4 Steps to Have Better Self-Talk
There's one person that has always been with you through thick and thin. This person was part of your whole past, is part of your present and will be part of your life until the day you die. This ever-present person is yourself, of course.
One of the pieces of advice about relationships that we often hear is that we need to work on having good communication. This can be extrapolated to the unconditional relationship we have with ourselves. We thrive when the way that we talk to ourselves is censored to yield understanding and compassion.
Our inner voice can say things that eventually manifest. An important reason why our self-talk needs to be controlled for quality is because it can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The Passenger Seat
I consider myself to be an anxious driver. When I was 16 and learning how to drive I'd often narrate the steps I needed to take before departure aloud: sit belt on, adjust the rearview mirror, check the dashboard and so on. I'd then say something like "Okay, I'm ready" or "Alright, let's go." In retrospect, I was using self-talk unknowingly as a way to build my confidence for going on the road.
Self-talk can be thought of as a companion sitting on the passenger seat when you're driving. If you have a destination in mind it'll be there to guide you with words of affirmation or harsh criticism.
Sometimes self-talk leads us to undesirable places. But ultimately we're in control of the wheel, we're the one driving to get to our destinations even if our self-talk wants to call the shots from the passenger seat.
Our self-talk is subject to change. We can decide to listen to it, take what it says with a grain of salt, or create a new self-talk to sit on the passenger seat altogether to make the ride more worthwhile.
Steps for Better Self-Talk
Let's say that you've decided to work on your self-talk because of how dysfunctional it is. Now, how can you upgrade? Here are some steps to bring forth a better inner voice using the RAIN acronym created by the American psychologist Tara Brach.
1) Recognize what your inner voice is saying. Maybe you made a mistake and your inner voice is magnifying it by saying something like "You've failed miserably, this is awful and there's no way to fix this." Let the self-talk register or become fully conscious.
2) Allow the self-talk to happen. Work under the principle that what we resist persists. Don't try to avoid, change or fix the negative self-talk immediately so that it doesn't retaliate.
3) Investigate what triggered the dysfunctional self-talk. Distinguish the facts from the feelings that fueled the self-talk. Be curious about what the triggering event and self-talk are demanding from you.
4) Nurture yourself with the treatment you'd give a loved one in your position or yourself if you were your beloved best friend. Use words of affirmation like "You're doing your best under these circumstances, I know you want to improve and that's enough."
To Wrap Up
How we communicate with ourselves is just as important as how we communicate with others. Our self-talk will likely remain with us for as long as we live, hence understanding and compassion are essential to thrive.
I'd love to know what you think, so please feel free to comment below or share your thoughts on Facebook @pursuitofeureka.