Picture this: You’ve had an extremely busy morning.
You snapped at the kids because they took forever to get ready. You’re running late now, your hair looks messy, and you even spilled your coffee all over your car. All you can think is: Why am I so stupid? I shouldn’t have done that. If only I had fixed X and scheduled Y. I didn’t even deserve that coffee. Of course, me being the clumsy oaf I am, I spilled everything and now I’m running even later. Does this sound like you? Is your inner monologue filled with negative and hurtful self-talk? Let’s dive in to today’s topic: how to kick that negative self-talk.
The fact is, we all speak to ourselves like this. We think it, feel it, and tell others about it, which reinforces those negative beliefs. We each have this negative voice inside our mind that is constantly criticizing and belittling us. Each time we allow that voice to take control and send those harmful messages, we make the voice stronger. When we accept, believe, and repeat this hostile self-talk, we reinforce the neural pathways created by the belief system that gave us those thoughts in the first place.
That’s a loaded sentence, right? So let’s unpack it. All I mean is that every time we repeat those harmful statements, we are reinforcing the harmful belief. Reinforcing this belief makes us feel worse and worse. As a result, feeling stressed or discouraged can lead to more mistakes, moody behavior, and other negative outcomes. Negative self-talk strengthens this cycle of sadness, mistakes, and feelings of inadequacy. Consequently, saying things like “I’m such a bad mom, I can never get the kids out of the house on time,” just increases the likelihood of being unable to get the kids out of the house on time, and that strengthens your feelings of guilt, shame, and stress.
I used to say things like My life is a struggle and I’m a disaster. I would even describe how these things were true, saying that it felt like someone was kicking my legs out from under me and that every day was an uphill battle. And I didn’t just think and say these things; I fully described my situations and articulated each of the ways that I was a disaster. Does this sound familiar to you? Do you find yourself saying things like I can’t do anything right and here’s everything I’ve messed up, and I’ll never be able to afford that or any of these other things? I think we can all relate to those statements. But I eventually realized that this only brings more mess and struggle to my life.
So how can you stop the negative self-talk? When our reflex is to bash ourselves, how can we shift to cultivating a more positive focus? I’ve got a worksheet for you that includes simple methods you can do to cultivate positive focus and kick that negative self-talk. Complete the exercises and start to consciously decide that you will no longer be your own worst enemy. Creating a new habit combining self-love and problem-solving action is the best way to combat that vortex of self-loathing. Have you kicked your negative self-talk?