For as long as I can remember, I have been talking myself out of trying new things, experimenting, and challenging myself based with my negative self talk. As a kid I would think “I can’t do _______ sport because look at all of these other kids who have been doing it since they were little.” Now I eventually did participate in sports, but I think my internal voice prevented me from becoming better.
I even talked myself out of starting the college finding process until it was almost too late. I think my negative voice fueled my procrastination, and I never went on a college tour. I kept telling myself that everyone (meaning all of the real college kids) will know that I’m a high schooler. How embarrassing! I told myself that I wasn’t ready for college. I wasn’t smart enough for college. Once in college I chickened out from taking courses that looked hard, had a large number of students in them, etc.
Now eventually I took those hard, heavy populated classes, but it wasn’t until my junior and senior year when I felt more comfortable. What’s crazy is that I let my fear, anxiety, and negative self talk guide me for so long. I was really interested in the sciences, but told myself that I wasn’t smart enough for the chemistry and math involved. (Isn’t that what you always hear is so hard?) I chose to go into elementary education I think partly because I felt like I could handle that. “I mean how hard could it be?” is what I told myself. I thought it was something I could handle. I mean I went to elementary school, so I felt like I knew what to expect. The unknowns were taken away.
I liked it at the time, felt creative, took ownership over it, but I’m not convinced that I knew what my other options were. I talked myself out of even realizing I had other options. So I continued on the teaching path, did well, and became a teacher. Even though I earned a Master’s degree, my confidence and self talk did not increase. I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water, which I heard was normal but didn’t help the voice inside my head.
Now here I am after four years of teaching, ready to come to grips with the fact that teaching is not me. I’m finally allowing myself to be honest, put pressure on that negative voice and question the irrational thoughts. I have finally realized that my happiness and positive self talk is controllable by me, and I need to start treating myself with kindness, love, and grace.
It’s crazy that as an adult the same negative self talk has stopped me from trying new things, feeling uneasy to meet new people, or try new things by myself. I always wanted to do things with someone else, or I wouldn’t do them. I’m tired of living the life I think other people want me to live (and usually that’s self-imposed, me projecting my insecurities on them). I want to ooze with happiness, confidence, and independence.
Here are some of the ways I’m working on positive self talk:
- I’ve started to recognize when my negative voice is getting louder, and I call it out. I examine how irrational the thought is, and then let it slide by.
- I am meditating using the Meditation Minis Podcast with Chel Hamilton. It helps me feel more energized mid-day when I start to get tired. If I’m dull and sleepy it’s easier for the negative voice to reappear.
- I listen to other podcasts about being happy and living purposefully. I particularly love Vibrant Happy Women which I’ve previously talked about here. The Simple Show, which you can find here, is also wonderful, and I’ve been so inspired and challenged to think critically with all of the guests interviewed on these shows.
- I just finished reading “Fringe Hours” by Jessica N. Turner, which helped me not feel guilty about taking time for myself, and that it feeds your soul to follow your passions. Sounds like a no brainer, but geeze that guilt just feeds negative self talk.
- I’m trying to also create a regular yoga practice, but I’m not as solid about that as I would like to be yet. I love, love, love Yoga With Adrienne on Youtube!
I hope this list helps you if you’re struggling with a negative, jerk internal voice. Please share any other tips and tricks you have to kick it to the curb and nurture the positive loving voice inside all of us.