Don't Let Your Inner Voice Drag You Down

 

It’s something we do every day and consistently do, and it will last all of our lives. What is it? It’s how we talk to ourselves, and, of course, there are two ways we can do that.  Positive self-talk is very positive, encouraging, and when we feel good, we can take on anything and conquer anything we put our minds to! The other kind is negative self-talk, and that’s where we doubt ourselves and are in our victimhood, blaming others for the results of our lives.

Our self-talk is constantly with us every single moment of the day, and it is so powerful. And how we feel about ourselves and situations manifests externally, so it’s incredibly important to be aware of what self-talk and stories are running in our heads. So many times, I haven’t even noticed what negative thoughts or stories were playing in my head, but when you finally catch yourself, take a deep breath. Journal it out or stop and ask yourself what is another point of view that I can take to shift that inner dialogue into a more positive space?

I remember when I used to work in the corporate world, I was always in negative self-talk.  Things usually came easy for me, so there was no room for negative self-talk at those times, but when I was stretching myself, in uncomfortable situations or didn’t know the answer, the only story that played was that "I was stupid, I didn’t know what I was saying, I should just be quiet." Wow. “Be quiet” used to run my life when I was uncomfortable in a situation. I remember being in these marketing meetings, and I would be so quiet because I knew what I wanted to say, but I was so afraid that if I spoke up, I was going to be wrong and I would get some sort of backlash, so I just stayed quiet.

And that hurt. It was like this deadly silence in me because my soul, my creativity, everything that brings me alive, was saying to share it, but this voice kept saying it’s not safe to share, so just don’t say anything. So, I’d be feeling this deadly silence, and then I would go back to my office, and in my head, the story of “you’re not good enough, you’re failing at your job” would keep running. And that made me start to blame my colleagues, because no one intuited that I needed help or that I needed someone to explain this to me, so it was their fault I wasn’t doing my job well. The reality was, I was doing a great job, and no one else thought that was I doing a bad job; it was just me. I get that now but didn’t at the time. 

I put myself in my own jail. I jailed myself in this negative self-talk, and it even affected my outer life, because when I’d go out, I’d just complain about work. I was doing the best I could with what I could then, but now, I know I have the tools to stop myself from going down that negative path. Through years of inner work, I learned that I am in control of my thoughts, and any time I see myself going down a negative path, I can stop myself and course correct. I think to myself, Jeanne, no: this thought is not serving you right now. What is a thought that is going to serve you so you can get neutral again and then from that neutral place, take that other fork in the road and set yourself up to win? Ask questions, be vulnerable; if you don’t know what you’re doing, communicate that. Back in the day, I was so hard on myself to perform and produce that I could not be vulnerable and ask for help or guidance. Now, I take responsibility for myself, and asking for help isn’t scary anymore.

What’s coming up for you as you watch this? Are there any judgments on me or what I’m saying? I know that when I’m in judgment of someone else, it’s because I’m not comfortable within myself of what’s going on outside of me. Therefore, I move into a judgment of it to protect myself and make it wrong so I can be right. When I learned that was a pattern I had, that was huge. It meant I could never be in victim mode again and had to take responsibility for my thoughts. 

What is it that’s running your life? Do you live mostly in positive self-talk where you’re your own cheerleader? Can you recognize when you’re in a negative spiral so you can course correct and get yourself on a path that’s going to serve you? Or do you live mostly in negative self-talk where you’re judging yourself and others, and not believing in yourself? Do you feel like you’re doing the best you can do with the tools you’ve learned from your parents, friends and society, but not feeling happy or content? It’s okay if that’s where you are, and I get it because I’ve been there. 

So, what is one thing you can do right now to course correct a little bit so when you find yourself in a negative thought or judgment, stop and take a breath—our breath connects us to the present moment—and ask yourself is there another perspective I can view this situation from that can help me take action in a way that is going to bring me into a more positive space? Then, from that inner positive space, I can go and do and be whatever it is in the outside world. The stories we tell ourselves, how we relate to ourselves, is how we manifest in the outside world, so if we’re always in negative self-talk, we might be manifesting a lot of challenges in our lives. If we’re in positive self-talk and responsible for our thinking, there won’t be as many challenges because we’re clearing them up inside first, and we’re not even involving anybody else. If I have a problem with someone, I catch myself and ask myself what is inside of ME that’s keeping me from feeling positively towards this person? My instructors Ron and Mary at the University of Santa Monica would say, “Would you rather be right or be in the loving?” When you can stay more in positive self-talk—in the loving of yourself and others—life feels so much happier.

Be positive and love yourself! 

 
Jeanne Verger