We know that words matter, and today we will dive into the words we say to and about ourselves…our inner dialogue, our self-talk.
I am often amazed at how derogatory we can be to ourselves. We dismiss ourselves, criticize ourselves, and say some ridiculous things to ourselves. Most of us do this without even realizing it or giving it much thought. Maybe you can recall some of this negative self-talk that may sound like…
“I’m so stupid!”
“I’m an idiot; I can’t believe I forgot that.”
Sometimes we say these things quietly or silently to ourselves, and sometimes we say them aloud. Most of us spend our days on autopilot, in an unconscious state. We get into our patterns and routines and are unaware of most of our thoughts or self-talk.
I want to change this. I have a simple exercise for you to begin bringing awareness to these unconscious thoughts. I will ask you to wake up and begin paying attention to the thoughts and words you’re saying to yourself and about yourself.
Get a small notebook and pen that you can keep with you throughout your day. Notice what is going on in the background of your thoughts and write it down. Do not judge what you’ve written or try to correct or change it, just simply notice it and record it. At the end of the week, sit down with it and read through everything you wrote. Now ask yourself, “If I spoke to my best friend or partner like this, how would it impact our relationship?” That should give some pause because I almost always see that people are so harsh with themselves and would never speak to their loved ones in the same way. The unkind words we say to ourselves damage our relationship with ourselves.
Here’s the deal, every cell in your body listens to what you say. We cannot separate our thoughts and words from the rest of ourselves. What we say and think really matters. Your body responds in agreement with your thoughts and words and will perform accordingly.
Notice even subtle things like, “I’m a terrible sleeper. I never get enough sleep.” When we repeat and affirm stories like that repeatedly, we make it our reality.
After you’ve evaluated your internal dialogue, I encourage you to get a friend to do this with you and hold each other accountable. Just decided you’re done with negative, derogatory self-talk and stick with it. You can also re-write your sentences like this,
“I’m learning from my mistakes.”
“I am doing my best.”
After doing this for a month, save a reminder on your calendar to observe what changes around you for yourself, your children, your significant other, your work, and your friendships. When we are speaking uplifting words to ourselves, we are more readily able to offer that to others.
If we want to be the change we wish to see in this world, we must start with ourselves.
“Talk to yourself like you’re someone you love.” – Brene Brown