "Leave the situation, change the situation or accept it. All else is madness." -Eckhart Tolle. (meaning... merely hating our thoughts or situation gets us nowhere but feeling frustrated. We can either accept it, or change it).
Truth 2: Most of our weaknesses are byproducts of our greatest strengths.
(Wait, what?) Check this out.
Do you have a hard time standing up to people? You are probably very empathetic and highly sensitive to others feelings.
Do you run late frequently? You are probably an optimistic person who completely overestimates the amount of things you can accomplish in a limited amount of time.
Have others called you insensitive or lacking emotional empathy? You probably focus more on the hard facts in situations and approach things with a very analytical or detail-oriented view.
Name a weakness, and see what's on the flip side of it.
This exercise isn't to JUSTIFY away our behaviors and write-off ever needing to improve. But it is the practice of self compassion and growing to better "Know Thyself." Simply acknowledging our strengths in our moments of weakness can take a lot of stress off ourself.
Let's say at the end of the day you haven’t accomplished “the list”, do you tell yourself…“Ya did it again Hilda, went through the whole day and didn’t get your list done, you're so behind, when are you ever going to change?”
OR do you say… “Self, today looked a little different than we planned, you certainly are not lacking in vision or ambition to save the whole world and clean your whole house at the same time, but please look at all you DID accomplish today! (*sincere moment of reflection and acknowledgment*). I love your passion and desire to help everyone, so tomorrow let’s focus that energy on just a few top priorities.”
When you spent more time talking to friends than you expected, do you say, “Gosh, you spineless noodle, where did your time go? Do you ever respect yourself?”
Or do you say, “Man, your loving and empathetic heart just LOVES connecting to others, look at the beautiful friendships in your life!! Tomorrow, let’s kindly express our time restraints to those we’re speaking with in order to respect our own time boundaries.”
This post is simply your friendly reminder to acknowledge your strengths and pay more attention to who is controlling your internal dialogue.
A lot of women and men struggle with negative self talk. This world needs more coaches who address self-talk!!
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Sending love and encouragement from one student of emotional health to another.
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