What would you do if you were in a grocery store doing some shopping, and some random stranger came up to you and said “What the heck are you doing? Are you stupid?? You can’t buy that stuff. Seriously – what is wrong with you?! You can’t do anything! You’re rotten and worthless and I don’t even know why you’re alive!”
If you’re like most people, you’d get upset and might even yell back at him. And if you’re a black belt in some form of marital arts, you may be tempted to kick this guy into next Tuesday!
You would most likely play this scene over and over again in your mind and you would probably tell your friends and family about it.
And while it would be totally inappropriate for a stranger or even a friend to speak to you in that way, many people live their whole lives speaking to themselves that way.
We recognize abusive language when it comes at us from outside ourselves. But when it comes from the inside, we have a tendency to adopt it as the gospel truth. This can be dangerous because what you think determines who you are. Your thoughts determine your attitude.
Have you ever taken the time to analyze your thoughts? Most people don’t. They just go along their merry way (or their frustrated way) with a rambling voice that tells them that they are
* Too Fat
* Too Short
And any number of unloving insults. Face it, if somebody spoke to you like this on a constant basis, you wouldn’t like it. So if you don’t like it when someone else does it to you, why would you do it to yourself? That’s not healthy.
Most likely, you don’t even notice these thoughts when they occur. It just plays like elevator music that you can’t turn off. Or can you?
What Do You Say To Yourself?
If you often have feelings of worthlessness, depression, sadness, jealousy, or any number of issues that can’t be linked to a medical condition, then there’s a good change that what you’re saying to yourself is creating these feelings.
Since you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge, your very first order of business is to get a pen and paper and to write down everything that comes to your mind. Don’t hold back and don’t worry about your spelling or grammar. This is for your eyes and your eyes only.
Once you’ve written a few pages down, go back and read over everything you just wrote.
* What is the tone of my writing?
* How would I respond if someone else said these things to me?
* Is what I’m saying true?
Take a highlighter and highlight all of the negative sentences you’ve written down. Take a red pen and circle any negative words, such as ‘stupid,’ ‘fat’, ‘ugly’, or anything of that nature.
What does your paper look like? Is it mostly yellow? How many red circles are there?
Writing A New Script
Get another sheet of paper and begin to write down the things that you like about yourself. This could be anything ranging from your physical appearances, to your personality to the excellent job you do at your work. It doesn’t matter what it is. Just write down everything that you like.
That wasn’t hard, was it?
Go back and read over that list. How does it make you feel to know that you have all of these good traits?
From now on, make a pact with yourself that you will focus on your positive points and not your negative ones. It’s okay to acknowledge your negative traits. In fact, noticing that you speak to yourself in a negative way is acknowledging a negative trait. But acknowledgment isn’t enough. You have to do something about it.
So now that you have a list of things you like about yourself, let’s revisit your original writing. I want you to re-write everything in a positive light. This could be as easy as writing the opposite of anything you wrote down. For example, if you wrote, “I am ugly,” you would simply change that to the positive “I am beautiful.”
You may feel as if you are lying to yourself because you don’t feel as if what you’re saying is true, and the reason you don’t think it’s true is because you’ve been telling yourself that you’re ugly for the last umpteen years! It’s time to get over that and it’s time to write a new script. It’s time to talk to yourself as if you’re a beautiful, wonderful, valuable and intelligent person….because you are!
It doesn’t really matter what you say to yourself so long as it’s not abusive. This doesn’t mean that you lie to yourself with egotistical statements. This is not an excuse to say “I’m healthy” when you smoke 10 packs of cigarettes a day. But instead of saying “I’m a disgusting smoker” you can say “I have an addiction but I am smoking less cigarettes everyday. I owe it to myself to quit and when the time is right, I will.”
From now on, whenever you notice that your inner dialogue is negative and abusive, you are going to stop and change the course of your thoughts. You can replace negative self-talk with:
* Uplifting Music
* Positive Affirmations
* Good Memories
So, have these tools ready and the next time your inner voice starts to abuse you, stop it in it’s tracks with positive, effective and healthy self-talk.