Thursday, July 28, 2016

20 Tiny Changes #10: Monitor Self-Talk

How do you talk to yourself?

No, I'm not referring to the kind of self-talk that makes people you pass on the street wonder if you're nuts. Most of us don't talk out loud to ourselves (though, occasionally, there's nothing wrong with that). I'm referring to the constant monologue inside your head.

When you mess up, what do you say to yourself? When you're about to try something new, what do you say to yourself? When you look in the mirror, what do you say to yourself?

My guess is, many of us say things to ourselves that we would never utter to someone else.

This is incredibly damaging. We demoralize ourselves when we do this. (I have to note: my finger just hit two keys at once, and the word came out "demortalize." I actually think that's true, too: we take away a piece of our humanity when we speak cruelly to ourselves. We are all imperfect: it's part of being human.)

For a few days, just note what you say to yourself when you're feeling vulnerable, scared, or anxious. Would you talk to your best friend that way? Then why in the world would you talk to yourself like that? Our self-esteem is a fragile thing. We must be our own best friends. What would you say to your best friend when she's feeling scared about trying something new? It would probably be something along the following lines: "C'mon, you can do it. It won't be perfect the first time, and that's okay. Just give it a try!" What would happen if, over time, you had that kind of response to yourself? You'd probably feel less demoralized, and less demortalized. (I made a new word. Pretty neat. It'll probably come up in future posts.)

It can be a hard to habit to break, to be fair. I've been working on it for about 25 years, and am starting to make some progress. It's one I commit to revisiting, too.


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