Get Happy: Change Your Negative Self-Talk

It’s time to stop being your own worst enemy and get out of your own way.

Learn to Be Still so you can create the life of your dreamsImagine how much different your life would be if you didn’t have so many self-limiting beliefs; if you didn’t talk down to yourself, make yourself feel small and insignificant.

Imagine if you could let go of the notion of who you think you are, and just become the type of person you always wanted to be.

No blocks. No crippling anxiety. No playing small.

Imagine if you could show up in every area of your life as the master of your domain.

You have a vision of your life and you bring that vision to reality. You don’t self-talk your way out of doing the right things at the right time. You’d be free.

I know this, because, to some degree I’ve done it.

At one point, for several months (circa 2004), I couldn’t look into the mirror without feeling disgust.

My reflection made me vomit. And I took it out on the world around me.

Self-loathing was my comfort zone.

The voice in my head helped me create walls.

When you live your life protected by the invisible walls of your own making, everyone suffers.

Photo: Mime 2 found on Flicker By phasefire

Photo: Mime 2 found on Flicker By phasefire

Most of your relationships are superficial, so no one really notices how you see yourself.

You keep yourself insulated from situations that might challenge you or stretch your comfort zone; this cuts you off at the knees and makes moving forward difficult.

The unlucky few who see something good in you, pay a pretty big price for your friendship. You are an island. You protect the island with hoops for others to jump through.

If that sounds familiar then keep reading…

You have the ability to change the way you see yourself.

For me, changing the way I see myself has been both, the most challenging thing I’ve done, and the most rewarding.

The challenge is that the voice doesn’t seem to go away completely.

It’s nearly always there; an undercurrent  that churns up the sediment from the bottom of my sea of emotions, where the idea of “you’re not good enough” lives and breathes.

Just when I start to make forward progress, the voice comes in and shuts me down. My brain freezes. I search for new answers instead of just doing what needs to be done.

The rewards are apparent.

Stop Beating Yourself UpYears ago, I thought I would never be able to have a healthy relationship, and I was ok with being single for the rest of my life. Then one day I thought about living another 40 years without a partner, and it just didn’t seem right.

I started to really examine myself image when it comes to relationships, and I took an active part in changing it.

Today, I am married to a wonderful woman, and I’m doing a pretty damn good job at being a husband. She feels loved. We both feel very lucky to have one another.

What I found throughout the past few years, going from alone in a single-wide trailer to married living in a lake home, is that the work never really ends.

Your Negative Self-Talk Wants to Be Heard

It’s your job to listen; you don’t have to agree.

When you listen to your self-talk pay attention to the phrasing. Look for harsh words and self-deprecation. Get very clear on how you see yourself.

Then make a point to create a new script and make it a practice to be kinder and gentler to yourself, because the way you see yourself reflects in all that you do and all that you experience.

Here’s a weird trick that will help you shift the way you see yourself.

When your stress levels are up, and you start to hear the voice of ‘I’m not good enough,’ use either your name or ‘you.’

Talking about yourself in the third person puts distance between the emotions of the situation and your identity. It helps you see the situation from a different perspective and helps you shift from being your own worst critic, to being your biggest cheerleader.

Here’s an example:

I’m tasked with a writing assignment in a niche that I’ve studied extensively, but have not applied the knowledge for myself.

Each time I attempt to write my voice sounds like this.

“Uuuugghhh. I can’t do this. Who am I? I haven’t done this before. What if I’m wrong. I’ll look like an asshole. There are so many people better qualified to write this stuff than me. Oh… shit. If I don’t get this done, he’s going stop paying me. What I get it done and he hates it. He’s going to stop paying me.”

The conversation triggers survival instincts.

I feel like at any moment the rug will be pulled out from under me and that I won’t be able to contribute to the family budget.

Anxiety kicks in. My brain looks for ways to soothe and feel safe. The actions that follow are counter productive. (check Facebook, Grab something to eat, buy some information that will fix it, etc)

Sometimes I’ll do anything and everything except the thing that will produce the best results.

But, when I take the time to practice better self-talk things are different.

“Relax Tim. You’ve got this. You’re a terrific writer, and words flow easily. You know more than enough to add value to this topic. Writing this will inspire some and entertain others. Not everyone will agree and that’s ok. They don’t have to. Just write your truth, and support it with data and evidence. You got this. Relax.”

See the difference?

When you see yourself and talk to yourself as someone capable and worthy, things flow differently.

You stand, walk and talk differently. And in turn, you feel differently about yourself and the world around you.

But, it takes practice, and it’s an ongoing effort.

That’s why I want you to make the commitment with me, right here today to make it a priority to take a long, hard, and deep look at yourself in the mirror.

Take ownership of the way you see yourself and the way you talk to yourself.

Then…

Examine the current state of your reality and ask these questions.

What’s not working for you in each area of your life?

  • Health:emotional, and physical
  • Relationships
  • Contribution (work)
  • Finances

What would you prefer to experience in those areas?

What strategies will help those experiences come to life?

Word of caution: trying to change everything all at once is counter productive as is deciding to go full bore with some new habits. You will resits change. There will be set-backs.

When those set-backs happen, listen. Shift the conversation. Reframe. Move forward.

Get out of your own way.

You don’t have to be your own worst enemy. That’s just your brain trying it’s best to survive.

You can shift the way you see yourself, which in turn will shift the way you show up in your own life.

Little by little, you will start to feel, act and look better.

And if you want to take it a step further, take these steps.

  • Create a solid, crystal clear vision of the life you are creating.
  • Spend time being still with that vision. Meditate.
  • Set your intentions and focus on them like you’re on a mission.
  • Journal and keep track of how you spend your time, energy, and money as well as how you feel each day.
  • Seek support. (Therapy saves lives) You could also look for a mentor, a coach, an accountability group or partner up with someone who has a similar goal and mastermind.

Just don’t be an island.

We’re in this together. And together we can change the world. But, it all starts by looking in the mirror and changing the way you talk to yourself.

Let me know if you have any questions, comment below.

Some articles that inspired this piece:

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/10/07/353292408/why-saying-is-believing-the-science-of-self-talk

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/one-true-thing/201410/10-things-you-can-toss-no-regrets

http://psychcentral.com/lib/cognitive-distortions-the-lies-depression-tells/

 

About The Author

tsmcauley

Hi, I'm Tim McAuley the founder of Soul Surfer School where I help people learn how to get out of their own way so they can create the life they deserve by sharing proven techniques to create better habits so they can do the work to actually deserve the life of their dreams.

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