By Susanna Newsonen
If you’re anything like me, you might have noticed that you’ve got some internal chatter in your head. This might happen especially when you’re by yourself, when you’re ruminating about something, or when you’re faced with a scary challenge or setback.
This mind chatter can be good or bad. If it’s good, it can help you to plan what to say or do, to process things that have happened or to give yourself a pep talk about overcoming a challenge. If it’s bad, it can get really bad. Here’s an example.
The other week, an old bully resurfaced in my life and sent a series of hurtful messages to me. I was initially shocked by this unprovoked attack but quickly gathered myself to tell them to stop being a bully. They continued with their attack to the extent that I had to block them from being able to contact me.
This is when my not-so-helpful not-so-loving mind chatter kicked in. “Why did you do that? That’s not very helpful. Clearly, there is something wrong with you and that’s why they’re attacking you. This is a result of your actions. The universe is punishing you.” It just continued and continued with multiple different variations of this. This wasn’t exactly helpful. It didn’t make me feel better about myself or the situation—in fact, it only made me feel worse.
I called one of my friends to talk about it as I needed some outside perspective. She was already familiar with the bully and she said the following to me: “Susanna. You’ve done what you can. You’ve already tried to resolve this situation before and they’re not listening. This isn’t about you but about them. There is nothing wrong with you.”
That’s when it hit me. I’d fallen back to my old, pessimistic way of thinking for a moment and it totally lacked any ounce of self-compassion. My friend triggered me to really reflect on what I’d said to myself in that moment of crisis and also notice the kind, encouraging words she had said.
Imagine how much better you would feel if you talked to yourself the way you talk to your bestest friends? Imagine if you could cheerlead yourself the way you cheerlead them and they cheerlead you? Just imagine for a moment what that would be like. Pretty darn good, right?
That’s why today I want you to take a good close look at your self-talk. Today, as you go on with your day and notice your internal chatter kicking off, ask yourself:
1. Are these words helpful, constructive and/or encouraging?
If not, how can you change them to be more like that?
2. Am I being rational and reasonable with these words – or am I blowing things out of proportion?
Usually, we overdramatize things with that inner critic’s voice so it’s important to check how realistic you’re actually being.
3. Is this something I would say to my best friend?
Often the answer is no and that is a good wake-up call to start treating yourself more like you treat your best friend.
The more aware you become of your internal chatter, the easier it is to start managing it. At the start, this can be scary as you might not like everything that you hear yourself say.
However, with continuous practice, you’ll notice the voice change into a more positive one. It won’t happen overnight and there will be some days that are worse than others, but the key thing is that you try.
After all, you can’t escape yourself so you might as well make yourself one of your best friends.
If you want to work on being your best friend, join The Self-Love Boostercourse before February 18th.