What possibilities could open up for you if you were your greatest advocate?
Do you ever find yourself feeling or thinking that you are not good enough or that you don’t ‘measure up’? Has this theme been constantly showing up in your internal conversations? Well you are not alone. I see women who tell me that they are experiencing this phenomenon on a daily basis.
How should we make sense of the fact that so many women feel this way? What I know is that we were not born with these types of self-defeating thoughts and that somewhere along the way we leaned to devalue our strengths and to down play our successes. Innately people want to be happy, but sometimes we get taken off of our preferred path. Well, there is a way to get back onto that path.
Sound daunting? Let me explain further.
First and foremost, look back in your memory bank for a recent example of your negative self-talk. Did you pick up on anything that your body was feeling when you were engrossed (consciously or subconsciously) in this particular kind of dialogue? Our bodies may be reacting to this negativity by increasing our heart rate, creating a shortness of breath or producing feelings of anxiety or fear. The reason that I’m checking in on this point is to help you become more aware of what your body is telling you, so that you can break this pattern if it happens again.
I would have you ask yourself what your body is telling you when you have negative internal conversations. I often ask my clients to think about what the location of their stress would say if it could speak to them.
As mentioned, problems like to visit people when they are wrapped up in regrets about the past and/or worries about the future and practicing mindfulness exercises will help to keep you in the present (where problems hold less power). Also when we are more mindful we are more present and in touch with our surroundings, we can connect with our body again and break free from our unhelpful thoughts and feelings. This then enables us to find the headspace that will remind us to use tools and techniques to become more grounded, less stressed and improve our overall quality of life.
Here are some other healthier choices that you can make:
Question yourself: It can be challenging to give ourselves direction and advice when we are immersed in it. Below, are some questions that I encourage clients to ask themselves after they experience negative internal conversations:
1. What advice would you give to a friend who was thinking the same thoughts that you are? Would you follow the same advice that you gave to them? If not, then ask yourself why not? Could there be a double standard happening?
2. Whatever the comments you hear in your mind, ask yourself if they are yours or another persons. Sometimes our internalized beliefs have been there for so long that we have not even thought to check in to see if we believe what they are actually telling us anymore!
3. Another aspect to reflect on is what gender or age the voice you hear is. Perhaps you’re stuck in a belief that you held when you were 8 years old or one that someone tried to convince you of. You are within your rights to let go of these beliefs if they are not serving you well. What have you got to loose if you tried something different?
4. Now that we have looked at who has created these negative thoughts ask yourself if these comments are growing you up or down? What is the preferred way that you want to speak to yourself, and how would it feel to hear yourself speak this way?
5. Try talking back to this voice to become your biggest advocate! What would happen for you if you were your greatest supporter? Every time I ask myself this question (and yes even Counsellor’s have moments when personal negative beliefs surface) I feel a warmth rising up from inside and it feels really, really good.
When you think of answering this question, do you also feel pure internal love and support coming straight from within yourself? I invite you to conduct your own experiment after reading this by wrapping yourself up in that feeling more often by engaging in more supportive self-talk. You deserve it.