Talking and Listening – To Yourself
Hi there special people,
Oh good. You are….
As today’s discussion is about two of the ‘voices’ we all carry about inside our minds (self belief and self doubt) I felt the following quote from my favourite author would be an apt way to begin.
“Your belief about yourself is the most telling factor in determining your level of happiness and success.” Dr Wayne Dyer
Thoughts, apparently, are very powerful and can be influencing your behaviour and actions in a way you may not be aware. At least not consciously. Let’s have a look at how.
The Internal Chatter
We are all accustomed to the conversations we have with our friends, colleages, kids, associates, spouses, neighbours, teachers, clients, shop assistants and more. Conversations take place all day everyday and we haven’t even mentioned yet the bombardment of messages we get from television and radio (or the internet). It’s a busy world..
What of our internal conversations however ? How are those affecting our feelings of self esteem, self belief or confidence? Are we unintentionally giving away our personal power to some pretty annoying and persistingly negative voices ?
Specifically I am referring here to the voice of self doubt and for the sake of this conversation, I have decided to call that voice ‘Madge’. The following post is my humble observations of Madge and how I choose to respond to her.
Anyhow, enough preamble and as they say…….on with the show.
Mental Telecommunications and Madge
There are often a few voices on my ‘Inner Speak’ line at any one time. The one I like the best is the calm, relaxed and peaceful inner me. Unfortunately though this me seems to be somewhat of a poor communicator. I don’t actually hear from her as often as I would like. She apparently doesn’t use email, has no mobile phone and has never heard of message bank. She could at least get a MySpace page!
On reflection, I guess she has contacted me once or twice. Perhaps, though I’ve been too busy chatting to ‘other me’ to notice. That other me – good grief – no doubt about this one. She can txt, twitter and must have one of those new iphones or something, ‘cos she’s constantly in touch. She’s the one who pipes up every morning when I look in the mirror – “Don’t like that new hair”, “Better get on the scales – it’s looking dodgy”, “That mole is cancerous – I just know it is”. In short, she is the worrier, the critic, the blamer, the self doubter. The one that trys to tell me that I’ll never get things done and hands me a ready list of reasons (excuses) why I won’t. She can be pretty convincing and often quite persistent.
When I was on my own weight loss journey, she frequently told me ‘I’ll never lose weight’ or ‘ I don’t have time to exercise’ and every slip-up I made, she was always there to criticise or warn me of impending failure.
It was exhausting sometimes listening to Madge. She would make my blood pressure rise, my brow furrow and was often the reason I started to crave chocolate, a piece of cake, an alcoholic drink – just something, anything to make me ‘feel better’.
Thankfully, though, the other ‘me’ began to speak more loudly or perhaps, I just started to listen more. This other me was much more the encourager, the confident one, the one who always found the good. I remember her being there when as a child, when I first learnt to ride my bike, but kept falling off. She was probably there too, when I first learnt to walk, to read and write and to learn many other new things. She was around a lot when I was a child. Always telling me to ‘have another go’ or ‘just keep going’. In fact I think we may have been best friends back then. We seemed to do everything together and….it was fun.
Quietening Madge and Finding Happiness
The bottom line is that these days Madge just simply isn’t THE RULER she used to be. The other ‘me’ isn’t going to allow that, anymore. The other me also knows that Madge can be quietened down, via a few simple mental practices.
So if those negative voices start chatting away on your Inner Speak, why not try a few of the following to turn your thoughts around.
Practice these simple exercises and you will feel great about yourself and your life, in no time.
- Okay, so number one is – make a list of 5 things you like/admire about yourself. It could simply be how you have raised your children. How you have handled/survived/overcome hurtful relationships or even grief. The fact that you have a good relationship with your spouse, your sister, your best friend, your Dad.
- List at least 20 accomplishments in your life so far. Go on! Start from childhood if you want. Your accomplishments can be anything from learning how to do tie your shoes to graduating from college or university or getting a diploma.
- Set a timer for 10 minutes. Now, write down as many of your positive attributes you can think of. Any of your talents, your achievements – everything positive and good about yourself. Keep writing. Don’t worry about neatness, organisation, spelling or anything else (I sometimes don’t!!) Just write. Remember only positve things.
- When the timer goes off, read your paper over. It may look new and different to you. Good!! As long as it is positive. Now keep this piece of paper handy, so you can read it over several times a day. Madge won’t like it at all. Another good!!
Madge and her buddies really do get too much air time, don’t you think? The fact is that any negative self talk (whatever you chose to call it) can be a highly destructive. It can prevent you from believing in your true potential and can even shape behaviours and actions.
Your thoughts can powerfully program you, so why not try some positive, productive and uplifing ones as replacements for those negative, unhelpful ones.
It could make the world of difference.