Have you ever had someone take your hand and then forcefully start beating you in the face with it? It’s a very unnatural and unpleasant feeling, not to mention it really hurts. We’re not meant to hurt ourselves with our own limbs and we’re not meant to hurt ourselves with our own words or thoughts.
The subconscious cannot tell the difference between our words or another person’s words
Up until a couple years ago, I worked and lived with a woman who made my life miserable. She was nice to everyone else, but she loved to pick on me. Any mistake I made I was told how stupid I was. She knew all my secrets and loved to remind me of my most shameful memories and tell me how horrible of a person I was. As soon as I got up in the morning she was there telling me I was lazy because I didn’t get up earlier to work out. Sweet as pie to everyone else, she made me feel unworthy, unlovable and made me sick. This beast of a woman wasn’t a co-worker, sibling or parent, she was me. I lived with sickness, shame and anxiety for many years until I became my own hero and took control of my self-talk.
Categorically, self-talk is a broad statement. But with the right perspective you can usually narrow it down to a free flowing thought form that comes at you unannounced and unwanted unless you take control. Collectively we would agree that our words are generally not of a positive nature towards ourselves. You would normally never speak to anyone the way you speak to yourself and I can’t imagine that any of us would tolerate being in such an abusive relationship for long.
How do I self talk?
Be your own best friend. One day you show your human side and make an embarrassing mistake that makes you want to curl up under a blanket and never come out. Use comforting words that you would to your best friend or partner and remind yourself of all the things you did, and do, amazingly well. Self-compassion doesn’t just apply to things that happen to you, it applies to things you do to yourself. Example “I am so sorry that happened. It must have been very embarrassing. It will all be okay.”
Be proud of yourself. How often do you brush aside compliments and give reasons why “it really wasn’t that big of a deal”? Relish in the joy of doing amazing things. Even if it’s just managing to fold a fitted sheet, I had heard only wizards could do that. Every day create in yourself a sense of pride for your accomplishments. Example “Nicely done on the folding of that fitted sheets! I heard only wizards could do that! Woot!“
Be the nicest person who has ever been nice to you.
Buff Yourself. Often you will see professional athletes sitting muttering to themselves. They are pumping themselves up using their words. Buffing yourself means to give yourself power. Before an interview, test, meeting, anything that you need to draw inner strength for, use your words. My favorite words to say to myself are “I am so very strong and have proved that many times.“
Allow yourself to love you. The hardest part about self-love and self-talk is the resistance you will have towards it. It will feel awkward saying kind things towards yourself. You will feel like you’re lying or even bragging. Have you ever broke into song and dance while alone and then all of a sudden feel self-conscious and embarrassed? This happens because you are not comfortable around you. And why would you be comfortable around someone that is so mean and degrading at times? Create a kind and loving relationship with yourself by becoming aware of your inner dialogue. You will then see how often and unconsciously you talk down to yourself. Change it. Stick up for yourself. Tell yourself that you are worthy of love and respect and you will not tolerate being treated in any other way. Example “I am a very good person and I am very kind. I am worthy of all good things.“
Just because it’s your own hand doesn’t make it hurt less. Just because the words are your own doesn’t make them any less painful or effective. Now that you are aware of this you have the ability to take control of your your words. By changing your inner dialogue you build a trust and bond with yourself that will make you feel confident and less alone during some of the most scary times, because you know that you have your best friend with you always.
“Like food is to the body, self-talk is to the mind. Don’t let any junk thoughts repeat in your head.”
― Maddy Malhotra, How to Build Self-Esteem and Be Confident: Overcome Fears, Break Habits, Be Successful and Happy