So as I sit each week to plan my blog posts, I have a day of brainstorming/research. I try to sit alone, in a cozy, undisturbed place. I do my best to make myself comfortable so that I can turn my thoughts toward the ideas that keep whirling around in my head. Some weeks, I have so many ideas to put onto paper and others I have to struggle to get off of a single idea that has haunted me all week. Most weeks, as soon as I put pencil to paper, and yes I use paper and pencil for this part of my week, I have troubles writing as fast as the ideas come. But generally I finish a 30 minute brain dump and find that I have put some of the same thoughts on paper as I have done before. That tells me that I need to write about that ‘thing’ because it keeps coming back to the front of my brain. The recurring thought this week was language.
When I say language I am not talking about English, Cantonese, Spanish, French, or even Pig Latin. I am talking about the ‘way’ we talk. Most of the time the way we talk to ourselves inside our own head is not in sentences and structured. We blurt all sorts of stuff at our own selves and we don’t need to make any order, we know what we are going to say. We actually talk to ourselves more than we do any other person.
So, how do you talk to yourself?
Do you love yourself and talk yourself up all day? Do you beat yourself up all day? Do you doubt everything you do all day? Do you complain all day? What do you feed yourself with in terms of self talk. I would guess that if your thoughts to yourself were to end up being said out loud, you would be embarrassed. Worst of all, you would, in most cases, never say these things to another person, so why are you saying them to yourself.
The other kind of language is what you actually do say out loud. You probably have been saying it for so long that you are unaware that you are doing it. Do you outburst with ‘stupid’ when you make a mistake? ‘Must be nice’ to someone who has what you would like? ‘That figures’ when you realize something? ‘I’ll try’ when someone asks you to do something? ‘Whatever’ when you are told something that makes you upset? These little words seem just that, little words, but if you were to think about how many times they are said, they become our own language of destruction.
While change is hard in any circumstance, change in your thoughts is really tough. When you change your eating habits, exercise routine, jobs, home, or relationship, your body will naturally resist change. We tend to get into a comfortable place and want to stay there, at least on some level. So when we change something like our inner self talk, we will rebel against ourselves. It’s strange that as we try to better ourselves, we tend to be the ones in our own way.
Let’s see if we can try to figure out how to make some changes to our language.
1. Do you even realize that you need to change? If you think that you are all good in this area, then woohoo for you. That is truly amazing. But even the most perfect of us will need to improve, even a little.
2. Start with the obvious, what do you say out loud? Let’s make a list every time you say something negative about yourself or someone else. We can’t fix what we don’t know is broken.
3. Start to listen to your own self talk. Pay attention to what and how you talk to yourself.
4. Be brave and ask a trusted person in your life if you say negative stuff out loud. Chances are they will be reluctant, but a good friend knows when to be real with you.
5. Now that you have found some faults in your language, we can start to mend the conversation.
Being aware is huge. Solutions are everywhere.
If you don’t believe me, go to the bookstore or library and look in the ‘self talk’ section. I just looked up self talk in Chapters. There were 452 books listed. I think this may be a good place to start. Although self help books are great, this is something that with a little work, we can start on our own.
Be accountable to yourself.
We have an uncomfortable game we play at home. If you get caught saying something negative about yourself, then you have to come up with two compliments. It actually makes you stop and think because complimenting yourself to someone else makes most of us feel awkward.
Place positive affirmations in places that you look everyday.
The fridge, mirror, coffee maker, your screensaver are all great places to remind ourselves that negative words are damaging so replace them with positive ones.
Try new words.
Just in general, trying new words keeps your brain learning and busy so it doesn’t have time to dwell on the negative.
Finally, if you are trying to make changes on the outside, why not try on the inside.
Tell yourself, you deserve a chance to be healthy, successful and most of all happy. You were made to be happy. Be happy from within.
You is kind. You is smart. You is important. ― Kathryn Stockett, The Help