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So many times, your biggest critic… is you! You hear encouraging words from others, and you likewise lift others up with kindness and support. However, it is a whole different story inside your head. Inside, you are met with your own desires, hopes, and fears. These thoughts and passions drive you to act and achieve excellence in your life. However, the expectations you have of yourself can also hinder you when it comes to self talk. Is it negative or positive? Do you hear your biggest cheerleader or your biggest skeptic? Our drive in pursuing perfection is not something to ignore. But if you are constantly feeling deflated by your inner voice instead of motivated, try some of these helpful tips to reframe the way you are talking to yourself.
1. Identify the positive. You may tend to focus in on negative events of the day, or the goals you did not accomplish. Your mind filters out all the positives. So, to counteract this habit, take some time to call out positive things that happened, no matter how small.
2. Push pause on the blame. When something negative happens, you may tend to immediately blame yourself. For whatever reason, you have learned the bad habit of automatically accepting all responsibility. That’s not to say that you did everything right, but give yourself some time to reflect on what happened. Be as fair to yourself as you would anyone else.
3. Accept the unknown. In your effort to be prepared, you may always assume the worst possible scenario. While preparedness is a great skill, it can also lead to worrying. If you cannot stop worrying and all you see is a catastrophe, it is time to take a step back. Accept that you do not know what will happen, and be fair about the likelihood of your fears. Be patient with yourself in the way you would with a friend.
4. Give permission for grey space. It is great to give something 100%. However, if anything less than perfection feels like complete failure to you, you may only be seeing black or white. “All or nothing” thinking is extremely stressful! Although this can rub off on other people too, it is easier to see how unrealistic it can be by imagining yourself as a child or good friend. Noticing a theme? When your self-talk sounds more like a friendship than a boss, you are headed in a positive direction.
The truth is that changing your mindset is not just about the warm, fuzzy feelings. Scientific research by organizations such as the Mayo Clinic has found that changing our negative thinking into a kinder, more positive voice can have amazing health benefits! Because the reduction in stress levels is so significant, Mayo Clinic lists benefits to positive thinking that include an increased life span, greater resistance to the common cold, better cardiovascular health, as well as improved mood and mental health.
So start changing how you talk to yourself today and enjoy more of your tomorrows!