I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume we’ve all experienced negative self talk at some point in our lives.
Up until recently, negative self talk was a huge problem for me. I can’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure my anxiety also played into the negativity and rehashing of situations until eventually I was beating myself up for some pretty normal things. (If you’ve suffered from anxiety, you’ll probably be able to somewhat relate to what I’m talking about).
We hear this lots, “We’re our own worst critic” and I do believe this to be true.
Why is it we’ll say things to ourselves that we’d never dream of saying to someone else?! It just doesn’t make sense!
During the last bit of training for my marathon, I gained a small amount of weight (which is actually quite common) and it’s decided to hang around for a while. In the past I would have beat myself up for this, criticized everything I ate and decided I needed to workout more and eat less, and even shame myself when I wasn’t “perfect”.
Now, while I’m not entirely thrilled to see a new number on the scale, I also realize this isn’t the end of the world, and I certainly don’t need to be shaming myself for it.
When I do catch myself having a negative moment (and these do happen from time to time) I first make sure I’m not shaming myself. I spent a some time reading Brene Brown’s books last year (The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly), and they’ve helped me to reframe my thoughts. The different between a guilty thought and a shaming thought is guilty focuses on the thing (“I shouldn’t have done that”) and shaming focuses on the person (“Because I did ____ I’m a bad person”).
So, maybe I shouldn’t have eaten an entire pizza by myself, but I can certainly tell you it doesn’t make me a bad person.
See the difference?
In addition to limiting my negative self talk, I’ve also been consciously trying to limit my negative gossip.
After being gossiped about last year, it really helped me to see things in a different light. Being gossiped about sucks. A lot. I’ve also noticed anytime I do gossip, it’s usually to try to feel better about me by putting someone else down.
Now, isn’t that just petty?
You bet it is!
This hasn’t been easy. There have been some friendships that are no longer, and while it’s always sad to lose a friend, I can say that by not having gossip in my life, I’m a happier and better person.
Limiting gossip and negative self talk doesn’t happen overnight, there are still times where I catch myself in a negative thought, or gossiping, but I’m better able to recognize these situations and move on from them to more positive things.