Wasting Time and Energy on Negative Self-Talk
“The energy you expend thinking about how ugly you are, or how fat you feel, or how insignificant you are, is extremely valuable. Imagine if you spent the same amount of energy and time talking to your body and your spirit, just to acknowledge how extraordinary, incredible and uniquely beautiful you are.”
It is common for many of us to spend a lot of time and energy thinking about our weight, and what we look like. We tell ourselves we are fat, ugly and disgusting. We waste minutes, hours and days, wondering whether we are good enough, smart enough, or talented enough. We question whether we are worthy of achieving our dreams, and we shy away from compliments and gifts that are presented to us, even though we are thoroughly deserving of them.
On a daily basis, I connect with many people face to face, on the phone, via social media, in a class I am attending, waiting in line at a register in a store, and so on. Some conversations are lengthy, complex and deep, while others are brief encounters, where only a few words may have been uttered, but a strong message is revealed.
“I’m feeling fat today. I need to go on a diet.”
“I have put on so much weight, I feel like a blimp.”
“Wow, you look amazing! Look at me, I look like a total mess.”
“I am no good at coming up with new ideas. I’m not creative enough to do this class.”
“I went out to dinner the other night and I hated the way I looked. All of my friends are so much prettier than me. I felt out of place among them.”
“There’s a promotion coming up at work, but I’m not going to go for it, because I know they won’t give it to me. I’m not good enough for that job.”
Sound familiar? I can think of many more statements like these, and I’m sure you can too.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we think it is okay to fill our very own body, our mind and our soul to the brim, with negative statements about who we are and what we look like? How come this destructive self-talk has become a normal conversation we have with ourselves, as well as others?
For some of us, it’s a result of our upbringing. We weren’t brought up to pat ourselves on the back, and acknowledge our own strengths, talents and positive attributes. We were taught that praise and compliments, would be given to us, by others, if we worked hard and were deserving of them.
Negative self-talk can also be a way of gaining reassurance from friends, family, colleagues and even strangers that we’ve just met. It’s not necessarily for attention, but due to not believing in ourselves, and we need someone else to set us straight. We can almost be certain that whoever we are conversing with, will in turn, disagree with the negative comments we have uttered, and they will reply with statements such as, “You are not fat.” “You are talented, l love listening to you play the piano.” “You should go for that promotion, you are just as good and deserving as everyone else.”
There is certainly nothing wrong with receiving words of praise, a thank you, compliments and a pat on the back from family, friends, your employer and co-workers or strangers – they are needed. These words let you know how well you are doing and can confirm to you that you are on the right track.
But, imagine if you too could be just as kind, gentle and friendly to your own self, as others are to you, and as you are to others.
When you give a compliment to someone you know, or even a stranger, it’s not about giving them an ego boost, you choose to give the compliment as a way to express what you like or love about them. You are letting that person know that you like their sense of style, or to let them know that their beautiful smile was what you desperately needed right at that moment, or that their talent moved you in a positive way, or that their kindness made your day, or that their words were a welcome message.
So, in thinking about your reasons for complimenting others, as well as showering them with kind and positive words, can you see that this is something you can do for yourself?
There is nothing wrong with telling yourself that you are excellent at your job. Just because you do, doesn’t make you egotistical. It is absolutely fine to tell yourself that you are creative and that you do come up with fabulous and unique ideas. Acknowledging this to yourself, doesn’t mean you think you are better than everyone else. And, you have every right to look at your reflection in the mirror and accept that you are a beautiful human being on the inside and out. And, when you do, it doesn’t mean you are vain or full of yourself.
I realise that changing how you talk to yourself, as well as how you talk about yourself to others, isn’t going to be easy. It’s not necessarily something that can be achieved overnight either. But, how about taking the first step, by making a commitment to yourself, to at least cease the negative self-talk. Promise yourself that you are going to be more productive with your time and more thoughtful with your words.
Your time is valuable, use it to boost yourself up, instead of crushing your sense of self-worth.
Your body is reactive, be gentle and kind to this precious vessel. Give your body praise for how it functions and the amazing way it works on the inside, rather than criticizing it for not looking how you expect it to on the outside.
Your mind is vulnerable. If you find you can’t replace the negative thoughts with positive ones straight away, then at the very least, stop being cruel and disrespectful to yourself and practice being neutral.
Your soul is forgiving. It is confident in knowing just how incredible, extraordinary and uniquely beautiful you are. And if you dispel the negative words, eliminate the destructive criticism and quieten your mind, you too have the ability to see what is right about you, instead of focusing on what you think is wrong with you.
We would certainly weigh less in this world, if we take the time to believe in ourselves and use our words to describe ourselves in a brighter light.