CHALLENGING YOUR TOXIC SELF-TALK
Are you aware of the voice in your head? You know the one that bosses you around and tells you what you shouldn't or couldn't do? Yeah, I know her. She is part of the sh**ty jury that stops you living your best life. I call mine Neggy Nancy. This inner voice provides a running monologue, sometimes cheerful and supportive and sometimes negative and defeating.
What I’ve found from so many of my clients is that many of you say your inner critic tells you that you aren’t good enough, you’re fat, you shouldn’t wear that or eat this. You are not alone!! Your self-talk combines your conscious thoughts with your unconscious beliefs and biases. It’s a very effective way for your brain to interpret and process your daily experiences, both good and bad. Unfortunately it’s human nature - especially when it comes to our bodies and our ability and appearance - to veer towards negative self-talk - or toxic self-talk as I like to refer to it. These pesky comments might start out as a whisper, but eventually they can become a roar and that’s when this negativity becomes unrealistic and can be detrimental to our health. Your thoughts are the source of your emotions; the food that fuels your mood. They influence how you feel about yourself and how you respond to events in your life.
The power of words is in your hands, or literally - in your head. Every time you speak negatively to your body, it senses it and absorbs it into your cells, muscles, tissues and organs. The more negative the thought, the deeper it goes. When directed to specific parts of you, it doesn't just stay there. Why? Because these organs work together to perform a function and these functions together to build a system, such as the digestive system or respiratory system. It’s a ripple effect.
Scientists studying the inner voice say it takes shape in early childhood and persists as a lifelong companion. In my practise with disordered eating and body positivity, I’ve come to see this as true; it can often be the cries of your inner child, the echo of the child you once were. It’s here that resides your self-esteem, body-image, family trauma and shame. It’s not them as adults talking to themselves in this way but instead, their inner child who is desperate to be heard. Essentially, it’s their inner child calling the shots.
Toxic self-talk keeps you small. Why? Because fear keeps your small and it’s from a place a fear that your self-talk often resides. It doesn’t want you to take up space because it’s OH_MY_GOD what if you stepped outside of this comfort zone and into he unknown. I know, life-changing right?!
So how do we reject the inner critic? Well, it’s less about rejecting and more about managing. Here’s my introductory steps to managing your self-talk…
Create a Safe Space for Conversation
The inner critic is usually commenting from a place of fear - fear of success, fear of failure, fear of not fitting in, fear of judgement etc etc, so allow a safe space for it to be heard without judgement. Feel into the fear. Where is it coming from? Does it come from a childhood memory or a memory from earlier in life? Fear often paralyses us with the worst possible outcome so imagine how you - as an adult - would respond to that. I’m pretty sure the worst outcome is not actually as bad as it would appear once you go through it in detail. Allow this self-talk to be herd, without judgement. Move through what the inner critic is saying. Are there other emotions that come up? It’s usually a sign that they’ve been waiting to be heard, really heard.
Invite the Self-Talk Out
Take a minute to shut your eyes and connect with your self-talk. Sit, breathe and be with this practise. I encourage you to start checking in with it on a daily basis, listening to the quality of it and what it is saying. Don't fight it, just be aware of it. The more you learn to recognise and listen to this inner critic, the easier it will become to understand where it is coming from, whether that be inner child or other stories and imprints we have picked up on the journey we call life. Think about how you felt after you engaged in this inner discussion? Was it a one-way conversation? Were you fighting back and telling the inner critic to do one?
Detach, Detach, Detach
Following this, learn the art of non-attachment. While we can’t always completely detach from the stories we encounter, we can learn the art of non-attachment. It’s not always you directing the toxic self-talk, but instead these stories and the perceptions and opinions of people that you’ve picked up along the ride of life and took on as your own. Recognise what you can detach from.
Create a Filtration System
Can you identify how your toxic self-talk has been playing tricks on you by overruling you with limiting mentalities? Can you start to filtrate what you know is untrue and reject that inner critic? Get some perspective on the situations your critic uses as a playground. How bad is the situation? When in the process of overthinking, catch yourself - are you making a mountain out of a molehill? Ask yourself, how much will this matter tomorrow, next week or in five years?
Labelling emotions and fears can be really helpful in decreasing the intensity of the inner critic. For example, I’m feeling x because I’m afraid. I’m feeling y because I’m vulnerable. Get to know your feelings by labelling them in a way that feels good to you.
Can you turn your inner critic, into an inner cheerleader?
Affirm yourself with a strong, positive affirmations that make you feel empowered, strong and supported in your body, your mind and your abilities. You are able. You are enough. I know that we can because I see it time and time again with clients.
If this resonates with you and you would like to explore this more, book in for a discovery call with me here to see how we can work together to stop you playing small, and start challenging your inner critic. No pressure, just exploration. You are in the drivers seat.
I really hope this helps…
X Pandora Paloma X