I’VE been talking to myself a lot lately.
(Although to be fair, I always talk to myself, so no great news here.)
But what is different though, is the way in which I am talking to myself. And the language that I’ve been using.
Because I’ve been working on it you see.
The words that I use for my internal dialogue. The phrases that I say. And I’ve been working hard at it too. Like really hard. If you ask me, I deserve a big gold star for effort.
Anyway, a few months ago I realised that the way in which I spoke to myself wasn’t working. Nor was it doing me any good. In fact, more than likely, it was probably doing me great harm.
My internal dialogue had become rubbish. My mind filled with too much junk.
We all do it I think at some point? Or must of us do anyway.
We let the thoughts in our heads run wild and our negative chatter go on a rampage through our fragile minds. We berate ourselves. We yell dramatically. We whisper nasty little things. And we sometimes even mock.
“I can’t do this. I’ll fail. People will hate me. Again! Like that time I …”
“I’m useless. Why did I do that? I’m always cocking up and making mistakes. I’m never going to learn. What a f**k up!”
“My friend hates me. I’m sure of it. Why does she look at me, like that? Maybe I’m a rotten friend. I don’t deserve her.”
And on it goes.
Like a runaway train, our thoughts take on a journey off their own and lead us to a destination we’d never actually chosen to visit, but somehow find ourselves dropped off there.
Over the years I’ve worked hard on my inner dialogue. And I’ve read all kinds of books – you know the self help type ones – and tried to take on board their wisdom.
Without doubt, they helped. The kinder I was to myself, the more conscious I was of my internal voice, the more powerful I felt about changing things.
Even though I made some progress, I still really struggled with the sinister nagging voice that was always there. And particularly loud on a bad day.
And so a few months ago, I decided to really do my best to put an end to the negative natter and gag it once and for all. I decided to change my chatter.
And I decided I would do it by speaking to myself, as I would to a best friend.
There are of course times when I fail pretty miserably. Yesterday was one of them. The days when I’m exhausted or sleep deprived really take some effort.
But in the main, now, whenever I catch myself thinking negatively or speaking to myself in harsh terms, I do my best to flip the switch and change the voice.
I wrestle out the critic and I welcome in my best friend.
And this is what I’ve learned.
When you talk to yourself as you would to a best friend, things start to change. Like really change. Your internal words become instinctively kinder. Your tone soft and encouraging.
You acknowledge your mistakes but no longer dwell on them. Your stress levels lessen and – (this is the big one) – you start to treat yourself better.
You go to bed earlier. You rest more. You eat healthier food. You dress nicer. You take chances. You laugh at your mishaps.
Perhaps you already talk to yourself as you would to a best friend. Perhaps you’ve always done this and can’t quite believe that I’m late to the party and only just catching up? (If that’s you, neither can I.)
But. If you don’t and if you haven’t, well, why not give it a try and see what happens for you?
Silence that critical inner voice, speak kindly to yourself just like you would to a pal and cut yourself some slack.
It’s what we all try to do for our best mates. So why on earth, I ask you, don’t we do it for ourselves?
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