“My brain says some really mean things to me sometimes.” My friend told me this once, and I could totally relate.
How we talk to ourselves makes a big difference in the way we see ourselves in the world. According to an article on healthline.com, “Self-talk is your internal dialogue. It's influenced by your subconscious mind, and it reveals your thoughts, beliefs, questions, and ideas.”
If I’m constantly telling myself I’m not good enough, pretty enough, thin enough, etc., those messages will stifle my growth, lower my self-esteem, and lead to lower self confidence in my place in the world. Not to mention, what kind of message does it teach our kids? Sometimes they hear us say things like, “Ugh! I’m so fat!” Or “I can’t do anything right.” Muttering self-deprecating messages under our breath does not go unnoticed by our children and can lead to our children doing the same thing, therefore lowering their self-esteem and confidence.
What’s the solution?
Here’s my number one tip to start talking more nicely to yourself.
When you catch yourself saying something nasty to yourself, stop and ask yourself, “Would I talk to my kids this way?”
If you tell yourself you are a fat loser, think about saying that to your kid. How would your daughter feel if you told her she was a fat loser? Now think about saying this message over and over to your daughter. When she goes to get dressed but can’t fit into her clothes, you tell her you’re not buying her any more clothes until she loses weight. If she wants to go out for ice cream with her friends, you tell her she’s a fat slob who can’t control herself. If she wants to go to the beach, you tell her she can’t wear a bathing suit because she’s too fat and nobody wants to see her fat body on the beach. Your daughter would be crushed, devastated, and ashamed of herself. She would feel less and less confident over time. As she grew into adulthood, this message would be with her for the rest of her life.
Let’s think about another example. You tell yourself you aren’t smart enough and you never get anything right. Think about giving your son that message. When he wants to start a project, you tell him he’ll never finish anyway, so why bother. Or when he wants to interview for his first job, you say no one will hire him because everyone else is smarter and more talented than he is. Or when he makes a mistake, you annihilate him with your words because smart people should never make mistakes. Your son would lose confidence in himself and his abilities over time. He wouldn’t try new things. He would take the message of worthlessness into his adult years and it could affect his whole life.
Now let’s get back to YOU. If you have someone (your brain) telling you critical, negative words all the time, of course you are not going to feel good about yourself. The longer the negative self-talk continues, the lower your self-esteem will get.
Some of us had parents that actually did say those things to us while we were growing up. Those messages are engraved in our brains. Most of our self-talk is derived from the messages we received from parents and society in our early childhood. But we are not children anymore. As adults, it is up to us to speak to ourselves in a way that is life affirming. We need to retrain ourselves and give ourselves positive messages instead. How do we do this?
Let’s look again at our examples. Let’s say you’ve told your daughter she is a fat cow that doesn’t deserve to dress nicely, have a treat, or go to the beach until she loses weight. Or you’ve said to your son that he is too dumb to start a project or get a job and that he’s an imbecile for making a mistake. How would you make things right with them? You’ve said these horrible things to yourself for years, maybe decades, so how do you make things right with YOU?
It is so important to treat ourselves with dignity and respect in the area of self-talk. Those with more positive self-talk are typically more optimistic and experience a greater level of happiness overall.
Please be nicer to yourself! We experience enough negativity in our society without bringing more of it on with our internal dialogue. You are a unique human being. Since the beginning of time, there has never been anyone alive on earth who is like you with your unique set of talents and characteristics. And there never will be. You are a special imprint on this planet at this exact moment. You are a jewel. Talk to yourself like it!
If you need help clearing old patterns and belief systems, I suggest doing some inner child work. Please contact me for more information.