We are so used to our own inner chat that it is very easy to not notice what we actually tell ourselves on a daily basis.
Unfortunately our inner voice is not always supportive of us, to say the least, and it is one of the most influential parameters in our ability to thrive or not.
Very often we are our worst critic, and we put ourselves down, harshly, without a second thought.
"I am such a klutz!" we think after failing to perform skillfully a manual task. In front of a mirror: "Oh my God... I look awful." After making a mistake: "I can't do anything right, these days." And on and on we go...
Not only the content, but the tone of our inner voice affects us greatly.
A lot more in fact, than what we could guess at first. Unconsciously we keep lecturing the child we once were. So familiar it goes unnoticed this has a compounding effect.
In any given moment, we are either our best friend or our worst critic, being our own unconditional supporter toward happiness and success or harshly pointing at anything we consider less than perfect with cold and unforgiving judgement.
In fact, self-criticism affects our lives deeply.
The effects of denigrating ourselves are devastating, though we barely realize it.
It impacts negatively our personal relationships, body image, confidence and quality of life in general. It most usually comes from an early lack of recognition and support from majors role figures and primary caregivers, becoming an accepted way to look at oneself, despite accomplishments or positive feedback later on in life. It's a mental loop, coming from lack of support and perpetuating it.
Sure enough, seeing oneself wrong becomes a self verifying premise influencing our current results because when we believe that we are not good enough, we automatically perform less well, or we don't accept any result less than perfect, and may become extremely rigid, in our thinking and in our behavior. This in return, undermines our ability to relate to others, to be compassionate or to see the good in what we do. It affects our mood, our physical posture, and our outlook on Life itself.
Nothing beneficial is to be had from negative self-talk!
Then, how can we stop this self sustained sabotage ?
First: give attention and notice what we do tell ourselves, all day long, in all kinds of occasions. Make a point to become aware of what kind of thoughts and words pop by default, when we happen to make a mistake or to mess up somewhat, in any situation.
What do we think FIRST ? What do we say ?
Do we let ourselves be learners, looking at the missed result as being a brand new incentive, or a little glitch, or a reminder, in any case nothing related to our true value...
Or do we immediately focus on the wrongness, the failure, the imperfection, and sanction it with a disapproving, disregarding, scornful thought?
Awareness is power.
Once we are more aware of how much self-condemning we are, making a point to replace the negative thought by a thought of encouragement (as if we were supporting a toddler's efforts to learn how to walk) puts us in a completely new dimension.
I personally have a hard time keeping up with daily exercise, it is not my forte, and I have to really use discipline and will to stay on track. Which I don't always do. However, instead of beating myself up for any lapse, I make a point to congratulate myself warmly EVERY single time I do exercise! "Good job!" I say to myself. "Well done! That was great!".
I say it out loud. I say it every time. I smile with pride.
I let myself revel in the feeling of "doing it right".
Because I know that I have years of harshness behind me, I make sure to reinforce positively and very consciously, everything and anything that I do that serves my growth and my becoming more of who I want to be, for myself and others.
The thing is: if I treat myself with more love, more supportiveness, more approbation, and more benevolence, I automatically feel more at peace with the world.
I automatically succeed more. I am in better health. My relationships flow better.
We create our own ceiling for anything.
I believe the way we talk to ourselves, the way we look at ourselves, and the level of love we feel genuinely for ourselves determines the standard of what we can receive from outside of us.
Let's beware of our self-talk. And make the necessary changes. Consciously, purposefully.
Because our entire life will be better for it.