As I indicated in the previous blog, the first thing to do is to become aware of how you talk to yourself. A couple of things about self-talk: We often don’t even realize we’re doing it, and, when we do do it, it is often laden with judgments, fears, opinions, and criticisms and we become so accustomed to it, it fades into the status of wallpaper. This chatter is always running, like a radio in the background, and what started as our opinions and judgments evolve into facts for us. They are not facts, just personal points of view, but we come to relate to them as if they came from outside of us, like the law of gravity.
I recommend jotting down the internal things you say as they come up for you. Note them on your phone, or on a small note pad -- whatever is easy, and do so for about a week. As you write them down, you do not need to process them, meaning you don’t have to concern yourself with whether they are accurate, or deserved. Recording them is enough for now.
At the end of the week, you should have at least a page filled. Review the list. What do you notice about the things you say? How does it make you feel to peruse those items?
Please do not get hooked by what you read, meaning, don’t buy into thinking that the list is an accurate and unbiased picture of the kind of person you are. It is anything but.
Now, imagine yourself saying those things to a friend, or your child, or someone else’s child. How would you feel unleashing them on an unsuspecting recipient? How would you feel about yourself?
I often ask coaching clients to imagine that I drop off my lovely little 5 year old daughter at their house (I do have a 5 year old daughter, but she’s 27 now) with a request they care for her for a year while I am away. I request that this child be raised knowing nothing but unconditional love. She must always be aware that nothing she says or does will cost her your love. What if you said those things you constantly say to yourself, to her? How would she feel? Would she feel loved without condition? Would that be okay to speak to her that way?
Speaking to anyone that way has a variety of impacts. We would feel bad causing a child to feel unloved, or a friend, but somehow it has become tolerable to level such remarks and observations on ourselves without acknowledging or being responsible for the impact.
Having created a list, you will now be able to better spot such statements as they are happening, even as they are forming. Commit to censoring such talk, to not saying such things. It will take practice, but you will become more proficient in time.
The important next step is to replace those kind of statements with utterances that will have love be present in your relationship with yourself. What might those look like? Acknowledge yourself for being a beautiful gift to the world. For being a person committed to making a difference. For being a loving parent whose mission it is to raise wonderful well adjusted children.
There are many things you can create to insert into the space vacated by the negative interior monologue. You might feel awkward acknowledging yourself so unstintingly. That’s fine. Get over it! Acknowledge yourself generously. You ARE a beautiful gift to the world. Try that on, and start wearing it. BE that. You are not stuck with who you have been in the past, or even earlier today. Start now.
Rehabilitating your relationship with yourself is just the start. Clean it up, get it working. The real work, the inspiring mission of your life, is about to begin.
The world is waiting to hear from you. You in all your wondrous beauty!