Negative self-talk

Would you put up with someone you barely know constantly criticize you?

I think not.

Yet how often do you do this very same thing to yourself?

There will be some people who don’t, but many of the clients that I see, have a fair bit of negative chatter going on inside. The biggest one is “I’m not good enough”.

Not good enough at what?

When delving deeper the source of the problem usually stems from a childhood perception, although some people are unfortunate in that they have very negative or toxic parents who frequently tell the child that they are “not good enough” in so many ways.

I remember back to my own childhood when I was learning the times tables and I got stuck on 9 times something…even now I’ve filtered the memory so that I don’t feel those feelings of failure!  My brother who is three years younger piped up with the correct answer and my parents were ecstatic at his cleverness.

Cue the negative self talk.…….“I’m not good at maths”, yet years later in high school I got 100% in a geometry test, because I loved the shapes, had an eye for angles and measurement.  Later in life I developed an interest in Fibonacci numbers, Mandelbrot sets and Sacred Geometry. But because I had that label of not being good at maths and seriously didn’t (and to this day don’t) have a clue about algebra and those weird math stories to puzzle over, my teacher thought I cheated and gave me a detention.

But back to you….. and your negative self talk. Think back to a time when you were a toddler. Your subconscious mind knows what we are talking about even if your conscious mind doesn’t a memory of that time. When you were starting to walk. You pulled yourself upright and most probably sat yourself straight back down again.

Did you think you were “not good enough” then? Of course not!

Taking your first steps….. oooops! Down again.

The Japanese have a lovely saying “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” And that’s exactly what you did until you got yourself mobile. If you are prone to negative self talk then it may pay to remember this.

How to overcome the negative self talk? It will have become a habit and habits can be changed. Some habits take longer to change than others, but this depends on how motivated you are.

Practice observing and listening to others and the language you most frequently use. Notice your language. What if you could substitute some key words you are using for something more positive?

The energy of the words and the tonality are all-important ways in which we communicate subtly.

Is your language positive and empowering or do you dis-empower yourself and others when you speak?

Tony Robbins has some comprehensive language lists in Awaken the Power Within. This is just a very small sample:

Negative Transformed to…
Angry disenchanted
Depressed Not on top of it
Hate prefer
Irritated stimulated
Overwhelmed challenged
Rejected misunderstood
Sad Sorting my thoughts
Stressed busy
Terrible different

It’s time to start being mindful –  use some of these alternatives and notice the difference.