Stop Bullying Yourself By Transforming Your Self Talk.
We warn our kids about them when they start school… “They say mean things…” Uck! I am just so fat! “They will try to put you down and make you feel bad about yourself” Welp, it must be that I’m just not smart enough! That’s why I keep getting passed up for promotions. ” They hurt people’s feelings” I am a failure…We warn our kids. We lift them up and brush them off. We encourage them to look past the words and see the awesome truth about themselves. Then we turn around and say those things to ourselves. You are bullying yourself with your negative self talk!
Truth is, I am so guilty of this. Here is this issue. Would we want our kids, significant other, parents, or any one else we love for that matter, hearing us talk to ourselves like that? I think not!
Another way to look at it is, do you think any of those people we just mentioned would say to you any of the mean things you say to yourself?? Again, I really think not!
Good news: We can get away from that. We can repair the damage! You just need to implement a little self transformation.
Just like when others say things to us, the things we say to ourselves, and about ourselves, have a huge impact on our mental health, our self-esteem, and our overall happiness. Self talk actually has a hormonal effect on our brains. Negative self talk will cause your body to release stress hormones, slows the metabolism and will put physical and emotional stress on your body! More good news: positive self talk has the same effect, but in a positive way! When we speak kindly and think kindly about ourselves, we release the happiness hormones in our brain and we feel good, our blood pressure lowers, our body releases tension… Yeah, those sound way better to me too!
So how do we do it? How do we beat the bully in our own head? First things first, we have to figure out where that bully even came from! We weren’t born with them up there. I know that for a fact because my two girls are the most self-confident kiddos I’ve ever met! They can put on the craziest outfit and yet strut around like they are the prettiest peacock at the fair! No criticism, no picking out every “flaw”. Sure they get frustrated when they can’t figure something out, but they keep trying until they get it or they turn to someone for help, not throwing the toy down huffing and puffing about how stupid they are. So back to the original thought there (sorry, got lost in the passion!), where did that mean ol’ bully come from?
Here is what I’m guessing:
- you’ve spent your life comparing yourself to others
- you let others tell you how you should or shouldn’t be
- you don’t take the time needed to focus on what you want or what makes you happy
- you pick out thorns (negatives) instead of seeing the beautiful roses (positives) blooming right in front of you
- you always keeping your senses turned outward instead of taking the needed time to focus inward
Am I close? Did I nail it? Scratch the surface? I hope I at least got you thinking about where the bully might stem from.
Now that we have pin-pointed the source, let’s take some action! Nothing will ever happen if we don’t make it happen!
Are you spending all your time comparing yourself to others?
Here is why that is a little bit silly. God did not put you on this Earth to do better than your neighbor. He didn’t put you on this Earth to worry about how you are stacking up compared to your best friend, or even that random person you knew in high school and see all over Facebook. He put you on this Earth to live your life! This is your journey, you are the star! So be the star! Focus on you and how you are making the most of your journey. Are you doing what is needed to take care of your family and yourself? Do you always try your best at work and in every activity you take on? Are you surrounded by the things that you need and that make you happy? Is your family proud of you? If you could answer yes to any of those, why would you need to worry about what anyone else is doing? You are not there to be the main support for their family, so why try to compare to their job?
Your family loves you and appreciates you, so why sit around thinking about how you can take your family on the big expensive trips they go on? Because in the end, do you want to look back and remember trying to match up with someone else, or do you want to remember making the best of what you were given? So instead of thinking, “My job isn’t near as fancy as my neighbors, they make so much money and live so large,” maybe you can think something more like, “My job might not make a ton of money, but I have food on my table and hot water for a shower!” Then go hop in the shower and let it rinse away any lingering negativity on your mind! Find a way to do this every time your mind wants to tell you that you don’t measure up to someone else. Say to yourself, “You’re right, but…” then tell yourself why you don’t need to compare to what they have because of what you have. The more you do this, the more you will train your brain to automatically go to the positive aspect of your life, and you will even learn to balance a feeling of happiness that they have what you hope, makes them happy, and so do you!
How about those of us who let others tell us how to be or how not to be?
Its hard when we live in a society where almost every second of the day it feel like images of the “perfect life”, or “perfect body”, or “perfect” whatever are shoved in our faces. We are told that not matching up to these images means we are not good enough. Thank goodness that is not the truth! You run your life, not the media, not the photographers, not the models, or actors, or anyone! You decide what is good enough. After having 3 kids in 4 years- my youngest of which is only 10 months- its safe to say that my body is not quite up to the standards I have for myself. Not based on anyone’s criteria, but my own. However, with that being said, since I am the one who decides what is good enough, I know that right now, at this point in time, my body is good enough for me! Even though the InstaMoms would say its way easy to get a killer bod only 6 months postpartum, I am only just now coming across the amount of time it took to grow a human inside of me. A human who needed me to gain weight, and grow, and adjust to his being in there. So I can look at myself and decide for myself, that yeah, right now my body is good enough for me! I know I am putting in work, but I don’t have tons of free time to dedicate to working out for hours each day. I do what I can, when I can, and I live up to my own standards! Don’t you ever let anyone else tell you that you are not up to their standards, their standards should mean NOTHING to you, your view of where you are in life is the only one that matters! (Unless, of course, that person is a doctor. I am not advocating going against a doctor’s recommendation to lose weight, or lower body fat, or lower blood pressure or anything like that!)
There is no true definition of perfection, it is subjective. What might be perfect for the mom’s on Instagram (and I promise I am not bashing them or anything!) is actually more than likely not going to be perfect for me and my family. We probably have totally different dynamics, we have different priorities, and we have different ideas of what is right for our own situations. As long as you are living up to your own standards, doing what you think is important, and understanding that there is no cookie cutter way of living, there is no reason for you to feel pressured by anyone to be a certain way.
Do you take enough time to focus on yourself and figure out what you like/what makes you happy?
No? Well lets talk about getting that started! This kind of goes along with the point right above. Once you know what makes you happy, you can set your own standards for life. My kids make me happy. Having a good size family makes me happy. So I am OK with the fact that right now, my body is not where I’d truly love for it to be, because I was working hard on something that makes me happy! So instead of telling myself, “Ugh I am so fat and I used to be so fit and hot. Why is it taking so long to lose weight?” I can say, “my family is so wonderful and beautiful. I am so glad I was able to take on the extra weight needed to support the amazing little man I have now!” The best way to stop those negative voices is to look at negative things in a way of you doing what makes you happy! Yeah, I totally skipped doing the dishes to sit on the couch watching TV, because my girls were cuddling so nicely with me and being sweeter than they have in a long time. So when I go see the dishes later instead of thinking “Ugh I am such a horrible wife, my husband is going to come home and see the dishes still not done!” I can say “That cuddle time was so fun us! It does suck that The Hubs will come home and see a messy kitchen, but he will be so happy to hear how sweet the kids were!” Totally took what could have been a nasty blow to my self-confidence and turned it into a great memory of me doing something that makes me happy. Isn’t that really what life is about? Yes there are chores that need to be done, but there will always be chores that need to be done! My kids will not want to cuddle forever. That painting that you made instead of doing that 3rd load of laundry is way more important and significant to you.
Don’t get so bogged down with things that need to be done that you forget that you also deserve to do the things that you want to do. Now don’t go running to your spouse saying “The Mama Bear Yogini said as long as I’m doing something I enjoy, I no longer have to do other stuff I don’t like.” That is totally not the point. We do need to make sure we are taking time to make ourselves happy, but there are still things required of us. I can’t forego cooking my family dinner because I decided to go outside and do yoga all night instead. That would be bad. The point is, if you do decide to put off a chore to do something for yourself, you are not allowed to go back and criticize yourself for that! Self care is important in living a good, healthy life and making sure you take time to make yourself happy is part of self-care!
Are you someone who always sees the thorns and not the roses?
Meaning you can pick out the bad in any situation, even if the good things are right there in front of you? Well my friend, it is time to change that mind-set! It’s not healthy for your mind to always see the glass half empty, and it is possible to turn that kind of mindset around. It might take some work, but its worth it for your quality of life. So you’re going out with friends. You pick out an outfit that was once your very favorite and made you feel like a star to wear. Its been a while since you could fit into it like you used to. Anyways, you decide to go with it, even though you tell yourself you look like a sausage. You’re out and one of your friends notices your outfit. You see them looking you up and down, smiling. Of course you immediately think “Oh no, they are laughing to themselves. I knew I looked horrible, why did I pick out this stupid outfit, why did I ever even like this outfit?” They turn to you and say “You look amazing! I haven’t seen you wear that in so long and I’ve always loved that outfit on you, and this time is no different!” Wow! How sweet of them right? Maybe you look better in that outfit than you thought, right? Wrong! In your mind there is no way the could be right. “What? Are you kidding? Ugh. I used to look way better, that’s why you haven’t seen me wear this in a while. You must need to go get your eyes checked!” Now tell me, what is the need for that? Why do you need to tear yourself down, when someone who loves you is trying to be sincere and build up? It is not good for your mental health to always be negative about yourself.
So it’s time to turn that around. If this is you, if that conversation sounded like something you’ve had with your friends, than I am giving you this challenge. Make a point to accept every compliment you get today and tomorrow (just in case you are reading this late at night, no free slide on this challenge). All you need to say is “Thank you, I appreciate it.” Even if you don’t agree, even if you think it’s a lie (even though it’s probably not), even if it’s just the most outrageous thing someone could be saying to you, I want you to reply “Thank you, I appreciate it.” And that’s it, nothing more needs to be said. By the end of the challenge, it should be a little easier to start changing how you see yourself. Your inner confidence will boost, you will start feeling those happy feeling inside your body, and you will start to notice how many people actually have nice things to say to you! They can’t all be lying, right? After you do that, head back over here and comment with how you did, and how it felt to accept compliments. Then challenge yourself again in a couple of days. The more you do this, it will become second nature to not only accept the compliments, but to start to believe them!
Now for those of us who don’t take the time to give our senses a rest and just block out the noise.
Life is overwhelming. For some it gets that way more than others, but even the most centered and positive person out there has days where they are just trying to keep their head above the water. It is so important to rest your senses and your brain. When I get overwhelmed and over stressed, I find I am the meanest to myself. When my house is a mess, the kids are running around crazy, I haven’t done yoga yet and I’m hungry. This is normally a sure-fire way to hear me bullying myself. “Ugh why are the kids so crazy today? I guess I am just not doing a good enough job entertaining them. I’m a horrible mom. Oh great, the dishes are over-flowing the kitchen, now add horrible house-wife to the list. I am so hungry, but at this point maybe starving myself would actually help me lose weight. And don’t even think about trying to get yoga in during this crazy storm going on in the house. I am such a bad yogi! I will never get myself into crow pose if I can’t even get onto the mat everyday!” Yeah, those are seriously things I have said to myself. I sound terrible right? I couldn’t possibly be such a failure at all of those things? That’s right! I couldn’t.
So what do I do to turn it around? My answer should be meditate, but honestly with 3 kids under 5, that is a very hard thing to do. There is always something going on, I am always thinking about something. So I do the next best thing, and I “mini-meditate”. Yes, I did just make that word up. I turn off the TV, I set my phone in the other room, I set the kids up with something they can do (if possible, if not no worries) and I get into my favorite spot on the couch and I just sit there. The kids are left to be kids and run around crazy. Dishes sit in the sink for 5 minutes longer. No worrying about yoga, and getting into crow pose. I even push the thoughts of food to the back of my mind. I rest. Eyes closed, jaw and face relaxed, mind as clear as I can get it (again, kids are running around) and I let my senses take a break. Your brain is a muscle, and it needs a break just like your other muscles. So turn off the noise, the TV, the phone, the worry of reaching my goals right this very second. Clearing your mind is hard, so just think of simple things. Think of how relaxing it is without the extra noise. Think of how good it feels to just sit in your favorite spot and just enjoy being alive. Think about relaxing all of your muscles as much as you possibly can. That’s why this is a “mini-meditation”, we are not getting quite as deep into it as a full on meditative experience, but enough that we can give our minds a little less of a load to carry, thus giving it even the slightest rest. You will feel calmer, renewed, and with a new drive to tackle all those things that were just overwhelming you. Try to remember to this a couple of times a day, and it will continue to get easier and you will be able to get deeper into it.
Self Talk Summed Up-
Positive self talk can be hard at first, but with enough practice and the desire to change it, you can! It gets easier and the change will improve your life in ways you never could have imagined. I used to be so hard on myself and my husband hated it. He would always get on to me for saying such nasty things to myself. I could tell it was bringing me down, sending my into a hard cycle of negativity and that was taking a toll on my family. I knew it needed to change so I worked hard. Every time I said something negative to myself I immediately said “NO!” and told myself why that mean thing was not true and not helpful. We all have things to be proud of about ourselves. We all have the chance to live happy and healthy. It does take work at first, but after a while it becomes second nature. I still do catch myself being a bully, but it is easier now to quickly turn it around and not get caught up on the negatives. I am now saying positive things, even when I feel negative. “Oh man, those dishes have been in there a while I better get on those. It was just so fun to have a relaxing weekend enjoying family. I’m glad I didn’t give that up to do dishes!”
If you ever need more help or encouragement with your positive self talk, please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I would love to help you! This was just a very general overhaul, but I would be glad to listen to your individual needs. I will gladly try to help you transform the way to you talk to and about yourself. I would love if you could share this with others who might need some help with self talk. And of course, if you take the time to comment below, I will always take the time to respond!
Namaste my friends! Be well and love yourself!
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