STOP THE NEGATIVE SELF-TALK. NO, REALLY.
Most women play a continuous soundtrack of self-critical thoughts.
The lyrics may be slightly different but the tune is the same. And it’s on repeat.
It hums in the background, befouling our relationships, our accomplishments, and our sense of selves.
And it’s been happening for so long that we don’t even notice it anymore.
Maybe we never did.
Our negative self-talk was learned. We adopted and adapted it as we were learning, adopting, and adapting the ways in which we exist in the world.
Kids hear their moms make negative comments about themselves in the mirror.
Magazine models we envied as young women mysteriously never came complete with blemishes, or cellulite, or stretch marks.
Modern social media filters out and airbrushes realities about success and fortune and what it actually means to be a woman.
And with repeated exposure comes reinforced beliefs.
What begins as a passing perception becomes an insidious belief that we are somehow lacking. Unworthy. Not quite right.
We’ve been taught to believe that there is something wrong with us.
And we are also taught to not question what we are taught. Hello, perpetual loop of BS.
And modern women continuously absorb socially-manipulated information and inject it straight into our thought processes.
And when we put those thoughts on repeat, we adopt them as core beliefs.
No wonder we feel like shit, right?
The good news is that we don’t have to believe what we’ve been telling ourselves. Because here’s what you should know: the negative self-talk in your head is a lie.
We made it all up. Seriously. Stop for a minute and take that in. We made it ALL up.
And then adhered to the belief in it. But, the good news is that it’s ALL made up.
Which means we have complete control over our soundtrack.
I was four years old when I first remember the tune of my own self-critical soundtrack.
I remember standing in front of a floor-length mirror in my parents’ bedroom, pinching at what I had decided was fat where my arms met my shoulders.
I held my arms out straight and then let them fall, scrunching my nose at the two small flaps created by my skin when they settled at my sides. I cried to my mom that they were fat. I hated them.
I don’t remember where I learned it. Or where I picked it up. And that’s why it’s so sneaky.
We don’t recognize it. And we don’t realize it continues playing in the background long after we push play.
My four-year-old self pushed play and waged a decades-long war against my body being “fat.” Even when it clearly wasn’t.
That was the first lie I told myself.
The other ones that followed included:
I’m not smart enough. I’m a terrible person. I should be better. I’m not pretty enough. I’m a terrible mother. I can’t do that. I don’t deserve that. I make horrible decisions.
What does your negative self-talk soundtrack sound like?
Open yourself up to being aware of the soundtrack you’re playing. Start to hear what you are saying to yourself.
And then ask yourself this: Do I want to keep saying this to myself?
And then you get to choose whether or not you want to keep thinking it.
Know that you don’t have to.
It’s your choice.
You got this.