Someone said some pretty mean things to me. This jerk would not shut up, here’s just some of what was said:
You are going to fail. You are too lazy and not good enough to succeed.
Everyone is going to think you are dumb. Your idea sucks.
You aren’t pretty enough, or tall enough.
It’s going to be impossible, you should just quit before you embarrass yourself.
They say to ignore the haters and not worry about what others think, but that’s easier said than done, isn’t it? Especially when the person who said all of those hurtful things was
Yup, I’m talking about negative self-talk. The things we say to ourselves that we would never dream of saying out loud or to another human being- even if we didn’t like them too much.
A lot of people battle with an inner monologue that is an overly critical, pessimistic, hurtful bitch (to put it bluntly). Don’t get me wrong, a little tough love can motivate you to be better, but being mean to yourself will keep you stuck…and fat. There is a big difference between “I should work out more” and “My thighs are so chunky, I hate them”.
Excessive self trash-talk often backfires because we become overly focused on all our tiny ‘failures’ instead of on small solutions that help us to improve.
Short term effect: You’re stuck
Long term effect: Higher stress levels and depression
It’s time to silence the inner critic for good. You deserve to be happy, you deserve to reach your goals and you deserve to not be the only person standing in your way. Because that would suck.
But if that’s not enough of a reason to change, consider this: “Be careful what you tell yourself, the universe is listening.”
Thoughts are powerful. There is a staggering amount of research on the impact of positive and negative thoughts and our ability to transform ourselves by changing the habits of our mind. Let’s keep it simple though and just look at a few numbers:
The average person has between 12,000-60,000 thoughts per day. According to most research, 98% of those thoughts are exactly the same as the day before (talk about creatures of habit). But here’s the big one, 80% of our thoughts are NEGATIVE.
Yikes. Ready for a change yet? I mean, would you hang out with a friend who was a negative nancy 80% of the time? Or stay with a boyfriend/girlfriend who said mean things to you 19 out of 24 hours in a day? I assume you said ‘no’. So, here’s 6 simple steps to be nicer to yourself so you can get unstuck:
Step 1: Throw trash talk in the trash.
Literally. Over the next few days, every time you have a negative thought about yourself, write it down on a piece of paper. What do you tell yourself when you look in the mirror? Have a fight with your significant other? Or mess up at work? Write it down. Then, crumple it up and throw it away. Or burn it, your choice. Physically throwing it in the trash helps relieve you of those thoughts mentally and solidifies in your mind just what that shit is…trash.
Step 2: Think possible, not positive.
Trying to turn it all around is a lot of pressure. Realistically speaking, thinking positive, cheery thoughts instead of negative, self-destructive ones overnight can actually make you feel worse. You just won’t believe anything you tell yourself. Phschologist and author, Tamar Chancey, recommended a technique that I love called ‘possible thinking’.The goal is to reach for neutral thought and name the facts. See it in action: “I’m a fat pig” becomes “I’d like to lose 10 lbs, and I know what I need to do.” Focus on the facts and there are more directions you can go in.
Step 3: Call it names.
Give your inner critic a name, the sillier the better. I call mine, Ms. Naggypants. Anytime those thoughts creep in, I say (sometimes aloud), “Here comes Ms. Naggypants again!” It lightens up the mood enough to break the emotional hold your habitual thought have on you. Next time your meaner alter ego shows up, thank it for sharing and shut it up. The fact that your thoughts are largely the same day after day should clue you in that they’re habits- not truths. A lot of people believe the negative things you tell yourself because it is in your own voice and coming from you. That’s not true, and picturing your negative self talk as coming from this other voice separate from yours helps lessen it’s authority.
Step 4: Be your own BFF.
An easy way to minimize mean self-talk is to think what you would say to your best friend in that situation. If your friend called you going on and on about how they ruined their life because they made a fool of themselves and so-and-so will never like them now, what would you say? Probably something like, “It probably wasn’t that bad, I’m sure no one even remembers!” Or if your BFF was feeling crappy about pigging out and swore she ruined all her hard work in one day, you’d say, “It’s just one day, don’t stress…just get back at it tomorrow.”
Man you’re a good friend. Why are you such a crappy one to yourself? We look in the mirror and see fault after fault that we can’t stand or wish would go away. Check yourself next time you exaggerate a flaw or screwup and be your own BFF instead.
Step 5: Practice an attitude of gratitude.
The key word here is PRACTICE. None of this happens overnight, especially when we are talking about breaking habits. Most research and popular opinion says that breaking a habit can take anywhere from 21 to 28 days. It’s tough, I know, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Stop wishing things were different, stop reading, scrolling, comparing, and wanting. Start doing!
Here’s a simple task you can practice for 21 days (or longer) to help set you free from negative self talk: Write down 3 things every day you are grateful for. They can be small, big, something that happened that day, or something about you that’s always been. Everyone has time for three sentences of things you are grateful for. Oh, and some of those things should totally be your imperfections. Perfect is boring, so stop beating yourself up for your imperfect parts and start loving what makes you YOU.
Step 6: Fake it till you make it.
I could write a whole blog on this strategy, that’s how much I love and use it in my own life. I’m not talking about putting on a fake smile or lying to yourself or others about how you think and feel. I’m talking about carrying yourself as if you have already made it, not from an ego place, but you attract what you are. It might not be second nature (yet) but you probably know what a self-confident badass acts like or tells herself, so do that. The funny thing about acting self-confident is you start to feel it too.
Here’s a fun thing to do to get you started: After you get ready and take one last look in the mirror before heading out for the day, say to yourself: “Try not to be too awesome today.” If it feels silly or scary at first its okay, growth happens outside your comfort zone. Eventually you will be so used to being loving and fun with yourself that it will feel normal- and telling yourself mean things will feel silly.
Life really is too short to be hard on yourself. It would make me really sad if you read this and knew you needed to change, but didn’t do anything about it. Please don’t do that.
You owe it to yourself to allow happiness and love and health into your life and it all starts with you. You will finally reach your weight loss goals by ditching negative self talk. Watch the last 10 lbs come off effortlessly when you stop obsessing and criticizing and START LIVING.
Stop being a jerk. Let’s do it together! Commit to doing at least one thing different and tell me what it is in the comments so I can hold ya to it.