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Don't Talk to Me That Way! The Sabotage of Self-Talk

I facilitated a women’s retreat last week.  It was called, “The Power of You” and was designed to create a safe space for discovery and intentional change in creating more self-confidence.  As we moved through the sessions, one theme started to come up for all the participants: how we talk to ourselves.  These were strong, successful, loving powerful women whose internal dialogue was negative, harmful, and just plain mean.

How we talk to ourselves is the biggest factor in our self-confidence.  It is the internal dialogue that frames our abilities, self-worth, and courage.  I have battled with this sometimes, and it is the number one issue I coach on. 

Where do these negative thoughts come from?  Psychologists will tell you they come from core beliefs, Blueprints and schemas.  They create emotional debris.  Coaches will tell you it’s from thought errors, beliefs, the past, and old wounds.  Whatever the cause, our minds can be assholes, and can keep us from achieving happiness, purpose and fulfilment.

Even at my retreat, these women were held back by these thoughts.  From not being able to leave a job that no longer serves, creating meaningful relationships that provide love and support, to rising above a painful past-experience and loving who they had become through hard work and perseverance.

So, how do we combat our negative thoughts?  And I do mean combat- we must take massive action to keep these harmful thoughts at bay.  Here is what I teach in my coaching circles that have helped so many women have more confidence and self-love:

  • Acknowledge the thought: is this a fact or a thought?  Many of us turn a thought into fact in our heads and never question it.  Question every thought you have.  If it is not a fact, it can be changed.

  • Does this thought serve me? Does this help me reach my goals, my dreams and the life i want?  If not, spend time with it and turn it into a thought that serves you better.

  • Is this thought true?  We have many thought errors: thoughts that create unwanted feelings. And we know that thoughts lead to feelings, feelings lead to actions, and actions lead to results.  Think of what these thought errors are doing to your results!

  • How we talk to ourselves matters: I hear clients, friends and even myself say mean things about ourselves.  Why do we do this?  We would never speak to others this way, and it surely does not serve us.  I love the idea of “only speak to yourself as you would a child”.  To me, that means gentleness, patience, kindness and love.  Who wouldn’t love to be spoken to that way?

  • Give ourselves grace: we won't get this right at first, but practice will get us there.  Giving grace can show up in a million ways: kind self-talk, forgiveness, patience, sense of humor and rest.

I’m continuing to develop my muscle in positive and nurturing self-talk, just as my clients from the retreat are.  It takes intent, purposeful actions and perseverance.  How will you nurture your own self-talk?  I can’t wait to hear.


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