Negative self-talk. As a self-love coach, this comes up regularly in sessions. Usually after a few gentle questions, I am able to shine a light on what is happening and make my client aware that it is NOT the truth of WHO they are. This talk can be damaging and lethal when it is in the privacy of our own heads. No one escapes this talk. Those voices haunt and taunt me too, each and every single day. My negative self-talk may say things like,
Who are YOU to have it all?
What kind of blog post was that?
You are not good enough!
You need more education before anyone will take you seriously.
You might as well just quit. You are never going to succeed at this.
On and on…
This is a normal part of the human condition, having an inner critic, saboteur, or Negative Nellie follow us around telling us we are no good. Sometimes we can make peace with it, sometimes we can ignore it, and sometimes we let it into our hearts thinking it is right! It always feels like a constant battle but here is the thing, you can try to run from it OR see it for what it is. Your greatest ALLY. Say, Whaaat?
Yup, you read that right. This Inner Critic that is constantly putting you down, trying to make you feel worthless, well, he/she is there to get you fired up, to remind you to not take life for granted AND to never forget that you have something important to do with your life.
When you see this critic as your ally, you flip the switch on what it is saying and using it to see where you may need to be more compassionate to yourself. It is a way to help you remember where you should love who you are more! Doesn’t that feel better? A little less exhausting? That negative self-talk is there in your head to help you, not bring you down. You always have A CHOICE in how to respond to those messages. You can choose to let it in and affect how you see yourself OR, (I recommend this one), you can let it SERVE you in seeing that it is not true and no one, not even your inner critic, has any ownership on your self-worth but YOU. Bryon Katie uses a wonderful technique called The Work where she explains we ought to ask the thought or negative self-talk, “Is this true?”
Now, some say that we should get rid of that negative self-talker but guess what the more you push it away the stronger that voice gets. I don’t believe it is possible. But you can do a number of things to make it less vocal and central in your life. Here are some wonderful suggestions you can start today.
- Mirror work – Louise Hay created this one and it is very powerful. Every morning, look at yourself in the mirror and say one or two good things to yourself, looking in your eyes. “I love you.” “You are beautiful.” Watch how you will transform in thirty days.
- Write a powerful affirmation (on your mirror or your desktop on your computer). I have been using this one, “I AM ENOUGH.” This affirmation strengthens that my self-worth is defined by me.
- Meditating. Find a meditation or create one that helps you get some silence in your mind. The goal is to allow the thoughts to be there without judgment or attachment to them. This takes a consistent practice.
- Morning pages by Julia Cameron in the book, “The Artist’s Way”. Every morning you begin your day by writing 3 pages of whatever comes to your mind. No editing. It frees the grip of that voice because it was recognized for a minute or two. This allows for creativity to flow.
- Use Bryon Katie’s method, as mentioned above. http://thework.com/en
- Start a Gratitude journal.
Please keep in mind that after 30 days or more, you may need to change up your practice. For instance, change the affirmation you say to yourself or what you have written on the mirror. Because we get “use” to these words it no longer stimulates us or has the impact as it did in the beginning. It becomes automatic. One practice that works consistently well is a gratitude journal. Jotting down 5 things at the end of your day that made you feel grateful. For example, “I’m grateful that the sun is shining”. Creating a gratitude journal never gets tired because it stimulates your mind to find the good in your day. Your mind thrives best when there is a puzzle to solve. These practices do not take away the critic. They are in place to help keep the negative self-talk in check and guide you in finding out what is most important to you and how to give yourself a little more love and understanding. You are Enough! 🙂
What negative things has your inner critic been saying?
Are you inspired to make a few of these changes today?
If so, please share in the comments what you will start doing to make your inner critic be your ally.