Self Talk

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“I hate my hair. I hate my skin. I’m fat. I’m ugly. Nobody likes me. I can’t get anything right. I’ve stuffed up again. I’m a failure." Notice a pattern? None of that stuff is measurable. Every single one of those statements will depend on my opinion more than an actual fact. What if I don’t suck, and it’s just my opinion that sucks? How do I NOT do this to myself? Soooo many people do this to themselves. Me included. I’m guilty of letting that monkey on my back tear me to shreds. I’ve been there and I have felt my own mind stripping me of my confidence, pulling me down and keeping me there. Today I’m going to talk about what I did to stop and why that’s super important.

An example of what self talk actually does, and how it impacts is that if I tell myself that I am ‘sooo unfit’, it’s hardly going to inspire me to put my runners on. If I tell myself that I am committed to my health – then I’m looking for ways to prove that to myself. Our brain is hard wired to basically make happen what we believe. Sort of like a crystal ball, that you can actually program. While this is fantasic, if you’ve been ripping yourself to shreds, this is also really scary, because you are practically making yourself miserable and literally calling into existence more misery and reasons not to like yourself.

Another way this works is that being nasty to yourself means you won’t look after yourself. If you don’t look after yourself you’re not going to have the results you want. Unless the results you actually want is more of the same stuff you’re not liking.

In other words, your self talk can be used for good or evil. If you use it for good, the way you talk to yourself can help you become a better person. Someone you actually approve of.

You create the person you are by the way you talk to yourself. You’ve already been doing it. You have results. You might not like them, but you have results, and your life, as it is now, is a direct product of what you’ve already been telling yourself.

One thing that stops people being nice to themselves is that they don’t actually like themselves. All they see is their faults and how they don’t measure up. BUT there’s a secret to changing that. You don’t actually have to like yourself and think you’re awesome to change the way that you talk to yourself. Even though I think you’re awesome anyway, you don’t have to believe me. You don’t have to believe yourself when you’re saying nice things about yourself and to yourself, but it’s a chicken and egg thing. If you’ve done stuff that you’re not proud of, and then you’re speaking to yourself nastily, this will be the trap that keeps you repeating your mistakes and hating on yourself. You’ll be all hating on yourself and nasty, and then you won’t make positive changes or become the person you actually want to be. Don’t fall victim to that trap. You don’t actually have to like yourself to be nice. Think about those amazing people who are actually great at customer service. They don’t like every person that comes into the café. But it’s their job to smile at them and be polite and nice. Providing they’re in the right industry, they’ll be good at that.

Consider this YOUR job. Before you look after everyone else, before you earn your money and seek your financial freedom or whatever other goals you might have that you think is going to make you worthy of praise, it is your job to be polite and kind to yourself FIRST. It is your responsibility to notice when you’re being a cranky negative cow and to change that. I’ll tell you why:

All this sums up into one, really scarily powerful sentence.

If you are being mean to yourself, you are wasting your life.

You are wasting your life because you will never achieve greatness by tearing yourself down. Every time you are being nasty to yourself you are weakening and diminishing your potential and you are wasting your power. You are creating a big old nasty vibe and infecting everyone you encounter with it. It will be what people see when you go for a job. It will be what people see when you go to work. It will infect your relationships and future relationships and potential relationships even if people can’t quite put their finger on what is exactly going on, when they encounter you if you’re carrying that stuff around, it’s giving off a vibe and people don’t like it. Unless they’re in a negative space too and then it actually attracts them and you end up like a magnet surrounding yourself with other people who think the same (which further reinforces that this is an appropriate way of thinking!!) It’s not!

Now let me teach you how to change it.

First, give up trying to do this perfectly. Just accept, that if you’ve been Negative Nancy for years, this isn’t going to happen straight away, and you’re not going to be champion of the positivity challenge in 15 minutes. But make a commitment right now, to start making change. You’ve heard of the 1% theory right (mentioned in the last post)? Well, aim for 1% better every day and eventually you'll be 100% better.

You do that first, by noticing (this, by the way, is NOT my material I am totally paraphrasing Dr Wayne Dyer’s work here – but it works and why re-invent the wheel? Credit where credit is due) – you do this by NOTICING. When you begin to NOTICE the way you are talking to yourself, then start interrupting. If you have just said something really nasty to yourself STOP. Then, you replace that sentence. Don’t just stop yourself from saying nasty stuff, replace it with kindness. Whether you believe it or not. It doesn’t matter. Do not stand there and argue about the validity of what you’re saying, simply say something positive and then move on. Distract yourself with something else if you need to. Just don’t stand there taking back your nice comments. In Dr Wayne Dyers 'Secrets to Success' he likens it to someone learning to be a tennis pro. You don’t get out there on the court and just be a pro. First you get out there and hit the balls. When they go over the fence you don’t beat yourself up – you adjust your stroke. You shift your stance. You try again. You keep changing your stance until your shots start going where you want them to and then you keep practicing until you’re good at that. That kind of work can take years before you’re a pro – but that’s ok, because each and every practice is getting you better at it.

I know this probably sounds mad. Not only am I talking to you about talking to yourself but I’m teaching you how to talk to yourself and not argue. Hey, I know you’re already talking to yourself because basically we all do so let’s just get it right ok?

Another thing that helps, for me, is positive affirmation. There are many different ways to work on it, but for me one that is extremely helpful is to sit down for five minutes and work out the person you WANT to be. Not who you are, or your past, or who other people say you are, but you you actually WANT to be. Write down the character traits of that person. What kind of person is that?

For me, that person is loving and kind and helpful. That person is humble and generous. That person is highly capable, intelligent, motivated and determined. Anyways, when you have that list for you, then start telling yourself that that is who you already are. With ‘I’ statements. So for my example my statements would be:

  • I am loving
  • I am kind
  • I am helpful
  • I am humble
  • I am generous
  • I am highly capable
  • I am intelligent
  • I am motivated
  • I am determined

Basically if you haven’t figured it out I’m actually kind of telling you to brainwash yourself. Tell yourself enough and you will believe it. Believe it enough and you will start acting like that. Act like that, and WHAMMO that is who you are! I know, because I’ve done it. I have literally done exactly what I just told you to do.

You are capable of doing this. You don’t even have to believe that - you just have to actually do it. The proof will come later.

Head to my website michellecashman.com and there’s another resource that I use. It’s a meditation that you can download, that tells you positive stuff while you sleep. I use it to get in there and say nice things to myself without having to do it consciously. Put it on when you go to sleep, it helps you actually get to sleep and then, while your defences are down and you’re not arguing back, it tells you positive stuff so it gets into the subconscious. Think about the years of negative thoughts that have created these patterns in your thinking.. We want to over-ride them and teach your brain to think positive ones. The more you do it the better you’ll get at it. Even if you’re practicing while you’re asleep. You can do this. If I can do this, I reckon anyone can.

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Michelle Cashman
Michelle Cashman

Michelle Cashman Singer/songwriter, speaker and podcaster. Founder of The Deciduous Tree Project and host of the weekly 'Transformational Personal Growth' podcast.

www.michellecashman.com | www.thedeciduoustree.com | www.transformationalpersonalgrowth.com