Letting Go of Negative Self-Talk to Get Closer to What You Want
Many of us can relate to this idea of being our own worst enemy. We bully ourselves, minimize our value, and relentlessly compare ourselves to others. The path to self-defeat is well-worn. So on today’s episode, I walk you through the different types of negative self-talk, and share how you can build healthier, more energizing conceptions of yourself. This will help your dreams flourish.
- Exploring the 3 types of negative self-talk
- Recognizing how negative self-talk holds you back
- Replacing self-judgment with curiosity
If you’re experiencing negative self-talk, let’s chat. Together, we can go deeper on this journey of self-discovery and self-love.
And be sure to also listen to Ep 21 Keeping a journal. It’s a great companion to this one.
As always, you’re invited to my website, GirafeCoaching.com, where you can sign up for a monthly newsletter. In addition to finding out about free events within the Girafe Community, you can also download a free workbook to help you through tough times.
Hello fellow global nomads, can you believe this, it’s already episode 46. We’re coming close to the one-year anniversary of the podcast. It’s been such a fun ride. So today I want to talk about something that most humans face, negative self-talk. And in the context of our globally nomadic lifestyle, I want to share with you three ways negative self-talk often creeps into our lives. And contrary to what we think it will not help you get what you want. Then I’ll share with you a tool that I like to use for me, the kids and with clients.
What’s the first type of negative self-talk? The Bully!
Suppose that you want to drop a few pounds or kilos and you’ve tried since early January. As I record this episode, we’re in March and you are still more or less the same weight. Do you have a tendency to tell yourself that you have no will power which makes you feel guilty? Maybe you might tell yourself you should not have eaten all the chips last night, or the cheese and crackers and you feel regretful, or that there’s no point, you’ll never manage any way. If you are there. This is probably because when you started wanting that change in your lifestyle you used will power + negative self talk to get you to what you want.
This might have sounded like this:
This year, this is it. No more fries, no more snacks, no more sugar, 3 times exercise per week, no more alcohol until Friday. And every time your mind tells you: I wish I could have a piece of cake, or a burger, I don’t want to exercise right now. Your response is : well you see, you can’t commit to your plan. You can’t do this. The others manage but you won’t. You’re not good enough.
This negative self-talk is naturally wired in your human brain, but it also comes from your upbringing, social conditioning, what you read and what you pay attention to. It’s very common and we might not even pay attention to it anymore.
Bullying yourself into change is an illusion and a dead end fellow global nomads. Intuitively, you are probably agreeing with this point but in reality, you really believe that if you are not hard on yourself, nothing you want will get done. I’d like you to reconsider.
Now what’s the second type of negative self-talk? The minimizer
As global nomads, we’re amazing at embracing incredible challenges. I don’t have a diploma in engineering, but I managed to solve a whole water issue. In Zimbabwe we had a well and no city water. After we tested the water and found e coli and other fun bacteria, we installed a whole system of water filters. After a few days, the filters were clogged. In fact there had been a lack of rain that year which was why. We had to find a way to have clean water in the house. I gathered all sorts of specialists in the garden so they could map out a plan which did not involve digging further down. You would think that I would have been happy when we sorted this out. But, no. My mind was already telling me I needed to do x, y, z on my to-do list of the day.
As an expat partner, the to do list can be very long and not super exciting. I remember not jumping out of bed knowing that I needed to find a way to fill up the jerricans, call a person to fix the generator and chase after the people who installed the solar panels but that forgot to do X, take care of the ant invasion and find a way to keep our veggie garden away from the rats without poisoning them. Yes of course it’s great to have all this time and flexibility but I also envied the satisfaction of feeling I was using my time in a way that I felt was more “fulfilling” and so whatever I did, did not seem significant or important enough. And this is another form of negative self-talk.
Diminishing one’s actions and relevance. I see this so often with people I work with. As if, all the things they do don’t matter. This can lead to feeling invisible, resentment or even depression. As if we are, at the end of the day, the sum of the things we do. Tying our own worth to what we do is something that will never be true and will also create a lot of suffering. In the next few episodes, I’ll talk more about this. The mental load we add to our lives.
The third form of negative self-talk I’ll talk about in this episode is comparison. The comparator.
This one is the one my mind loves to binge on. It’s like my mind cannot stop comparing everything. Now that I am an entrepreneur, I obviously compare my revenue, to the one I imagine others have. It’s crazy. As an expat partner, I did that all the time too. How did this mother manage to run two businesses, pick up her kids at school, be at all the activities and always have the perfect outfit? Seriously annoying! Why? Not because of what she did, this great mama, but because then I look at how I spend my days, all the things I wanted to do and have not done, and how I look and I go through the laundry list of things I’m not even going to attempt. The comparator is a state of mind that can lead one to feel shame, humiliation, and inadequacy. It’s also completely unnecessary.
So now, we all do this. No worries, as I’ve said many times on this podcast, this just means you have a human brain. Now I want you to see how you can redirect your negative self-talk and do something much more useful.
But the first step – as always is to get aware of it. So this is where the Girafe tool comes in. Which is what’s behind Girafe coaching. Imagine that you are able to stretch and observe yourself with curiosity. When you manage to do this, you’re on your way to truly transforming your life. You stop being at the mercy of this noise and roars inside and this is how you make room for growth.
Self-judgements will never help you get what you want.
What will is to replace your self-judgment by curiosity. This is all it takes.
“Let’s recap the three kinds of negative self-talk: first, there’s the bully which constantly reminds you that what you do is not enough – you don’t have enough will power to lose the weight. Second, there’s the “minimizer” – OK, you figured out this small problem, but you have 10 more, stop patting yourself on the back and get busy! And third, there’s “the comparator” – yes, I have my own business, but hers is much more successful, AND her children are better behaved, AND her house is immaculate.
Take a few minutes to stop and notice how you talk to yourself today and this week. You’ll discover whether your negative self-talk is more like the bully, the minimizer or the comparator. That’s great information for you.
Note down a few thoughts. Look at them with sincere curiosity. For instance, you can ask yourself: how Is this thought serving me today?
Believe me I had plenty of negative self-talk when I started this podcast. There are other podcasts with people who have been coaches for much longer (“not enough”) and Why do you think anyone would want to hear what you have to say? (“minimizer”) and finally, “That podcast is so polished and smart; I’ll never be that good (“comparator”). If I had listened, I wouldn’t be recording episode 46, and I wouldn’t have reached so many of you, my fellow global nomads!
Negative self-talk will rob you of your time, energy and dreams. So take a first step towards self love and use CURIOSITY instead of self judgements. This can be done by asking yourself simple questions: I wonder how this thought is serving me, or I wonder how this is not true. Just be curious.
If you want to know more about how to integrate journaling into your daily practice, tune in to episode 21: Keeping a journal. And don’t forget to sign up to the newsletter so you get invited to free webinars and workshops.
Have a great week!