Changing Your Negative Self-Talk
“I’m a terrible mom.”
“I’m such a loser.”
“I’m so lazy.”
“I can’t handle this.”
“It’s all my fault.”
These are just a few of the comments my clients share with me on a regular basis. They say them as though they’re telling me a fact, as though they’re just making an observation about themselves.
But the truth is, these statements are thoughts, not facts.
Did you know that all of your thoughts are completely optional? You get to choose them! While you’re not conscious of every thought you have, the more you practice becoming conscious of your thoughts, the better you can become at deliberately choosing them.
This is so exciting and important because thoughts are the cause of all your results in life!
Let’s suppose you just spent an hour cooking a new recipe for dinner. Your son takes one bite of his food, spits it out and says, “Ew, this is gross!” You immediately think, “I’m a terrible mom.”
You feel your jaw clench, your heart race, and your hands start to tingle. You identify your physical reaction as the emotion of inadequacy.
Your feeling of inadequacy drives you to yell at your son and call him “ungrateful.” He storms out of the room, leaving his plate of uneaten food on the table. Your action of yelling results in a disconnection between the two of you, creating evidence for your original thought, “I’m a terrible mom.”
Can you see how the thought (“I’m a terrible mom”) created the result (disconnection with your son)?
Now, what if you could choose a different thought – on purpose? What thought would you choose?
Same situation: your son takes a bite, spits it out and says, “Ew, this is gross!” You could think, “Oh, well. You win some, you lose some.” Or “This is a new recipe. He’s not familiar with these tastes.” Or “I need to teach him a better way to let me know he doesn’t like his food.”
The options are endless, but each thought would create a different emotion – maybe indifferent, compassionate, or helpful – and each emotion would compel you to behave in a different way, creating a different outcome.
For example, let’s say you choose to think, “I need to teach him a better way to let me know he doesn’t like his food.” This thought causes you to feel helpful, so you might say, “In the future when I serve a new dish, I’d like you to take at least three bites. If, after that, you still don’t like it, you can say, ‘I don’t really like this, Mom,’ and then move on to eating the other foods on your plate.”
When you think negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself, your brain goes to work looking for (and creating) evidence to prove them true. When you think positive thoughts and beliefs about yourself, your brain goes to work looking for (and creating) evidence to prove them true, too.
To break the cycle of negative self-talk, you must first become aware of it. Start paying attention to the chatter in your mind. Keep a journal and write in it for five to ten minutes every day. Getting your thoughts out on paper helps you really see what’s going on in that head of yours. Do it with a spirit of kindness and curiosity, rather than of judgment or as another reason to mentally beat yourself up.
Once you begin to notice your thoughts, you’ll start to recognize patterns – and you can explore exactly how they’re causing the results in your life and how to change them to create different results.
The better you think of yourself, the better you'll feel. And the better you feel, the better you'll behave (by the way, the same is true for your kids). By learning to deliberately choose your thoughts, you can create any result you want for yourself.
And that’s a fact 😉
If you want personalized help, click HERE to schedule a free mini-session with me. I’ll give you some free coaching to help you uncover the thoughts and beliefs that are impacting you.