Seems like more and more of us are riddled with negative thoughts and self talk. As a female, I hear most of it from myself (of course) and from my closest group of female friends. Although it's definitely not a gender specific issue, most of my experience is from the female perspective. If there were a certification or degree offered in the art of negative self talk and self doubt, my office would look like that of an Ivy Leaguer.
Round and Round
I can talk myself in and out of anything and everything in a matter of minutes. I like me, you like me, I feel pretty, it's going to be fun, I don't like me, you hate me, I look hideous, I love this outfit, what am I wearing?! Somebody smack me. I'll refer to this as emotional messiness which ** I might add ** implies that it can be cleaned up.
Think for a moment about what you have said to yourself today. Anything positive? Probably not. Today I've critiqued my body, my hair, my skin, my fitness level, my housekeeping skills, my sanity, my relationship status or lack thereof, and the fact that it's 9pm and I've yet to shower just to name a few. I decided to ask a few of my closest friends to tell me just 5 positive things about themselves ... and I'm still waiting for answers. To be honest, I couldn't answer that either. It just feels weird. We are so programmed to self deprecate. We have been trained to be ashamed of being proud or talking positively about ourselves as it comes off as arrogant and narcissistic. Makes absolutely no sense. When a compliment is given, I negate it and use humor to deflect acceptance making me appear humble and clever because that really matters and is getting me somewhere. Nope. Just take the compliment.
What I say to myself I would have to say to my best friend.
I recently came across this video of best friends getting brutally honest about their negative self talk. It hit me hard and inspired me to share it with the women in my life. It resonated deeply for me and helped me become aware of my personal and constant negative self talk. It put me in a different mindset.
Wow, that is POWERFUL. I would never, ever speak to my best friends in that way. My best friends are like gold and moon dust or anything you deem precious. They love unconditionally and each more beautiful than Cinderella. My friends are kind, amazing and generous beyond belief. These women are smart, sexy, healthy and I would be dead in a ditch somewhere without them. This just rolls off my tongue because I love them SO MUCH. Maybe if we can learn to be our own best friend, we can learn to love and be kind to ourselves. Why don't I love myself the way I love my friends? Who knows, but what a novel idea - be your own best friend! How about practicing these few things?
Be Your Own Best Friend
1. Talk to yourself in a positive way every SINGLE dayGive yourself credit for making an effort in anything that you do. Anything. Getting out of bed, brushing your hair, making your bed, doing laundry, going to work, meeting up with friends, working out, eating a salad, getting shit done, calling your grandma - you did it and you should congratulate yourself. Congratulations! This is retraining ourselves to use positive self talk. You should try it. It feels weird at first, but like anything the 67th time you do it - it will feel natural. I can only assume because I am starting with you.
2. Talk to your friends about YOU in a positive wayI'll get back to you on this one, I'm still trying to figure it out myself. This just occurred to me 4 hours later: Pretend like you are talking to your best friends about them and it will be so much easier! Just lump yourself together with the thoughts you have of them. Hot damn, that's a huge revelation for me.
Update: Here are the responses I've received.
Amazing Woman #11. I am creative.
2. I like to learn new things.
3. I'm open minded and can go with the flow.
4. I have a nice figure.
5. I'm able to see magical things in the world that other people overlook.
Amazing Woman #21. I care about people.
2. I am creative.
3. I am loyal.
4. I like to have fun.
5. I work hard.
Amazing Woman #31. I am brave.
2. I am intuitive.
3. I am open minded.
4. I allow myself to feel sadness so I can in turn feel happiness.
5. I love unconditionally.
3. Forgive yourselfForgive your mistakes, forgive your body, forgive your mind and forgive those around you.
4. Self Care = Self LoveThis is anything that takes care of you. It could be anything from a shower to a yoga class to a facial to a walk to a nap - anything that feels good to you. Be a little selfish, spend your time with people you love and bring you joy.
No matter how skilled you may become in self love, remember that you are only human and negative thoughts will still creep into your mind. Don't beat yourself up about it, if bad thoughts sneak in (which they will) recognize them and how you feel at that moment. Make a note of how you feel and ask if that thought is the truth. Then let that mofo go.