Stop Talking Dirty To Yourself!
By: Beth McHugh 2006
In Do You Indulge in Stinkin’ Thinking, we looked at all the ways we tie ourselves up in knots by the way we think. Today we look at how to go about untying those knots, so that we can let go of self-limiting thoughts and behaviors and get on with our lives.
- Identify negative thoughts
Write them down so that you get them out of your head and down on paper where you can actually scrutinize them more carefully. Just seeing your thoughts written down can be the first step in recognizing them for what they mostly are: lies and exaggerations.
- Become a detective
Where is the evidence for your thoughts? Instead of assuming that they are true, look for facts and evidence to back them up. For example, if you feel that you are a failure, make a list of everything you have done well in the last 48 hours. I guarantee you will find something!
- Be gentle with yourself
Instead of putting yourself down about a particular situation that is bothering you, try some role playing. What sort of things would you say to your best friend or a close family member if they were beating themselves up in a similar fashion? Whatever words of comfort you would offer them, offer them to yourself. You deserve gentle treatment just as much as the next person!
- Become a scientific researcher
Test your hypothesis! If you believe you are a failure, for example, conduct an experiment to prove whether you are or aren’t. Make a cake, go for a jog around the block, clean the toilet, wash the car. When you have completed this experiment, you will be able to write up notes to the effect that you were successfully able to complete the task. Constantly challenging your negative self-beliefs in this way is a helpful tool to dismantling any limiting self belief.
- Remember: It’s a grey world.
Rather than seeing your problem as an all-encompassing disaster, try to rate it on a 0 to 10 scale. Remember to keep 10 for end-of-the-world type scenarios. And as someone once quipped: “Only the end of the world is the end of the world.” By practicing looking at each problem on a sliding scale rather than extremes, things will begin to fall into proper perspective and your stress levels will decrease accordingly.
- Take a reality check
Ask someone you trust whether your thoughts or behaviors are realistic or not. If, for example, you are driving yourself into a depression over having left your partner because of his drinking, ask someone who understands the situation whether your depressing thoughts about the situation are realistic.
- Whip out the dictionary
If you must call yourself a fool, a moron or an idiot, check out the real meaning of the word in the dictionary. You’ll soon see that you do not conform to the actual definition.
- Tone down your language
Instead of claiming that everything is a “complete disaster” become a master of the understatement instead. Sure, you might have front-ended the new car but it’s not a “complete disaster.” It’s something that can, and will, be fixed and it’s not a complete disaster at all.
Use these techniques, one at a time, to identify problem areas in your
life and address areas that need improving. All this dirty talk is not
helping you to be your real, authentic, and happy self!