It might sound like this…
I hate myself!
Why do I always say stupid stuff?
I am so fat!
I am ugly!
What’s wrong with me?
No one likes/loves me.
I am not worthy of good things.
I should be a better spouse/parent/friend.
Own Worst Critic
Sound familiar? I bet we have all engaged in this type of behavior against ourselves at some point in our lives. Sometimes it depends on the day. Sometimes we look in the mirror and hate everything about ourselves. We can be our own worst critic.
When we think or say these things, we think we are just saying words – that they don’t really matter – we don’t really mean it. Sometimes, it is just a reflex response – we’re not even aware of it. Kind of like saying, “I’m sorry” all the time and not even realizing it.
Here’s the thing – words matter! Thoughts matter! Your subconscious is extremely literal – it has no sense of humor whatsoever and believes everything you tell it. So, when you say something like, “Good grief, I hate myself!” your subconscious takes in everything you just said and believes it. And you wonder why your self-esteem goes down, down, down. Who knew that thoughts and words could be so very destructive? These words are mental, emotional, and physical self-sabotage. It’s actually self-violence.
Young people today have it even worse because of social media. Back in my day we had advertisements telling us that we needed to change, add, or ingest something to make us prettier, more attractive to the opposite sex, or slimmer versions of ourselves. Now, we not only have the ads, but we have social media telling us all the ways we are wrong. These assaults on our self-worth are not only financially expensive they are costly to our mental stability.
Your Body Also Suffers
The reality is that these negative words affect even more than our self-esteem. Bullying ourselves affects our physical health, too! Studies show it can decrease the brain’s reasoning skills and raises the risk of dementia. Negative self-talk leads to anxiety and depression while lowering levels of self-esteem. It can also cause an increase in stress levels. All this can lead to decreased motivation as well as greater feelings of helplessness.
It’s a Habit!
So, what can you do about negative self-talk? The first step is to realize that not everyone actually does it. Many of us have actually learned to kick the habit – because that is what it is – a habit. Like any habit – you can change it!
How to kick a habit!
- Take away its power! When you catch yourself thinking or saying something negative – stop and reframe. Just swipe your hand in front of you (as if you were erasing a chalk board) and say something loving and kind. You may not believe it at first, but that’s OK. And because your subconscious takes things literally, in a black and white manner, it will believe what you tell it.
- If there are others in your life who have reinforced your pattern of self-bullying and maybe even say negative things also – nip it in the bud – ask them to please reframe their comment. Even if they say they are joking, it is NOT funny! If they love you, they will stop. Other people in your life can fall into this negative routine just like you. Be kind and let them know that you no longer speak that way about yourself and you’d like them not to either. In fact, they can be a big help in gently (focus on word – gently) reminding you if you do say something negative about yourself.
- Talk nicely about others. Believe it or not, if you talk nicely about others and avoid the “juicy” gossip or negative talk, you will also be kinder to yourself. It is just a win-win kind of thing.
- Start visualizing yourself the way you want to be. See yourself as you want to be seen. Talk, walk, think of yourself as you want to be, achieving the things you want to achieve and you become that person. This positive focus is so much more effective, and even good for you!
- Positive affirmations. This practice has been around a long time and in many ways has gotten a bad rap. It may be hard to understand how repeating something to yourself that you might not even believe can really change your thought patterns. But it does! It takes commitment, though! To be successful, it’s going to take more than a day or two…it’s more like steadily keeping the practice up for a month or two. Without all the hurtful self-talk and the reinforcing positive affirmations, you suddenly start seeing yourself the way you want to be seen – achieving all of your personal goals, whatever they may be.
New Neural Pathways
By focusing on creating new, productive habits — including positive self-talk — we are actually forcing tiny dendrites and neurons to grow in our brain.
The more we practice the new habit, the more those neurons connect to each other and become wired together. Once they are wired together, they start firing together and behavior and thought patterns changes.
Let’s consider what Louise Hay, motivational author, and founder of Hay House Publishing, said very nicely…
Many times, our negative self-talk is rooted in unaddressed underlying issues. If you need some help letting go of past pain, hurtful remarks, or traumatic events so you are free to move forward to the life you want, then coaching and/or hypnosis may be what you are looking for. I have helped many clients – including myself – change self-defeating thinking patterns dramatically. You can read about those experiences and see if any of them resonate with you. Just click HERE.
Are You Ready?
I would love to help you change your life and live it more fully! The sooner we get started the sooner the change starts. I’m ready – are you?
Click HERE to schedule your free, no obligation, 30-minute discovery session today!