‘You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens’ Louise L. Hay (Quote)
In previous parts I’ve mentioned how our thoughts, mental pictures and foods can affect our moods, and I’ve shared techniques for disassociating from painful memories. Now let’s discuss self -talk.
What is Self-talk? It is the inner voice in our minds which provides us with a running commentary on everything in our lives. It can be either positive or negative. A lot of our self- talk developed in early childhood based on the things we heard others say to us and about us, or the things we observed others saying in general. We were young and impressionable and we believed what we heard. We form unconscious agreements in our beliefs about ourselves. We become who we repeatedly tell ourselves that we are.
When I was depressed I told myself many things that kept me down, unhappy and sometimes even suicidal. I constantly criticized myself and told myself over and over that I would fail, that I was no good, not worthy, stupid, ugly and fat. My mantra was ‘I can’t’.
To change anything we must first become aware of where we are. We have to catch ourselves thinking, we have to listen to the inner dialogue. We have to talk back and say ‘No, I don’t agree with that anymore, that’s my old conditioning, that’s something my parents/ friends/ partner/ teacher etc. used to say, and that might have felt true for them, but it doesn’t feel true for me, I want something better for me now!’
I discovered a RUT, was only a Record of Unhelpful Thoughts! I learned to not believe everything that I thought, that a belief is simply a thought we keep thinking repeatedly, and that by thinking different thoughts, that we can create different beliefs. In creating different beliefs we can change our habits and behaviour, and hey, there is one big exciting world out there waiting for us when we do this.
Want to feel better in yourself?
- Listen to your self-talk.
- Is it supportive of the person you want to be, or the life you want to have? If not, challenge it and change it.
- If you’re calling yourself ‘stupid’ for example, say instead ‘No, I’m not stupid, I’m just doing the best I can with what I know now, and when I know better, I’ll do better and I sure won’t do it that way again after this though!’
- Balance the talk, if you say ‘There are no jobs out there’ say instead, ‘There are plenty of people working in the type of jobs they like, I’m just finding it a little bit difficult to find one, is there anything I can do, training etc. that would give me a better chance? If not what else can I do with the free time I have?
- When you say something to yourself, ask if there is any evidence to support that thought, are you just assuming, is there another perspective to view this from? Would you speak to a friend the way you are speaking to yourself?
- Ask, ‘Is this thought serving me, will it bring me to where I want to go in life, will it make me feel better or worse?
In Part 6 Mindfulness
Paula is an Author/ Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Artist in Blessington Co. Wicklow. www.i-want-a-better-life.ie / firstname.lastname@example.org / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog email@example.com