“TALK to yourself like you would someone you love.” – Brene Brown
I’m not good enough. I don’t have what it takes. I am too slow. I’m not smart. I can’t do it. I am so stupid. I don’t ever get things right. I’m so fat. I’m so skinny.
Have you ever thought or said any of these things about or to yourself?
From time to time, many of us habitually allow ourselves to engage in some form of negative self-talk, where we judge, criticize and condemn ourselves for being a certain way. Often, it happens so naturally that it goes unnoticed.
For instance, you may have been working on a project and it didn’t happen the way you thought it would. Instead of looking for the learning opportunities in the experience, you begin to blame yourself, telling yourself how incapable and insufficient you are.
In another situation, you may have noticed that you gained some weight. Immediately, you begin to focus on how undisciplined you are or how undesirable you’ve become or how unattractive you are, instead of recognizing that your weight does not define you and you have the will and the power to lose it, if you choose to.
These negative self-perceptions are not the truth of who we really are. They are actually false and misconstrued ideas we have of ourselves, which developed over time, as a result of our interactions with our external world.
In fact, it is a false identity formed as a result of your environment, societal norms, obscured observations and the acceptance of what was told to you over your lifetime.
Our environments are major influences of our beliefs, perspectives and patterns of behaviour. Quite innocently and unconsciously over time, we accept and adopt the dominant expressions of our immediate surroundings. This is why for instance; members of the same family tend to have the same mannerisms, tone of voice and ideas about life. This also applies to other societal structures such as schools or religious organizations.
I’m sure you could remember a time in your past, especially during your childhood, when an adult, a peer, a sibling or someone in your life would have said something unpleasant about or to you. At first you may not have believed them but over time by consistently and repetitively hearing it, you accepted it as your truth.
Environments that are predominantly judgmental, critical and condemning often in turn produce individuals who see themselves in the same disapproving way.
This is also true for societies on a collective level. In the Western world, as a means of encouraging positive attributes to be modelled, comparisons are used, where an ideal human is exalted as better than, whereas persons falling beneath this idyllic are looked down upon or disregarded.
Such methods create a sense of lack, insufficiency and unworthiness in persons who may feel that they do not match the attributes ascribed by society, which subsequently facilitates destructive, negative self-perceptions.
“You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” Louise Hay
Negative self-perceptions and as a result, negative self-talk, limits and deters us from being the powerful, brilliant and divine beings we were all created to be. It inhibits and blocks our potential, while creating stress, unhappiness and dis-ease.
As mentioned previously this unhealthy habit, often happens quite unconsciously, due to the number of years, we’ve engaged in such unserving behaviour.
While this might be the current collective’s reality, individually, we have the power to break free from this compulsive habit and choose something different, by choosing to see ourselves through the eyes of love and truth.
Starting today, you can choose to change this unhealthy and unserving pattern in yourself, by first becoming aware of it. Secondly, through your commitment to your inner healing and reprogramming of the mind, completely removing the negative self-talk and self- perception becomes possible.
I agree, it does take time to reprogram the mind, from habits it has known for several years, but it is possible with your commitment to self and your willingness to always be the best version of yourself.
This week spend time observing yourself, your thoughts and your speech. Catch yourself in the moments you fall into the useless habit of speaking negatively about yourself, then, remind yourself that those thoughts and words are not your truth. Once you have done this, take the opportunity to show yourself some love by speaking and reaffirming the truth of who you are; the truth that you are always good enough. You have more than what it takes to do anything. You do things at a pace you enjoy. You can do anything. You are smart and intelligent. You always get things done in your time. You are always the right weight for you.