How many times have you thought something to yourself along the lines of:
"Why did I do that? That was so stupid."
"I'm just not smart enough to figure it out"
Let's face it; we've all done it from time to time. Its human nature and we're programmed into that way of thinking. But negative self-talk can lead to a lack of joy in your life.
The average person criticizes themselves at least eight times a day, starting as early as 8:30 AM. And image based criticisms are by far the most prevalent (i.e. "Another bad hair day," "I wish I looked like her/him," "These jeans make my butt look fat").
Now, let me ask you this . . . would you ever say these things to someone you love? Your child, your spouse, a friend or family member. My guess is no. But saying them to yourself is actually worse.
In addition to not wanting to speak these unloving words to others, here's something else to consider; thoughts create vibrational energy. Yes, this is true! Your thoughts are energy.
Have you ever been around a friend and "sensed" that something was off? Or thought to yourself, "I really need to talk to somebody, I really need a friend right now" and the phone rings?
It's the same with your negative self-talk. When you think these negative thoughts about yourself, you give off an energy that lets people know you don't like yourself. You may not say it out loud, but people can sense it. And if you have children in your life, giving off this vibration is teaching them that it's normal to not like themselves either. This vibrational energy also lets others know how we want to be treated.
You have to be able to love yourself completely in order to truly love someone else. The more you love yourself, the more love you have to give to others. Loving yourself more is truly the most selfless, loving thing you can do for those around you. Plus, it will allow you to live a happier and more fulfilling life.
So how do you stop the negative self-talk?
1. Recognize that you're doing it. When you hear yourself saying something negative, just stop for a moment and ask yourself "is that really true". Start to notice when and why you are putting yourself down. This will help you be more aware of your negative self-talk in certain situations.
2. Give yourself a little self-love, face-to-face. Try standing in front of a mirror for just a few minutes every morning and every evening and repeat some positive affirmations to yourself while looking yourself in the eye. Things like "I am a beautiful person" and "I am smart, I am able to figure things out" are a good place to start.
3. Practice self-care. Enjoy some personal retreat time, some time with friends, spend time outside in nature, get some exercise, drink plenty of water. Treat yourself as if you are the most important person you know, because you are.
4. When you're feeling down try my 1,2,3 exercise. Take a moment to think of one thing you need to forgive and let go of. Something small or something big, it doesn't matter as long as you let it go. Then, think of two things you like and appreciate about yourself. You can think of at least 2! And lastly, think of three things that you are grateful for in that moment. This quick exercise will help you turn your negative self-loathing into positive self-loving very quickly.
5. Practice gratitude for yourself and your body by pointing out what's right instead of what's wrong. Energy flows where attention goes so shift your perception towards your positive attributes and you will start to notice more of them.
6. Release the chaos of your day by connecting with your inner self through some quiet downtime. Meditation, yoga, journaling or some time with a good book are all great ways to connect with your soul.
7. Let go of perfection. Stop comparing yourself to other people. You are beautiful just the way you are. You are only human and, just like everyone else, you will make mistakes. But don't let them define you. Learn from them and move on.
8. Start to figure out what triggers these negative emotions. It can be something related to a past experience or certain people that make you feel bad about yourself. Whatever it is, the next time you feel your negative talk coming on take a step back and think to yourself "I'm not going there." And instead focus on what's making you feel that way so that you can deal with it.
9. Stay in control of your life. Often times we feel negative emotions when we let others control our time and energy. Start putting yourself back in the driver's seat and you'll feel those negative feelings dissipating. When someone asks if you want to do something that you're not sure about, respond with "Let me think about it and get back to you." Instead of your usual immediate "yes," this will give you a moment or two to decide if this is something you really want to do.
10. Do something nice for someone else. It's almost impossible to feel bad about yourself when you're doing something nice for someone else. Need a quick attitude adjustment? Buy a friend a cup of coffee, pay the toll for the person behind you or give a stranger a compliment.
Above all, remember that we are all human, we all make mistakes and none of us are perfect. We accept imperfections in our friends and loved ones; we need to start accepting them in ourselves with a little empathy and kind encouragement
You are one-of-a-kind and you were made to be the you that you are. There is no one else exactly like you. That makes you special, beautiful and truly unique.