I Hate You...
You idiot! What’s wrong with you? Can’t you do anything right? How many of you have used those, or similar words, to berate yourself for a mistake you've made? Maybe you misjudged a situation, or risked vulnerability, and things didn’t work out as you hoped and now, you can’t believe how stupid you were.
One of the homework exercises we do in coaching sessions is when I ask a client to sit quietly and think about something that went wrong, and then write down what they say to themselves. Oh my word, some of the things I’ve heard are enough to make my hair curl!
It’s a valuable exercise to do. This way of thinking is so automatic that we often have no idea what we actually say to ourselves. Writing it down is one thing, but I assure you, reading those words out loud to someone else, is even more eye-opening.
To cut a long story short, basically guys, this negative self talk has got to stop! Not only is it not helping you, it’s harmful.
We’re going to digress for a moment to talk about Navy Seals. We don’t have them in South Africa, but oh my, yes please! What is it about a Navy Seal that fulfils every romantic ideal I’ve ever had of the perfect man. Right, back to business... According to Eric Barker in his book, Barking up the Wrong Tree, an essential skill potential Seals have to develop in BUD (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training) is positive self-talk.
Now, all I’m saying, is that if it’s good enough for Navy Seals, it sure is good enough for me! You can read more of the very interesting article here.
One thing we need to be aware of is that negative self-talk is often a symptom of a deeper underlying issue of self hatred. We call it by many names, self-doubt, shame, guilt but until we tackle the very painful issue of self-hatred, it will be hard to free ourselves from this destructive pattern of negative self talk.
Whether negative self talk happens automatically inside you or is triggered by criticism (launched at you from the place of self hatred inside someone else), the antidote remains the same. Cultivate an attitude of warmth and friendliness towards yourself. All of you, the wounded and the wonderful.
Self-awareness, self-acceptance and training to support and encourage ourselves when we face difficulties is the direction to head in. Take heart knowing that it is possible and yes, even you can learn to speak more kindly and gently to your precious self.
Click here to receive updates via RSS:
I'm a Personal Development Life Coach who specialises in L.I.F.E (Living Into your Fullest Expression). Based in Richards Bay, on the East Coast of South Africa, I live with my long-suffering husband, (his description!), two much-loved dogs and care for my elderly father who has Alzheimer's.
Read more about me here.