A Deeper Truth: How We Talk to Ourselves

Man walking on the edge of a pathway

“I hate people,” you say to yourself when you get up in the morning before work. When you are at work, you drink your coffee and think about why things aren’t going your way. “Why do people not like me?” you say to yourself again and again. When someone says hello, you mumble a response back. You make the excuse that you are just not a morning person.

Does this sound familiar to you?

There is a difference between your mind and you. You are the one to make logical decisions. and can see the gray areas in life. You see that there are some people who you just don’t mesh well with and others that you do. There is an understanding ‘hate” is a super strong word that you should use with caution. Your mind is more emotional. It is more prone to go to extremes. It makes excuses for its behavior to continue bad habits and disrupt good ones.

Sometimes, you hear people naming their mind or emotional inner voice like “Bitchie Brenda,” “Debbie Downer,” or something else of the sort. This is the voice that only looks at the negative and lets you know upfront about it!

Let’s Talk Self-Talk

Don’t get me wrong while there are the logical you and this emotional you, you are still in total control of both. However, for us to make a change we need to recognize when there is a problem.

When we make over-generalized statements about ourselves this can become problematic. It could mean that with what we think or what we are saying to ourselves we are fulfilling a self-imposed prophecy even though it’s not what we really want to happen in the first place.

But like most humans, we tend to get in the way of what we want before someone else can.

When we have negative self-talk, we create the intention of avoidance. “I hate people.” Really, it can mean that I don’t want to be hurt again by someone else. I am afraid of this pain. And to protect myself from this pain, I am going to reject people before they can reject me. Because I rejected people first, people, in general, are going to avoid me because they don’t want to get hurt.

You are not going to win the heart of every single human out there. You will experience rejection and pain if you open up to others and be vulnerable with them. However, you are just as likely to be accepted by others if you open up to them and are vulnerable. It is not an all or nothing game. It is a part of the human experience.

Long Terms Effects of Negative Self-Talk

If we allow ourselves to negatively talk to ourselves over the long term this affects our relationships with others. We will begin to avoid certain (or all) people and situations that cause us to think poorly of ourselves. If we hear any type of criticism, we will take that criticism to an extreme and take it as a personal afront.

By avoiding these situations or people, we begin to isolate ourselves from the world around us. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression.

We will continue to be in a never-ending cycle that perpetuates us going into a darker and darker place. No matter how hard we try to control the situation or the people that are around us, the overthinking in these situations, the rigidity that we have to apply to all people and situations in order for us to feel “safe” will exhaust us.

You will want a change but because you limited and restricted yourself to this kind of thinking that this is who you are. You don’t allow yourself the space to let yourself change or make mistakes in your learning process.

What You Can Do!

If you find yourself in this situation that you don’t know how to change. Here are a few things that you can try.

Meditation or Mindfulness Practice: When we are constantly predicting a future because of bad experiences in our past, we are not in any way enjoying the present.

Meditation or some type of mindfulness practice is an exercise in how we can experience the present. It is not easy to start and there is no one true way to be perfect at meditation.

It does help calm your mind and calms the part of yourself that sees a disaster about to happen wherever you go.

Mindfulness does not always mean meditation. It is about the experience of being in the present moment. For example, if you are washing dishes don’t look out the window and space out. Concentrate on what you are doing. Keep your mind focused on how the water feels on your hands and the pressure you have to put into the sponge to get rid of the food from the plate. Keep going deeper into the actual experience of washing a dish. Then reflect on how you felt about it.

There are so many apps out there now that can assist you in starting a mindfulness practice. My personal favorite is InsightTimer. But there are many other apps, websites, and books that can help you start a mindfulness practice.

Recognition of what you are grateful for: I have talked about gratefulness before in other articles but a daily gratefulness practice really helps to change the way your mind thinks. It’s so easy to go back into old ways of thinking simply because of habit. With this type of journaling or practice, we force ourselves to think in a more positive way. It opens our minds to new possibilities and breaks us from the rigidity of the cycle that we have been in.

Write down three aspects of your life that you are grateful for and do this for a year. Then reflect on how you or your thinking has changed in that time frame.

Abundance Journaling: Imagine how you would rather have your life be. We so often say we don’t like where we are at and want to make a change but neglect to say how we would rather like our lives to be.

Write as if you are already in that place. What would your life look like? How would you feel in this space? What would relationships with others be like? Be specific. This exercise not only helps to bring positivity to your mind but also helps with clarity. If you are clear on what you want, it becomes much easier on knowing how you will get there.

Setting an Intention: The more intentional on how we want our lives to be, the more likely it will go that way. We can’t control how others behave or react to a situation but we can control ourselves.

We oftentimes are caught up in how these bad things in life are happening TO US instead of thinking how WE ARE happening to life. Setting an intention for how you would like to have your day go is a practice that can help you happen to life. Saying that I am going to have a good day in the morning while looking at yourself in the bathroom mirror means that you are manifesting what will happen that day.

Just like negative self-talk can perpetuate a downward spiral that you proclaimed would happen, setting positive intentions does the same thing just in an upward spiral.

When It’s All Just too Much

You have tried these steps before and they are just not working for you. Then, maybe, adding another person to the conversation about how you talk to yourself would be more beneficial. No one can truly do it all alone. Counseling helps and talking to someone about these thoughts, conversations, feelings in a private confidential setting makes it easier to be vulnerable with someone else.

Going to counseling does NOT make you weak. In fact, it means that you are stronger than many around you.

And By the Way!

My name is Tara. I am a therapist who provides online counseling services in the state of Illinois. This blog post is not therapy and it should not be used as a substitute for therapy. If you would like to talk more, you can schedule a free 15-minute consultation, click here!

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