We are the coming together of our unique experiences, triggers (both good and bad) and stuck points. In the midst of what seems like an endless pandemic rendering isolation a necessity for the greater good, it has become more important than ever to think about our own internal dialogue. Are we self deprecating? Are we holding on to limiting beliefs about ourselves, our abilities or our value added to others?
The dissolution of our mental health as a society is the fuel to the pandemics fire. Why? Because as a society we are face to face with a monotonous, relentless spiral of days spent in the pretense of our own company.
Assuming we are in collective agreement that we are unable to change or control our external environment, the suggested focal point for changing our lives defaults to an internal shift. A process or changing of patterns and habits in our every day is about looking internally at how the way we speak to ourselves is significantly limiting.
Creating an awareness in our minds of our specific patterns of internal dialogue that devalues our abilities and often leaves us crippled, stuck in our own heads, trapped by the demons of doubt, fear, shame and cruelty.
Shifting this dialogue begins with recognizing it’s presence. What do we say to ourselves when something doesn’t happen the way we want it to? Do we compassionately speak to ourselves as a friend? Offering helpful guidelines or suggestions to adjust what didn’t work and try again?
Probably not. Because we as a society are being fed by notion of lacking. Not enough sleep, not smart enough, not strong enough… The list goes on. And taking care of ourselves, including and especially holding ourselves accountable to that internal dialogue is a daily habit and a big ask.
There are five common categories of negative self talk, mentioned here as they are easily recognizable and discernable from one another.
Filtering – absorbing the bad, refuting the good. Brushing off compliments while intaking negativity.
Personalizing – taking things personally when they aren’t personal, or blaming ourselves when things don’t go as planned.
Catastrophizing – making things out to be bigger than they are.
Polarizing – assuming things are either good or bad, not accepting that like most things, its a spectrum. Not achieving something isn’t complete failure, if its reframed to be absorbed as a lesson to improve upon with the next try.
Perfectionism- expecting an unrealistic amount of ourselves, whatever that looks like to us. If we don’t achieve in magnitude or quality based on the sheer unmanageability of our expectations of the self, we fall apart. Nit-picking every tiny detail of what we didn’t do.
It’s exhausting and that energy could best be spent elsewhere.
So, how to stop it?
No matter which category of hindering self-talk we fall under, change for us all begins with compassion for the self. Compassion coupled with a recognition that we are all human, we are all imperfect, we are all flawed but above all else we have the power to progress when we realize we are enough as we are today. From here we can begin looking at challenging that negative energy towards something productive, something that aligns us with our goals, desires or pursuits for positive change within ourselves and our lives.
In my darkest times struggling with my own triggers a particular phrase helps me remember it’s ok to be human and to fail as long as I commit to trying again. I share it with you in the hopes that it will also help you as you navigate through your own stuck points.
I value and respect myself and am worthy of being valued and respected.