Well I finally opened my new journal I purchased on my recent night out. Yeah it’s the new one that I absolutely refuse to write in. Wait. It’s not what you think. It’s just that I have so many lovely journals and sometimes I like to look at them and think positive, happy and inspiring thoughts. But back to my original story. After trying to shuffle through the neatly lined and crisply stuck together journal pages, I finally opened it to the second page. Guess what stared back at me? A quote by British journalist and businessman Walter Bagehot!
“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”
– Walter Bagehot
Now before you get all into your feelings let me say this: I’m not in the least bit superstitious. It was kind of funny and ironic that I’ve had this journal for nearly a month and when I finally opened it, this is the first thing that greeted me. I guess stranger things have happened right?
Our Thoughts Matter
After reading the quote again and again, it made me think about past and recent encounters with people who sometimes meant well but told me what I was and was not capable of accomplishing or even trying to accomplish in their humble opinion. In addition, this quote reminded me that we are what we think of ourselves and what we say to ourselves. For example, if I think I’m never going to lose 20 pounds, the truth of the matter is I’m absolutely right. Things just got real because I’ve already told myself in a matter of fact way I’m NOT going to do it! I’m sure you’ve heard of positive self-talk but are you familiar with negative self-talk? What about limiting negative beliefs directly related to negative self-talk?
A Defining Moment
Negative self-talk is anything you may say to yourself in private or within your private thoughts that you would not likely say around others. For example, saying or thinking “I’m so stupid for taking the wrong turn” while driving is very negative and self-defeating because chances are you mistakenly or hastily took a wrong turn which isn’t a requirement for measuring your intelligence. Imagine if you were able to make even a small amount of progress on your personal or professional goals simply by changing the way you speak to yourself?
Silence Your Inner Critic
According to an article published on Psychology Today’s website, Margaret Moore, CEO of Wellcoaches Corporation and the co-director of the McLean/Harvard Medical School Institute of Coaching, listed 7 practical ways to silence our inner critic and leave negative self-talk behind. Personally, I think I deserve to be spoken to in a respectable manner by everyone I meet, and there aren’t any exceptions. I’m almost sure you feel the same way. How do we expect others to speak to us kindly, but we allow our inner critic to say whatever he or she wants? It’s unfair, unloving and unnecessary because you deserve better and so do I!
Just Stop It
In step two Margaret said we should literally say stop to our inner critic when they insist on spewing negativity and untruths. It may sound weird to you at first, but maybe you can simply practice it silently so you’re not embarrassed. A few years ago I did this exercise as I was driving on a busy street and feeling emotionally drained. I started crying, which then turned into sobbing and the full-blown ugly cry. Yep! In my mind I repeated this: “you’re not stupid, you’re not! You can’t be stupid!” I then started to say it out loud over and over again until I stopped sobbing. Of course, at first the ugly cry took over but that’s not the point. I was in effect telling my inner critic her opinions sucked and they weren’t true.
I also like Margaret’s suggestion about replacing the mean words we say and think to ourselves with nicer, gentler words. Instead of saying how stupid you are for taking a wrong turn, try this: “wow you made a wrong turn; but at least you’re smart enough to realize it and get back on the main road.” Ha! I do this exercise a lot and it really works! Again, you deserve better and so do I. It’s time for us to set new patterns, and create healthier habits such as speaking to ourselves with the same level of respect we require from others. Critics Never Win! If you’re constantly struggling with negative thoughts and self-talk, try practicing positive self-talk. This awesome article and free worksheet download will show you how: 2 Reasons Why Positive Self-talk Is A Real Skill bit.ly/1Ptg1V2.
How do you silence or manage your inner critic? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.