You live in a world within a world. The universe of your mind is much more complex and sacred than the physical realm where your body resides. You have secrets hidden behind those dazzling eyes, opinions which you never voice for reasons only you can understand, emotions you never let past your walls. Each day you relive precious moments from days gone by through memories brought on by a smell or sound. All the while you are going about your daily life. A multitasking undertaking of magnitude as you continue working on that important project at work or scurry to get the kids in bed on time. You rarely miss a beat, but when you do…
The atmosphere inside your mind drastically changes. It takes on a somber tone. The once-shimmering golden glow of the beauty of life transforms into a pale and musky gleam of darkness and dust. You can feel it like thunder pounding in your chest, it’s failure returning to tear down what’s left. The hollow pit you feel inside your stomach is quickly filled as your mind devours the final soldiers of reason. All your thoughts turn to face the glum perspective of negative thinking. Pounding inside your skull, you can’t hear through the chants as your mind starts to barrage you with belligerence.
What is negative self-talk?
Negative self-talk starts with your attitude. It’s about how you decide to react to whatever is happening to or around you. Often these inner dialogues are based on unfounded “facts” where you place blame where there are no grounds for it or where you over-generalize or amplify the magnitude of the consequences. It’s a habit adopted over time, reinforced by the lenient measures of corrective behavior you enforce, or don’t. You give it power over you by being agreeable. One negative-self-talk monologue after another you allow your character to be stripped of its dignity, independence, courage, and confidence.
Why do we do it?
The feeling of failure or fear of failure is a very scary thing. The smallest seeds of doubt in these situations can be cataclysmic to your state of mind. Once it starts there is no stopping it. For most people anyway. As our world has grown through the revolutions and become more connected people have changed to adapt to the circumstances. It turns out that a world where social media is king, is a world where wars are fought every day. It’s no longer a concept of the War of Worlds but the War of Words.
Behind a screen, you are separated from the human aspects of social interaction. The screen is like a filter filtering out empathy. When you type a rude remark or make fun of someone online you are not faced with the immediate emotional response from the person on the other end. So, you say whatever comes to mind with no regard for the outcome.
It’s been proven that suicide is on the rise. The highest rates being those of our children, some as young as 9 (or even younger). Could there be a correlation? Could the interactions on social media be inciting such negative thoughts and self-hate that we see no other way to cope?
That being said it’s not only social media that pushes you to negative thoughts about yourself. It could stem from any social setting where you are constantly criticized or judged, or scorned for “failing”. This constant need to be perfect and the constant criticism of others has flipped a switch in your mind. You have been conditioned to believe that it is the norm to be perfect all the time. “Failing” to be perfect then triggers the inner critic who has been granted free reign.
How to minimize negative self-talk?
Change your perspective
I can promise you that nobody is perfect, so stop pushing yourself to achieve the impossible. There are so many things you have control over, but the outcome of everything you touch is not a realistic goal. Keep putting your best efforts forward but accept that sometimes things will fall apart. You will not be loved any less.
Failure is not final. It’s part of the process of learning and improving. It’s part of life. When things go to shit, embrace it! Keep your eyes wide open as the walls of Jericho come tumbling down and marvel at the beauty of it all. With your eyes open and observing with an nonjudgmental attitude, you might see something you missed previously. Perhaps the solution to the problem will reveal itself when you are able to witness the point of failure as it takes place.
Stop telling fortunes
There’s no way to tell for sure how things will pan out. If you are too focused on trying to predict an outcome then you are not present with what you are doing right now. Fortune telling might lead to your failure, so stop that right now!
Mountains of molehills
So you made a slip-up. You forgot to add salt to the pasta and now your children will hate you for the rest of your life? I think not. A mistake is only as big as you allow it to be. Look upon your failures with a modest eye and when your mind is telling you that the results will be catastrophic, drink a glass of wine and prove yourself wrong.
Molehills of mountains
As a woman, you downplay your skills and your achievements every day. It’s a cultural norm. I’m asking you to put an end to it. Whenever you get a win I want you to celebrate it! Flood your life with praise where it is warranted and watch the negative self-talk wain away.
Meditation III – Affirmations
This meditation will help you let go of negative self-talk, and replace it with empowering thinking. Do this meditation whenever you find yourself having an inner dialogue where your mind is being a complete arse.
- When you notice negative self-talk, stop and hold the thought in your mind.
- If you have a notepad at hand, it’s useful to note down the thought.
- Start by countering the thought, disprove it.
- Repeat your daily affirmation to regain your power.
- Do a short breathing exercise by counting your breaths until you reach ten.
- Repeat as many times as you like. There is no goal here except for you to relax your mind.
- When you are ready to conclude the session, take a deep breath in, hold it for a few seconds, and release.
The journey to rediscover your control over your thoughts about yourself and your self-talk is in your hands. Nobody can tell you what is going on in your own mind. It’s such a powerful influencer in your life, because these thoughts, this one voice, follows you everywhere you go 24/7. Imagine the power of having positive self-talk repeating in your mind throughout the day; A reassurance that 1 minute before you go on stage, a consoling voice when you make a mess of something, a calming thought 1 second before you lose it and go ballistic. Change the negative to positive, one tiny meditation at a time.