Rewrite Your Internal Self Talk
Rewrite Your Internal Self Talk
A few years ago, I had the privilege of taking part in a year long leadership development program held in California. I met the most incredible humans from around the world. Many are now life long friends and colleagues. A group of us still meet virtually every two weeks to practice our leadership skills, hold space for each other in our darkest of moments and have the opportunity to speak our truths and show up as our true authentic selves.
What I love so much about this group is how we can witness in a safe space when our inner critics show up. Those are the voices in our heads that judge ourselves and others, that tell us we’re not good enough, that tell us we suck. It was in our last “Leaders Show up” group call that my inner critics had a field day.
As the group was conversing, I could feel myself becoming so passionate about the topic of discussion that I chimed in with what I felt were words of motivation and inspiration. How it was received was more like advice. What we could all feel was how the energy shifted in the space. There were triggers going off in so many of us and I could feel my inner critics show up to tell me:
Who do you think you are!?
- No one is going to want to listen to you!
- See!? I just proved to you yet again that you’re worthless.
- I told you that you don’t belong here! Just shut the F**K up!
In the past, I used to actually feel good when I was proactive in my negative self talk. I felt that, if I could put myself down first, no one else could “get” me. I would simply become very quiet and retreat into myself. It was a way to control my internal and external environment and I treated it like it was some sort of reward for staying on top of the situation. It was a way to feel safe.
On other occasions I would verbally underplay my accomplishments or put myself down through self deprecating jokes. People would often say to me: “Ann-Marie, you’re hard on yourself!” My reply would always be: “Ya, but I’m so good at it!” and then laugh it off to lighten the mood.
What do your inner critics say to you?
Do you ever have those nasty inner critics in your head as well? What do yours say to you? Do they say things like?
- OMG, look at yourself.
- Eeew. Gross.
- Look at all your mistakes!
- You totally screwed that up. Everyone noticed.
- You should know better than that
Most of us have some sort of nasty inner critic that thrives on sharing his/her negative opinions, judgemental thoughts and downright rude and obnoxious antics.
While it might seem a little odd to think about having a conversation with yourself in your own head, we do it all the time.
Our brains are always chatting away with some sort of internal dialogue, whether that’s in words, images, or feelings. Most of the time, we’re just not conscious of it.
Brain chatter = Self-talk.
It’s important to remember that our brains and bodies can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s imaginary. This means, if we pay attention more to the nasty inner critics, vs our inner Champions our brains and bodies will treat what we say as true and see the external and internal environment as legitimate threats to our well-being.
Nasty Inner Critics makes us feel like crap
When the volume of those inner critics is continuously on high and always on, it creates stress. When that happens, our brains will do what it has been doing for a gazillion years: go into protective mode through fight, flight, freeze or appease.
In small amounts, stress can be a positive thing. It can inspire productivity and motivate you to complete your goals. But chronic stress can have many adverse effects, including irritability, depression, headaches, gastrointestinal problems, sexual dysfunction, substance abuse, depletion of the immune system and even life-threatening illness.
To build resilience and hear your inner Champion more often than your inner Critic, here are some tips:
Create a Champion list:
List some things that is serving you in your everyday life. You may at first have a hard time thinking of some things for most people tend to discount the smaller accomplishments in life that help them grow every day.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- I only hit the snooze button once today
- I had a banana instead of a chocolate bar
- I called two friends
- I stayed on the line with my leadership colleagues even though I felt discomfort
- Work with a Change Champ Coach to help with rediscovering you Inner Champion
Feed the Champion vs the Critic:
As addressed in the Champion Lifestyle program, there is a direct link between diet and mental well-being. Your body runs on fuel in the form of food, and if the fuel you put in your body is not healthy, you can’t expect your body to produce optimal wellness. A diet low in nutrients can deplete your reserves of vitamins and minerals, making it even more difficult to manage your resilience to the inner critics.
- Reduce or eliminate caffeine, sugar and alcohol,
- Replace fatty meats and processed foods
- Choose fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat and fish, nuts, seeds and legumes.
- Sign up for the Champion Lifestyle program to create and internal and external Champion lifestyle
Reframe your negative thoughts.
In my Champion Mindset program, you are given lots of activities to help you reword and reframe the negative self-talk that may be showing up for you.
- If the root of your stress can be linked to a particular event where you felt like you failed, simply notice and name it for what it is. Reframe the event in your head and realize that failure is essential for growth.
- Take the example of my Leadership call. I was able to notice and name the internal inner critic that showed up when I felt vulnerable. My Inner Champion was able to take the lead and ask me the powerful questions to help me sit in the discomfort and challenge the belief of not being good enough.
- Sign up for the Champion Mindset program and start transforming your negative self talk and rediscover your Inner Champion
Clearly visualize yourself doing things you’re proud of.
Remind yourself of that awesome moment, and make it as real as possible — like making a movie of that experience in your head.
- Have a name for the movie, the characters in the movie and who the Champions and/or Heroes are in the movie.
- Allow yourself to binge watch that movie over and over again in your head so you can clearly see yourself doing and being that Champion
Let’s face it, that nasty inner critic isn’t going away any time soon. It’s part of the human condition and no one is exempt from having negative self talk. Yet, you don’t have to be a hostage to them either.
Developing and strengthening your Inner Champion is a critical key to turning down the volume on the internal noise. It’s also your key to resilience and thriving in an imperfect world. With a the right tools and support system, you’ll be on the road to conquering your self-doubt, negative beliefs while building confidence and leverage your Champion strengths
To the Champion in YOU!