I talk to myself. Don’t you? I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. I talk to my dogs as if they are going to respond, so I certainly should be able to pull off talking to myself…I mean, at least I answer, right? Oh wait, is it not good when you answer yourself? Well, anyway, I know that I am not alone. I have heard plenty of people talking to themselves, and that doesn’t even count the many years I spent as a bartender.
What Are You Saying?
We aren’t so different, you and me. And even if you don’t talk to yourself out loud, you talk to yourself inside that beautiful head of yours all day. Every day. So what are you saying? More often than not, that internal chatter is negative. I do it myself. Every time I forget something, drop something or smack my elbow (what? I have really bony elbows!) on something, I say the word stupid to,and about myself. When I ran my daycare stupid was as bad as any swear word, my kids couldn’t use it. So why do I feel so eager to use it on myself. It has become an involuntary reaction to whatever stimuli brings it on. I don’t actually believe that I am stupid, but when I tell myself I am stupid, it makes me feel bad anyway. And what does that do to my subconscious mind? No, seriously, I am asking, I am not a neuroscientist, what does it do?
So What’s the Deal?
Why do we feel like we can get away with talking poorly about ourselves? We likely wouldn’t let our friends or family members do it to us, but we happily do it to ourselves? Yep! If it is what we have always done, it probably feels pretty natural to us by now. But here’s the thing… Your self-talk changes the way you think. It changes the way you feel about things. It changes what you will achieve! Don’t believe me? When was the last time that you started a diet, and maybe the first day, maybe the next day, maybe a few days in you decided to “treat yourself” and have a donut. I bet it was delicious! But then you realized that you “cheated” on your diet plan. You “blew it”. And then you decided that you had already messed it up so you might as well quit. Am I right? It was one donut, and you let it, and the way you talked to yourself about your perceived failure, convince you that you didn’t deserve to fit into those jeans on your closet shelf. That you didn’t deserve to feel sexy in that new dress for that big occasion. You let yourself talk to you like that…over a one donut. Rather than tell yourself the truth, it was just a donut, it doesn’t really matter that much, I will do 10 extra minutes of cardio or an extra thousand steps to make up for it. Nope, we tell ourselves that donut brought about our epic and complete failure! Does that make any sense? I am not just talking about diet and weight loss. That negative self-talk has beaten you down about lots of other things too. You have likely told yourself that you are not pretty enough, not smart enough, that you are too this or not enough of that, that you don’t make enough money, that you don’t deserve to be happy, blah, blah, negative blah…toxic self-talk, that just makes you feel…well, crappy!
Flip It Around!
How many times have you heard the suggestion that you should write your favorite motivational saying on your bathroom mirror? Do you know why so many positive happy people suggest it? Because it works! Yes, reminding yourself of something positive repeatedly throughout the day changes the way your brain works. YES! You can train your brain to talk nice to you. Post a sticky or write on your bathroom mirror in lipstick…whatever it takes. Just a phrase as simple as “Hello Beautiful” can change the way you start and end your day. If you have a repetitive negative thought bouncing around your pretty head, write down the anecdote to that thought and keep it somewhere that you can see it. My planner (www.ErinCondren.com) for 2015 had a cover that stated “there are so many beautiful reasons to be happy.” That saying became so meaningful to me after looking at it for 365 days that it became the driving force behind my Finding Your Best Self blog and Facebook group! The back cover of my planner also had an awesome picture of me with my two best friends on it. Talk about always having something in front of me that reminded me to be happy! The messages that you tell yourself matter! Remember Stuart Smalley from Saturday Night Live in the early 90’s? Let me refresh your memory with this video . Well, that was my Senator, Al Franken! His mantra, “I am good enough, I am smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me,” has stuck with many from my generation. We might laugh when we see him now, but his repeating positive affirmations into the mirror is exactly the practice that those of us with “stinking thinking” need to undertake. And there is no time to delay.
I Challenge You…
Here is my challenge… Choose your favorite inspirational phrase or a series of them (don’t beat yourself up because you can’t decide). Post it somewhere that you can see it and maybe even read it aloud to yourself several times throughout the day. Pay attention when negative self-talk creeps in and recognize it. Talk NICE to yourself for 3 days. That’s it, 3 days! And then let me know if you feel any differently. I am willing to bet you that you feel more positive, lighter, more motivated, and more optimistic after only a few days of watching your thinking. Then make it a habit by committing to it for 30 days. Subscribe to my email list for help in staying motivated, check out some podcasts on the subject, and be nice to yourself!
Let’s talk again soon! But in the meantime…why not post a comment to this blog and tell me what your inspirational-motivational-you-are-amazing-positive-thinking phrase is going to be. Here’s one to get you started, “You are a beautiful person, and I appreciate you!”