I asked my Facebook friends to share how they talk to themselves when they feel they have messed up. Many shared and let me say that takes vulnerability and courage to put it out to the world of how we talk to ourselves.
I am so thankful to my friends that they were willing to share because now I can show you real examples of how beautiful, loving, successful, hard-working, talented women can be so hard on themselves.
“Way to go dummy”
“How could I be so stupid”
“Why didn’t I listen to my brother….he tried to tell me”
“Geez Louise” “How can you do something so stupid”
“Of course you did x, Lauren.” Or “obviously I’m screwing up”
“Why bother trying, I never complete anything”
“Wtf is wrong with me”
“Oh my gosh, what are you doing & stop being so stupid.”
“Ugh!!! I suck at life.”
“ugh, I’m such an idiot.”
“For a while – after a series of kind of public mistakes (in the wake of a terrible break up) – I was calling myself “catastrophe kate”… at first it was sort of a joke but I started feeling worse about myself until I had to deliberately replace the term with something else”
“How can I be so stupid.”
A word that is repeated multiple times in the examples is stupid or implications of being stupid.
All of the things we judge ourselves for are either passed on to us from an adult from our childhood or situations that caused us to feel shameful.
The language or the tone in which we were talked to or screamed at was so deeply implanted in our brains, that it’s the first thought that pops into our head when we feel less than perfect.
But let me ask you this, does this story or belief in yourself empower you and allow you to do great things with your life? Or does it keep you small and stuck in the same stagnant place?
Ok, that was a leading question; of course, it keeps you small and stuck and boxed in where nothing seems to change in your life!
It’s time to let go of this story that was handed down to you or the situation in which made you feel so shameful.
The language of which you speak to yourself is not your language; it’s someone else’s. It doesn’t belong to you.
And the situation that occurred is now in the past; there is nothing you can do to change it. Reliving it over and over is causing you reoccurring shame and judgment, and you are allowing it to affect your current life negatively. It’s time to forgive and move forward.
What you are experiencing is merely a belief and a habit, in which you have the power to change. The thought that you are stupid or you can never complete anything is a belief. Thinking this thought over and over is a habit.
This belief and habit lead to other bad habits, which causes you to self-sabotage with food, alcohol or drugs to numb the self-inflicted pain, which leads to additional stress in your life.
And let me tell you, we are excellent at numbing the pain.
Allowing the belief and habit to manifest to the point of where you feel you need to numb the pain, stops you dead in your tracks.
Allowing fear of failure to set in, keeps you stuck in the same miserable place or from finishing what you start.
So, how do we stop this vicious cycle?
First, become aware of how you talk to yourself. As you can see from the examples my friends gave, they are aware when they feel they messed up, and you too are likely aware.
So now that awareness is present, think back to yourself as a child, would you intentionally berate this child or grind them into the ground as if they were dirt?
No, of course, you would not.
Your heart would go out to this child who is hurting or feeling down, and you would see them through the eyes of love. You would say positive words to them to take away any hurt or shame.
You are that child, and at the moment you are hammering down on this child, stop. Ask yourself whose words are these? Who gave me these words?
Acknowledge that you no longer have to accept them and that you are allowed to turn them around.
Mistakes are inevitable; it’s part of life. Tragedy will strike and cause trauma; it’s a given. But how you move forward, past the mistakes and painful experiences is on your terms; not what has been handed down to you.
If you had a parent that made you feel less than, not good enough, always striving for perfection, who berated you when you made a mistake; please understand this was a behavior learned from their parents or someone with authority, and it has been handed down to you.
If you are treating your inner child this way, again you have to power to stop and change the language.
Negative language is not a genetic inheritance that is handed off down the line.
These are behavioral choices, and you can make a different more empowering choice for yourself.
It’s also important to note that you will not miraculously stop the negative language, these thoughts will come and go. But when you respond with acknowledgment and compassion – this is where miracles can happen in your life.
I say miracles, because you may currently believe life will always be as is. But I am here to tell you my friend; you are incorrect.
All it takes is awareness of how you talk to yourself, acknowledging the language at the moment and choosing to change the language with more love and compassion towards yourself.
I want to share three books with you that touched me to the core and helped me to change my inter-dialogue with myself.
Loving What Is by Byron Katie – this book opened me up to understand what the reality is of any situation, how to ask if a thought or a situation is true and how to turn it around so that the suffering and self-sabotage can stop.
The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein – this book helped me to see all situations through love. It also helped me learn how to open my heart and connect with God in my own way. Not how I was taught to pray since I was a child. My love for God, myself, and everyone around me strengthened through this book.
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown – this book helped me to understand that being vulnerable is also being courageous. I learned how to turn shame into strength and really how to have compassion for myself and others.
These books broke my iron-clad wall I had built around my heart, my life, and my ego – where I let no one in and suffered tremendously and numbed the pain with a lot of wine.
It’s still a process that I work through, but the awareness is there, and I acknowledge the thought. However, I let it go and dismiss the thought, or I say you know what – I am not stupid; I am very smart. And then I move on.
But if I do find myself in a situation that keeps me stuck, I work through the language and the situation so that I don’t stay in self-sabotage mode for too long. I work very hard to be kind to my inner child.
So what I’d like to say to you is understand this is a process, no change occurs overnight, just keep on practicing love, compassion, and grace for yourself every single day.
When you feel stuck, reach out to a friend or someone who will listen to you.
Give back the stories to those made you feel less than with understanding these stories were merely handed down to them and then on to you.