Stop beating yourself up!

Category: Article or Blog Published: Monday, 08 February 2016 Written by Sarah PJ White

We can be our own worst critic. When we do something wrong, silly or just plain thoughtless, we find it so easy to chastise ourselves so harshly, using words and tones we wouldn’t even dare to speak to others – so why do we find it so ‘normal’ to do this to ourselves?

The way we talk to ourselves can have a lasting and damaging effect on everything, from our confidence and motivation, right through to our mood and general health. Our inner self-talk can talk us out of, or into, anything!

Why? Well the root cause of our self-talk is to actually keep us safe. It wants to prevent us from getting hurt, being hurt and generally suffering. But it’s operating from a sense of fear and is constantly anxious for us – and thrives on drama.

Everything is so easily expanded on, blown out of proportion and exaggerated, when self-talk gets involved – both for the better and, in this case, the worse. We then listen to it, as we feel there’s an element of truth there and, if left unchecked that too, will get exaggerated. That little criticism of ourselves becomes bigger, that feeling of disappointment becomes a massive feeling of failure and it all becomes second nature to us.

So how can you stop beating yourself up, with this negative self-talk?

Catch it early

Negative self-talk can quickly go on a downward spiral; the more you focus on it, the worse it gets. So stop it in its tracks, as soon as you notice it happening.

Give your inner critic a name

Preferably a silly one and, even better, give it a squeaky, high-pitched voice. It’s so much harder to take it seriously this way!

Acknowledge and thank it

Thank it by name, for bringing this fear/worry/thought to your attention – after all, that’s what it’s trying to do; get your attention.

Put it into perspective

This is important, as it may have already been exaggerated. Get to the root facts behind the negativity.

Question it

Once you notice what that inner self-talk is saying and have put it into perspective, now question the truth in it. Is there any truth there? What references is it using? Whose voice is it using – and how much faith do you put in the owner of that voice?

Choose another thought

Once you’ve thanked it and questioned it, make the decision to choose another, more empowering thought and option.

Make a decision

Now you can make a decision to replace the negative thought with the new thought, moving forward. If it helps, write down this small victory, along with how it made you feel to choose this new thought. You could even turn it into an affirmation and use this to retrain your inner critic to think of this new thought permanently.

Image courtesy of Allen Penton/Dollar Photo Club

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